Reckless Driving

Many people are charged with reckless driving every day across Virginia. It’s a very common charge. At Calinger Law, we are here to help.

Virginia has numerous statutes under which a person can face a reckless driving charge. These include:

Virginia Code 46.2-852: This is the general reckless driving statute.  This states that any person who drives recklessly, endangering life or property, is guilty of reckless driving.

Virginia Code 46.2-853: This section states it is reckless driving to drive a vehicle without proper control or a vehicle that lacks proper brakes.

Virginia Code 46.2-854: This section provides a reckless driving offense where a person passes another car while approaching a crest in the road.  Notice this does not apply where there are multiple lanes of travel.

Virginia Code 46.2-855: This Code section states it is reckless driving to drive where property, or persons in the front seat, interfere with the driver’s view out of the car or with the driver’s control over the vehicle controls.

Virginia Code 46.2-856: This Code section provides it is reckless driving to pass two vehicles that are next to each other, unless you are on a road with at least three lanes.

Virginia Code 46.2-857: This section states it is reckless driving to drive abreast of another vehicle where one of the vehicles is in a lane designated for only vehicle.

Virginia Code 46.2-858: This Code section provides it is reckless driving to pass another vehicle at a railroad grade crossing unless both directions of travel have multiple lanes.

Virginia Code 46.2-859: This portion states it is reckless driving to pass a stopped school bus that is taking on or unloading people.  However, notice a person need not stop where the school bus is on the other side of a divided highway.

Virginia Code 46.2-860: This section states it may constitute reckless driving to fail to proper notice of an intention to turn, slow, or stop.

Virginia Code 46.2-861: This section states it is reckless driving to drive too fast for the conditions, regardless of the posted speed.

Virginia Code 46.2-862: This section states it is reckless driving to drive either 20 miles or more over the speed limit or over 80 miles per hour.

Virginia Code 46.2-863: This Code section provides a penalty for persons failing to yield the right of way.

Virginia Code 46.2-864: Here it is reckless driving to operate a vehicle recklessly on a parking lot.

Virginia Code 46.2-865: In this case, the Code criminalizes a race between vehicles on the roads.  Note that this section requires at least a six month license suspension.

Charged With Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Find out how to win your case!

Reckless Driving Defense Virginia eBookIf you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, this guide from Adam Calinger will outline everything you need to know to fight and win the case. Download your free copy today!



The most frequently charged statute states that if a person drives over 80 mph, that is reckless driving, regardless of what the speed limit is. In some areas the speed limit may be 70 mph. Yet if you go over 80 mph, you’ve just committed reckless driving—a class one misdemeanor. Driving too fast can also get you a reckless driving charge where you drive over 20 mph or more above the speed limit. This can represent a significant issue where the speed limit is low.

Virginia also has a “general” reckless driving statute, which basically states a person can be charged with reckless driving if that person drove in a reckless manner. Police frequently charge this crime for traffic accidents or where speed is not at issue.

There are defenses available to a reckless driving charge. At Calinger Law, we have the expertise to fight for your rights. We will assert all defenses available to you against a reckless driving charge.

If you are charged with reckless driving by speed, we will check to make sure the radar the officer used was properly calibrated. The officer is required to bring a radar certificate to court showing that the police had tested the radar and found it to be working properly. If the police do not have this certificate in court, you could be acquitted.

The police will also be required to authenticate that the radar certificate they have belongs to the radar used in the car. The radar certificate often just contains a series of numbers. The police may have difficulty connecting this radar certificate to the one used in the car.

It is also often possible to have a reckless driving charge reduced to a lesser charge. One of the common lesser charges is improper driving. The police do not have the ability to charge someone with improper driving. Only the judge or a prosecutor can reduce reckless driving to this charge. If necessary, we will assert all reasons why your charge should be reduced.

Reckless driving charges can also commonly be reduced to charges such as speeding or failure to obey a highway sign.

Having your reckless driving charge reduced may depend on factors such as your prior driving history or your willingness to complete a driver improvement course. Judges often look favorably upon persons with such factors weighing in their favor.

If you have a reckless driving charge, call Calinger Law today. We will speak to you at no charge about your case.