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Reckless Driving Basics

Reckless driving is a charge that is unique to Virginia. Some people who are travelling through Virginia are surprised when after getting pulled over, instead of just getting a ticket, they end up with a criminal charge. It is important that both Virginians, and anyone who may be driving through Virginia, understand a little bit about Virginia’s reckless driving law.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a criminal charge in Virginia. Drivers can be charged with reckless driving if they engage in a number of unsafe traffic maneuvers. The most common reason for a reckless driving charge is speeding. According to Virginia Code § 46.2-862 “A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.” That means that even on roads where the speed limit is 65, if you get caught driving 80 miles an hour or more you can be charged with reckless driving.

There are many things you can do that are considered reckless driving in Virginia. Reckless driving includes:

  • Speeding – As discussed above, you only need to be going 20 miles over the speed limit or over 80 miles an hour to be charged with reckless driving in Virginia.
  • Passing a Stopped, Properly Equipped School Bus – You can be charged with reckless driving if you pass a school bus that is discharging passengers, and you cannot proceed until all the passengers are out of the road. This does not apply on divided highways or when a police officer directs you to go.
  • Overtaking/Passing and Emergency Vehicle – In order to avoid being charged with reckless driving, you need to pull over to the side of the road as quickly as you can do it safely if there is an emergency vehicle coming with its lights and/or sirens on.
  • Racing – Any time two or more vehicles are caught racing on Virginia roads the drivers can be charged with reckless driving. In addition to the general reckless driving penalties, drivers convicted under this section of the law will also have their license suspended.
  • Improper Brakes – If the brakes on a car are faulty to the point that the driver does not have control, that driver can be charged with reckless driving.
  • Driving Too Fast for Traffic Conditions – This section applies when a driver’s speed is unreasonable for the context.
  • Passing a Vehicle on a Curve.
  • Overloaded Vehicle – When a vehicle is carrying too much weight to be under the proper control of the driver.
  • Failing to Give a Proper Signal – Failing to signal a turn can result in a reckless driving charge.
  • Etc. – There are several other sections that allow people to be charged with a reckless driving charge, including a “catch-all” section that gives law enforcement and judges discretion to charge drivers with reckless driving.

Leesburg Virginia Reckless Driving Attorneys

If you are charged with reckless driving, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side that is familiar with the charge and the defenses to reckless driving. Our Leesburg, Virginia reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP can assist you with your reckless driving charge and any other tickets and crimes you have been charged with in Loudoun county or the northern Virginia area.

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