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Traffic Violation: What to Know About Virginia’s Harsh Speeding Laws

Traffic Violation: What To Know About Virginia’s Harsh Speeding Laws

Speeding is the most common traffic violation citations issued in Virginia. According to data provided by the Virginia State Crime Commission, approximately 540,000 charges are brought for speeding infractions in the Commonwealth each year.


You may be surprised to learn that speeding can rise to the level of an arrestable offense in Virginia. Here, our Fairfax traffic violation defense attorneys provide an overview of Virginia’s speeding laws and explain when you can be charged with criminal reckless driving for speeding.


An Overview of Virginia’s Speeding Laws


All drivers have a duty to follow the posted speed limit. Failure to do so will subject them to a speeding ticket. Under Virginia law (Code of Virginia § 46.2-870), the maximum speed is 55 miles per hour on highways, unless otherwise posted. Of course, the maximum allowable speed is far lower in residential areas. When passing through neighborhood streets, drivers should always look for the posted speed limit.


What are the Penalties for Speeding in Northern Virginia?


The penalties for speeding will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Here are the non-criminal penalties for excessive speed in Virginia:


  • Fines: In most cases, a driver who is speeding will be subject to a financial penalty. The fine for speeding in Virginia starts at $6 for every mile per hour the driver was over the maximum allowed speed limit—subject to additional costs and fees. If the driver was speeding through a construction zone, a school zone, or a residential neighborhood, the ticket will be even higher.
  • Demerit Points: Beyond being hit with a speeding ticket, a driver will also be subject to points on their license. If you are cited for speeding less than 9 miles per hour over the posted limit, you will be assigned three points. If you are cited going between 10 and 19 miles per hour over the limit, you will be cited for four points. If you are cited going more than 20 over the posted limit, you will be assigned six points. Demerit points matter. If you have too many points on your record, your license may be suspended.


Criminal Charges: Speeding as Reckless Driving


In most cases, speeding infractions are resolved with a traffic ticket. That being said, under Virginia law, drivers can be cited for criminal reckless driving if they are going well above the speed limit. Virginia has long had some of the most harsh speeding laws in the entire country. Though, recently, these laws have become somewhat less strict.


As of July 1st, 2020, any driver going more than 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit or 85 miles per hour total can be charged with reckless driving. As explained by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, reckless driving is a serious traffic violation that involves a willful and wanton disregard for public safety.


The bottom line: Speeding by itself can warrant a reckless driving charge in Virginia. Reckless driving is a criminal offense that can result in jail time. If you or your loved one was charged with reckless driving for speeding in Northern Virginia, contact an experienced Fairfax defense lawyer for help.


Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Virginia Traffic Violation Attorney Today


At Whitestone Young, PC, our Virginia traffic defense attorneys are committed to providing aggressive, solutions-driven advocacy to clients. If you have any questions about speeding, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today for a completely confidential consultation. With a legal office in Fairfax, we defend traffic violations throughout all of Northern Virginia, including in Alexandria, Arlington, Sterling, Reston, Gainesville, Bristow, and Annandale.

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