Thank you for your reply.
Because reckless driving in Virginia is not a traffic infraction, but a class 1 misdemeanor (that means it's a criminal matter, and can actually end up a on record, and show up on a background check if convicted). Just by receiving the reckless driving ticket, you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor. You will need to read applications carefully to see if they are asking about “charges” or “convictions.” If they ask about misdemeanor charges, you have to answer “yes.”Unlike your driving record, the criminal record remains for life. Virginia doesn’t even allow expungement (erasing the records later on) if the court convicts you.
Therefore, what I would strongly encourage you to do before your court date is to speak with a traffic lawyer in your area before your court date (many offer free or low cost consultations). 67 in a 45 isn't going to carry the high end penalties that could normally come with a reckless driving conviction. By that, I mean you're not looking at jail time for this (yes, reckless driving can result in jail time), nor are you looking at the higher end fine (which can be up to $2500).
Depending upon all the facts of the case, an average reckless driving fine could be in the neighborhood of $300 to $1,000. Definitely pricey. And then of course you have to add on court costs, which are about $80. Many judges will use a loose rule of thumb of imposing approximately $10 per every mile over the limit. Virginia law gives you at least 30 days to pay anything you owe to the court. If you need additional time, you can ask the court for a longer payment deadline.
You then have to consider the other consequences --your insurance premiums could jump a lot with a reckless conviction,
and you're looking at a significant number of points. Every moving violation carries a set number of points, either 3, 4, or 6.
Reckless driving carries the maximum number of demerit points for any offense in Virginia. If the court convicts you and you have a ***** *****cense, DMV will assess 6 demerit points. The conviction will remain on your driving record for 11 years. If you accumulate too many demerit points too quickly, DMV may send you to a driver improvement clinic or suspend your license altogether. That is why I say the most important thing for you to do before your court date is to speak with a lawyer.
Now, that said, I don't want you to think all hope is lost. Many courts will consider your good driving record, and have considerable discretion is reducing the ticket to a lesser charge.
Importantly, judges can use their discretion to reduce a reckless driving charge to “improper driving.” Improper driving is a mere traffic infraction with a fine of no more than $500. Improper driving only carries three DMV points, and it is removed from your record after three years.
Virginia Code 46.2-869:
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, upon the trial of any person charged with reckless driving where the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless driving but guilty of improper driving. However, an attorney for the Commonwealth may reduce a charge of reckless driving to improper driving at any time prior to the court’s decision and shall notify the court of such change. Improper driving shall be punishable as a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500.
Also, some judges send drivers to a driver improvement clinic to have the charge completely dismissed! You'd still have to likely pay court costs and the cost of the driver improvement school, but it's a lot less then a fine and you wouldn't have to worry about insurance increases and demerits on your license. But, I don't recommend necessarily doing the driving class before you go to court. That’s because Virginia DMV awards five safe driving points for completing the driving school voluntarily. Some judges see that as double dipping. They don’t want you to get five bonus points and then obtain a reduced charge in court. With those judges, doing driving school without consulting an attorney might hurt your case.
Along with improper driving and driving school, some judges use community service as a tool in traffic cases. It can be a way to punish defendants but also to give people a chance to earn a break on the charge.
Sometimes I recommend that clients complete some community service before their trial date. Doing volunteer work ahead of time shows initiative, remorse, and that you’re taking the charge seriously. Depending upon the judge, this can help obtain a favorable result in court.
Again, a local attorney familiar with the judges in your area where you got the ticket would know best what you are looking at. In the absence of other possible defenses (eg --the radar was wrong), your best assets is your excellent driving record.
If you need clarification or additional information, please reply and I'll be happy to assist further. Thank you.