Racial Disparities in Misdemeanor Speeding Convictions [book]

Virginia law states that any motorist pulled over for driving 20 miles per hour (mph) or more over the speed limit or driving in excess of 80 mph at any speed limit (or 85 mph as of July 2020) is eligible for a reckless driving citation, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor violation. However, both law enforcement officers and the courts can use discretion to reduce the misdemeanor charge to a simple traffic infraction. In this report, we use data on speeding violations in 18 Virginia counties over a
more » ... nine-year period to examine whether there are racial disparities in who benefits from this discretion and why these racial disparities might exist. Justice Policy Program RAND Social and Economic Well-Being is a division of the RAND Corporation that seeks to actively improve the health and social and economic well-being of populations and communities throughout the world. This research was conducted in the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being. The program focuses on such topics as access to justice, policing, corrections, drug policy, and court system reform, as well as other policy concerns pertaining to public safety and criminal and civil justice. For more information, email
doi:10.7249/rra1317-1 fatcat:wnkupje6zne4dmq3keel3al3ru