Q: I was arrested for going 80 MPH on a Virginia highway with a posted speed limit of 70 MPH. Why am I being charged with felony reckless driving?
A: As experienced residents know, the driving laws in the state of Virginia can be extremely arcane, not to mention excessively punitive. There are two ways to be cited for a serious speeding violation in Virginia: either by going more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit (say, being clocked at 45 MPH on a residential street with a 20 MPH speed limit), or by going 80 MPH or faster, anytime or anywhere.
You can see where the confusion arises. Starting in late 2010, the state of Virginia approved a speed limit of 70 MPH for almost 700 miles' worth of interstate highways. What this means is that you can technically be charged with felony reckless driving if you're caught going 80 MPH on one of these state highways, even though that's only 10 MPH over the posted speed limit, and thus (in the other interpretation of the law) no more than a misdemeanor. Why would the DA charge an individual with a felony rather than misdemeanor reckless driving? That amounts to a judgment call, speaking to the driver's intentions and overall state of mind.
A conviction for a felony or even a misdemeanor reckless driving charge is a very serious matter and can result in thousands of dollars' worth of fines, as well as points added to your driving record. Call Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC for a free consultation today. Our attorneys have years of experience defending Virginia drivers against overzealous prosecutors.