Reckless driving using a phone: Changes coming January 1st, 2021 for drivers in Virginia

A topic of contentious fighting amongst drivers everywhere in Virginia is how we should treat those who are using handheld devices like cell phones while driving. Being distracted by a conversation can make a driver swerving or whose reaction times degrade as dangerous as an intoxicated one.

After public outcry at the observable behavior of those using a phone while driving—a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail—the General Assembly passed HB874, and Governor Northam has signed the bill into law. Starting on January 1, 2021, it is no longer just an offense to engage in texting while driving. It will now be illegal to be holding a phone while driving—no proof of texting will be necessary!

Many judges and prosecutors find use of phones while driving to be particularly offensive given how it makes traffic run slower and how it endangers others on the road.

Given the potentially life-altering consequences a class 1 misdemeanor carries, it is critical that drivers who are charged with this offense get legal assistance to find out how likely they are to face punishment should be found guilty. Reckless driving convictions can carry other consequences besides jail, like fines, increased insurance costs, a suspended licenses.

If you or a loved one is facing a charge of for reckless driving – for a speed related offense or texting while driving or—after January 1, 2021—holding a phone while driving, and you are in the Richmond, Hanover, Henrico, or Chesterfield area, call the attorneys at Winslow & McCurry for a consultation at 804-423-1382 and we can help!​