The fact that your summons or warrant is marked for "traffic" court does NOT mean that you are only charged with an infraction. Rather, in Fairfax County, an officer marks the summons or warrant as "traffic" when he wants to indicate to the court clerk that the case should be placed on his traffic court docket rather than one of his other dockets. In other words, marking the summons "traffic" has nothing to do with the nature of the charge.
In Virginia, traffic courts handle misdemeanor (criminal) and non-misdemeanor (non-criminal) charges.
Virginia Reckless Driving
In Virginia, there are many forms of reckless driving, but the most common are:
- Virginia Code Section 46.2-862 - Driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit, or over 80 mph regardless of the posted speed limit;
- Virginia Code Section 46.2-852 - Driving in a manner generally endangering the life, limb or property of others.
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor (which is the most serious misdemeanor offense in Virginia, and equivalent to assault and battery or possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The very next more serious crime level would be a felony).
Reckless Driving is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, fines of up to $2,500, court costs, a six-month license suspension, and six demerit points on your driver's license.
A conviction will forever be on your criminal record and appear in background checks FOR LIFE. It cannot be removed, expunged, or sealed after any period of time. In Virginia, a conviction is for life.
Virginia Driving Under the Influence (DUI & DWI)
Drunk driving, also referred to as DWI (driving while intoxicated), or DUI (driving under the influence) is also a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia.
The offense is not limited to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher given that DWI also includes driving while under the influence of alcohol (without proof of any specific blood alcohol level) and driving while impaired by a narcotic drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
DWI is defined by Virginia Code Section 18.2-266 and is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $2,500 in fines, court costs, and license suspension of up to 12 months. If your blood alcohol level was over 0.15, you face mandatory incarceration and other penalties.
Fairfax, Virginia DWI/DUI & Reckless Driving Lawyer
Call 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us page to set up a free consultation to talk about your case.