Aggressive Driving Laws in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia has strict laws in place to ensure public safety on state highways, including prohibitions on reckless driving and aggressive driving. While both reckless and aggressive driving offenses are similar, there are slight differences under the law. Today, the examination will center on aggressive driving.
What is the Definition of Aggressive Driving in Virginia?
The definition of aggressive driving appears in Code of Virginia § 46.2-868.1. There are two different components to this offense.
The first component involves intent. For aggressive driving to apply, the perpetrator must drive in such a way as to harass, injure, intimidate, or obstruct another person.
The second component involves one or more violations of certain traffic violations. Specifically, a violation of any of the following sections of the Code of Virginia can constitute aggressive driving:
- Section 46.2-802 requires drivers to drive on the right side of the highway;
- Section 46.2-804 prohibits drivers from deviating from marked traffic lanes;
- Section 46.2-816 requires drivers to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles;
- Section 46.2-821 requires drivers to stop or yield right-of-way before entering certain highways;
- Section 46.2-833.1 prohibits drivers from evading traffic signs or signals;
- Section 46.2-838 regulates how drivers can pass or overtake other vehicles;
- Section 46.2-841 regulates how drivers can pass or overtake other vehicles on the right side;
- Section 46.2-842 requires drivers to give way to overtaking or passing vehicles;
- Section 46.2-842.1 regulates when drivers must give way on divided highways;
- Section 46.2-843 establishes limitations on passing or overtaking other vehicles;
- Section 46.2-870 establishes maximum speed limits; and
- Section 46.2-888 regulates how drivers can stop on highways.
What are the Penalties for Aggressive Driving in Virginia?
The penalties for aggressive driving also appear in § 46.2-868.1. In most cases, aggressive driving constitutes a Class 2 misdemeanor in Virginia. The potential penalties for a Class 2 misdemeanor include confinement in county jail for up to 180 days and fines up to $1,000.
That being said, an aggressive driving offense can become a more serious offense. If the perpetrator intends to injure another person while committing aggressive driving, then the offense becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor. The potential penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include confinement in county jail for up to 365 days and fines up to $2,500.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about aggressive or reckless driving in Virginia, it is worthwhile to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have many years of combined legal experience in the field of criminal law, including aggressive and reckless driving charges. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.