Comparing Reckless Driving Against Improper & Aggressive Driving In Virginia
In the interest of preserving safe roads and highways, the Commonwealth of Virginia has laws against reckless driving and other traffic violations. Improper and aggressive driving are two examples of traffic infractions that are similar to reckless driving, but are charged as two separate offenses. Any person who commits reckless, improper, or aggressive driving in Virginia can face serious consequences, which includes fines and jail time.
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852 explains the general rule against reckless driving. Under this section, a person commits reckless driving if they operate a motor vehicle in a manner that threatens the safety of other people or property.
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868 describes the punishment for reckless driving. Any person who commits reckless driving is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this misdemeanor can include a maximum of $2,500 in criminal fines and 12 months in county jail.
Improper driving is a lesser offense under the umbrella of reckless driving. Code of Virginia Section 46.2-869 establishes the state laws against and punishment for improper driving. More specifically, if a person faces reckless driving charges — but their degree of guilt is relatively slight — then the Virginia courts may reduce the charge to improper driving.
Any person who commits improper driving in violation of Section 46.2-869 is guilty of a traffic offense. The punishment for this offense is a maximum fine of $500.
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868.1 furnishes the state laws against and punishment for aggressive driving. Under this section, aggressive driving occurs when a person commits more than one of the following offenses at once:
- Driving on the wrong side of the highway;
- Failing to observe lanes marked for traffic;
- Following other vehicles too closely;
- Failing to yield the right-of-way when entering certain areas;
- Evading traffic control signals;
- Overtaking or passing other vehicles improperly;
- Failing to give way or yield to an overtaking vehicle;
- Stopping on a highway without a reasonable justification; or
- Committing various other speeding or passing infractions.
In addition, aggressive driving under Section 46.2-868.1 requires the offender to:
- Constitute a danger or hazard to another person; or
- Demonstrate an intent to harass, injure, intimidate, or obstruct another person.
Any person who commits aggressive driving in violation of Section 46.2-868.1 is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The punishment for this misdemeanor can include a maximum of $1,000 in criminal fines and six months in county jail.
That being said, aggressive driving can become a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this misdemeanor mirrors the punishment concerning reckless driving.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you need legal assistance with reckless, improper, or aggressive driving in Virginia, do not hesitate to contact the expert Leesburg criminal defense attorneys at Simms Showers LLP. We are prepared to assist you throughout each step of your case.