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Monday, August 4, 2014

Never Speed In Virginia: Lessons From My Three Days In Jail

Jalopnik driver Patrick George was pulled over for speeding during a test drive and spent 3 days in jail.

I find this of interest because I live in Virginia - last year I got a ticket for doing 30mph in a 25mph zone (on the street where I live) because, although I wasn't speeding, I had "disobeyed a traffic sign". Basically cops can, and do, stop you if they feel like it.

Mr. George's story is rather fascinating:
When I was pulled over during a press drive earlier this summer, I had been living in Washington D.C. for about a year and a half. In that time, I had been warned repeatedly — by ex-Virginia resident Matt Hardigree, by many of our readers, and by a host of other people — that you don't ever speed in Virginia. But I had no clue just how serious the consequences would be. Maybe "serious" isn't the right word. After everything that happened, "ridiculous" seems a little more accurate... 
I should probably explain why going into Virginia to have fun in a car is a bad idea in the first place. See, they're crazy about speeding there. Really, really crazy. Speed limits are set absurdly low, 45 mph on some highways. Radar detectors are illegal, and cops have devices to detect them. And if you get caught going over 80 mph at all, that's automatically a reckless driving charge.
Reckless driving is not a traffic citation, it's a criminal charge, and a Class One misdemeanor at that. That means it's the highest level of misdemeanor you can be charged with in Virginia, right below a felony. The maximum penalty for a reckless driving conviction is a $2,500 fine, a six month driver's license suspension, and up to a year in jail.
See what I mean when I told you it's serious? They hand it out like it's Halloween candy, too. You drive 20 mph over the limit, it's reckless driving. They even charge you with it for failing to properly signal, or when you're found to be at fault in a car wreck. 
Go to Jalopnik and read the whole thing. 

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