Authorities Remind Virginia Citizens About Texting While Driving
Law enforcement authorities have issued a reminder on Virginia laws for texting while driving, according to an article by the InsideNoVa. Citizens should be aware that cell phone use can also contribute to the criminal charge of reckless driving under certain conditions.
In light of this reminder, it feels like a perfect time to review Virginia laws concerning texting while driving and reckless driving.
How Does Virginia Address Texting While Driving?
Virginia outlines its state-specific approach to texting while driving in Code of Virginia section 46.2-341.20:5. It is unlawful in Virginia to drive a motor vehicle and use a cell phone at the same time. It does not matter if you are texting, calling, or using other functions on the cell phone. If one of your hands is holding a cell phone, then this law applies.
Virginia does outline an important exception. Section 46.2-341.20:5 does not apply in certain emergency situations. If there is an emergency, then drivers are allowed to use cell phones to contact law enforcement or other authorities. Texting while driving does not apply in this situation.
How Does Virginia Address Reckless Driving?
Virginia outlines its state-specific approach to reckless driving in Code of Virginia section 46.2-852. There are two requirements. First, reckless driving only applies to situations that occur on a highway. Second, reckless driving involves driving conduct that endangers other people or property. If we combine those elements, reckless driving occurs when someone drives on the highway in a way that puts other people or property in danger.
Virginia also breaks down a specific consideration for reckless driving that involves speed limits in Code of Virginia section 46.2-862. There are two requirements. First, reckless driving occurs whenever someone drives more than 20 miles per hour above the speed limit. Second, reckless driving occurs whenever someone drives more than 80 miles per hour. But again, we must remember that driving on the highway is also a requirement for reckless driving.
Virginia details the penalties for reckless driving in Code of Virginia section 46.2-868. At the minimum, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the driver also uses a cell phone while committing reckless driving, there is an additional fine of at least $250. Reckless driving can escalate to a Class 6 felony in specific situations. One example is when someone has a suspended license, drives recklessly on that suspended license and then kills another person.
Do You Have Questions for an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney?
The criminal justice system can be terrifying. With the prospect of harsh penalties and even jail time, there is no margin for error. After all, your liberty may be at stake. But with an experienced criminal defense attorney as your advocate, you will have a guide to explain the process and ensure an aggressive defense.
If have questions about texting while driving, reckless driving, or other criminal offenses, please feel free to contact Simms Showers LLP at your earliest convenience. We are happy to meet with you in our Leesburg or Winchester offices, and we are also available by calling 703-997-7821 or by filling out a simple form online.