Many Virginians may feel that a traffic offense is little more than an inconvenience, but in fact it can be a lot worse. A traffic offense can stay on a driver’s license record for years, and any subsequent offense can lead to much harsher penalties.

Worse still is a charge of reckless driving. While some offenses may result in no more than a traffic ticket, reckless driving is criminal charge that can carry a penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

Reckless driving can be a felony or a misdemeanor, and the charge covers a range of behavior, including speeding more than 80 mph, speeding more than 20 mph above the posted limit, passing a school bus or emergency vehicle, passing at the crest of a hill and more. A driver can potentially get a reckless driving charge just for failing to give a proper signal.

In addition to the possible criminal penalties that go with a conviction on reckless driving charges, the defendant also gets six demerit points against their driver’s license. These will stay on the license for 5 or 11 years, depending on the offense. Demerit points add up, and they can lead to a license suspension, notification to the driver’s insurance company and more.

Remember that everyone who is accused of a crime deserves a defense. Many people get into trouble thinking they can simply pay a fine and then stay out of trouble for 11 years. People get into even worse trouble when they go into court without a lawyer representing them. With a good lawyer, a driver can defend against reckless driving and other traffic offense charges, protecting driving privileges and more.