VIRGINIA RECKLESS DRIVING EXPLAINED BY FORMER VIRGINIA PROSECUTOR
Virginia reckless driving tickets can be issued for fourteen (14) different types of driving behavior in Virginia. Our Virginia attorneys will explain the different Virginia reckless driving violations and the penalties that each of the different Virginia reckless driving charges carry. A Virginia reckless driving conviction can result in either a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Most people who are charged with reckless driving in Virginia do not realize that reckless driving is a criminal act and therefore can result in an actual jail term in addition to a loss of driving privileges and high fines. If a death were to occur as a result of reckless driving violation in Virginia, then a person may be convicted of a felony and thereafter be classified as a convicted felon. If a felony conviction were to occur, then in addition to any actual prison confinement, the person will also lose a significant number of their constitutional rights. Since a Virginia reckless driving conviction is a criminal act, a person may become ineligible for certain professions such as a police officer, airline pilot, etc. Even, security clearances may be jeopardized as a result of a conviction.<img class="size-medium wp-image-35" title="<a href='http://srislawyer.com/reckless-driving-in-virginia/reckless-driving-virginia-lawyer-46-2-859-fairfax-richmond-beach-prince-william-loudoun-fredericksburg-lynchburg/' title="reckless driving In Fairfax Virginia”>reckless driving First Offense Virginia 46.2-852 46.2-862 Laws” alt=”Reckless Driving First Offense Virginia 46.2-852 46.2-862 Laws” src=”http://fairfaxvirginialaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/171.jpg?w=300″ width=”300″ height=”204″ /> Reckless Driving First Offense Virginia 46.2-852 46.2-862 Laws
Clients are always counseled to take a Virginia reckless driving uniform summons seriously. Many drivers do not realize that a Virginia reckless driving summons carries with it a promise to appear in court. The first time most people realize that a reckless driving charge in Virginia has a mandatory appearance component is when the Virginia police officer or Virginia state trooper advises them that by virtue of the fact that they are signing the Virginia reckless driving summons, they are promising to appear on the court date stated on the uniform summons. For most out of state drivers, this is yet another onerous factor of being charged with a Virginia reckless driving violation.
If convicted of a reckless driving charge in Virginia, even if it is a first offense, it is at a minimum a class one (1) misdemeanor pursuant to section 18.2-11 of the Virginia Code and at the maximum in reckless driving violations resulting in death, a class six (6) felony pursuant to section 18.2-10 of the Code of Virginia. For most people, it is hard to comprehend that what is normally considered a serious traffic offense at worst in most states is a criminal act in Virginia. Frequently, drivers who possess a CDL or juveniles who are charged with a Virginia reckless driving violation are incredulous that they are facing such severe consequences for a first time offense of reckless driving in Virginia.
Another fact that most people do not realize about a charge of reckless driving in Virginia is the disparity in the way different counties in Virginia dispose of reckless driving offenses. Some Virginia counties may be so lenient as to allow a person who is charged with this offense to attend driving/traffic school for dismissal whereas another Virginia county will not even consider the option of traffic school. However, a number of jurisdictions are starting to take a standard position as to the disposition of Virginia reckless driving offenses and it is unfortunately not the lenient approach.
The following are some of the different Virginia reckless driving offenses as explained by a former prosecutor. Every single one of these offenses will result in six DMV demerit points on the operator’s driving record and may remain on the person’s driving record for as long as 11 years.
Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-862 is the statute that addresses driving in excess of the speed limit. This statute has two different ways it can violated:
- Driving a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth at a speed of twenty miles per hour or
- Driving in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-852 codifies the essence of reckless driving and is the catch-all general rule. This statute does not take into account the speed the vehicle is traveling. A number of Virginia Courts have held that “the essence of the offense of reckless driving lies not in the act of operating a vehicle, but in the manner and circumstances of its operation.” Any driving behavior on a highway that endangers the life, limb or property of any person shall be reckless driving.
Simply driving a vehicle that is not under proper control due to faulty brakes can result in a person being charged with a violation of Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-853.
Driving with too many passengers in car may cause an officer to charge the driver with a violation of Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-855 if the officer believes that number of passengers in the car is causing the driver’s view to be obstructed or interferes with the driver’s control of the vehicle.
If two motor vehicles travel abreast of each other in a single lane, this is a violation of Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-857.
One of the most commonly charged offenses during rush hour traffic in the morning is the passing of a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children. Passing a stopped school bus in violation of Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-859 is viewed very dimly by judges due to the danger it poses to the children.
Something as minor as failing to give adequate and timely signals can result in being charged with Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-860 . It is very important to give proper signals when making a turn, slowing down or stopping when traveling on the highway.
Always keep in mind that even if the speed limit is 55 mph or 60 mph on most of the highways in the Commonwealth, it is still important to take into account the traffic and weather conditions of any road that you are traveling on. Even if you are not exceeding the speed limit, but the trooper believes you are traveling in a manner such that it exceed a reasonable speed based on the circumstances and traffic conditions at the time, you can be charged with Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-861.
Any driving behavior that endangers life, limb or property of any person on a driveway of a church, school, recreational facility or business property that is open to the public or industrial establishment is violation of Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-864.
One of the most severely prosecuted offenses is racing. Police target minors aggressively and the courts are very handed when sentencing individuals who are convicted of racing in violation of Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-865. The law provides that in addition to any other penalties provided by law, the driver’s license of the person convicted of racing shall (meaning mandatory) be suspended by the court for not less than six months and may be suspended for up to two years. Additionally, if the prosecutor can prove to the court that the driver broke the law by engaging in a race in violation of Virginia Code Section 46.2-865 and did so in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, causes seriously bodily injury to another person, the driver can be convicted of a class 6 felony pursuant to Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-865.1. The statute requires the person to have their license suspended for no less than one year and no more than three years. Even a person who aids or abets any such race may be convicted of a class one misdemeanor pursuant to Virginia reckless driving code section 46.2-866. Violation of Virginia Code Section 46.2-865 can also result in having that person’s vehicle seized and disposed of pursuant to VA reckless driving code section 46.2-867.
VA reckless driving code section 46.2-868 is the statute that codifies the additional penalties of a conviction of the Virginia reckless driving offenses.
If you have been charged with a Virginia reckless driving violation in the general district court or Virginia juvenile district court, please do not wait to find out what penalties the Virginia court may impose on you. Secure the services of an extremely experienced Virginia lawyer who is experienced at defending clients charged with this type of a driving offense. If you wish to retain the services of an experienced attorney of SRIS, P.C. contact the Law Offices of SRIS, P.C today by phone. You can be assured that you will benefit from having a Virginia lawyer who really understands the law regarding reckless driving, the court system and is in court almost everyday defending clients charged with similar charges. Don’t let a Virginia reckless driving ticket cause you to lose your job or liberty.
Fairfax Court House Detail:
Fairfax Circuit Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030
Fairfax County General District Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030
Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030-4020
These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.