As in other states, Virginia criminalizes certain driving behaviors since, in the eyes of the law, they are especially dangerous and especially easy to avoid.
To put it another way, a reckless driving charge is meant to punish never events, that is, events which should never happen if a driver is being remotely careful. In most states, this means that things like street racing can get punished as reckless driving, and an offender can go to jail and face other serious criminal penalties as a consequence for his or her actions.
It is a little surprising, though, how broad Virginia’s reckless driving laws are. For instance, anyone caught traveling too fast or in such a way that they could endanger, or did endanger, the life or property of themselves or anyone else, is vulnerable to a reckless driving charge..
Basically, under the rule, anyone who causes an accident can face a criminal reckless driving charge. While usually a misdemeanor, a person can still go to jail and can still face fines, probation and other hefty penalties. Moreover, the person will have a criminal conviction that can affect his or her personal and professional reputation, particularly if he or she is expected to drive a lot.
On a practical level, Blacksburg residents probably realize that not every driver who causes an accident should be treated as a criminal. Moreover, other seemingly non-criminal behavior can get charged as reckless driving as well.
For instance, someone who has bad brakes or does not have control of his or her vehicle can face a reckless driving charge. Moreover, a person who fails to signal or who travels over 80 miles per hour on a road, even on an interstate, can face a reckless driving charge.
The point is that decent and upstanding Virginia citizens can, and often do, wind up dealing with a criminal reckless driving charge. They will likely need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.