What makes a reckless driving charge for speeding “jailable”?

hands on jail bars
hands on jail bars

Under the Virginia Code, a driver may be charged with a reckless driving misdemeanor offense for speeding if it is alleged the driver was going 86-mph or more, or 20-mph or more over the limit.  § 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit (virginia.gov).

Also under the Virginia Code, the penalties that may be imposed for this offense include:

The potential penalty that drivers often worry about the most when they are charged with reckless driving for speeding is jail time.  However, this penalty is not always imposed, and it usually is only on the table for “jailable offenses” (as the legal community colloquially calls them).  What makes a reckless driving case for speeding fall into the category of a “jailable offense”? Keep reading below.

The threshold for jail time being imposed by a Court in a reckless driving case for speeding is 30-mph or more over the limit, or 90-mph or more.  The 30-mph threshold is standard in most jurisdictions.  The threshold for jail time for traveling 90-mph or more is jurisdiction specific, with some jurisdictions drawing a line at 90-mph, while others drawing the line a bit higher, such as 94-mph or 95-mph.  The closer the speed gets to 100-mph, the more likely that jail time is on the table as a penalty.  For 100-mph or more cases, jail time definitely is on the table.

How does this impact a reckless driving by speed case?  If the offense is considered “jailable” the driver must appear in Court, even if they have an attorney, unless a waiver of appearance is granted for the driver.  The closer the alleged speed in a case is to 100-mph (and certainly if the alleged speed is 100-mph or more), the less likely a waiver of appearance will be granted by the Court for a driver.  At 30-mph or more over the limit, it is highly unlikely that a waiver of appearance will be granted.  In “jailable” cases, advocacy at sentencing often includes trying to avoid active jail time (such as by having a suspended jail sentence imposed, opposed to an active jail sentence), or requesting that the Court allow alternative sentencing.  Weekend work force (supervised community service) or weekend jail time with a delayed report date are two examples of alternative sentencing options when the Court is considering jail time for a driver.

For more information regarding when a license suspension is imposed for reckless driving offenses in speeding cases, please see this article: When does a Court impose a license suspension in reckless driving cases for speeding? – Peters Law Firm (peterslawfirmva.com).