Does Virginia Have Multiple Types Of Reckless Driving Offenses?
Reckless driving is a criminal offense under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852. In its most essential form, this crime requires dangerous or reckless driving behavior that can result in damage, injury, or death.
In terms of penalties, Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868 establishes misdemeanor and felony versions of reckless driving. The Class 1 misdemeanor version features penalties that can include a 12-month jail sentence, criminal fines, and driver’s license suspension. Whereas the Class 6 felony version can lead to a prison sentence between one and five years as well as criminal fines and license suspension.
In addition to the offense under Section 46.2-852, Virginia law classifies many other forms of conduct as reckless driving.
To illustrate the breadth of this offense in Virginia, the following sections will examine four common types of reckless driving charges.
- Improper Control & Faulty Brakes
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-853 requires all drivers to operate their vehicle with proper control and adequate/adjusted braking systems. Any person who operates a vehicle without proper control or with inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes can face criminal charges for reckless driving.
- Passing at Crest of Grade or Curve
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-854 provides specific rules for passing or overtaking other vehicles. This section makes it reckless driving to pass or overtake other vehicles traveling in the same direction:
- On or approaching the crest of a grade; or
- On or approaching a curve in the road; and
- Where the driver’s view is obstructed.
That being said, there are several exceptions to Section 46.2-854. This section does not apply to:
- Highways with two or more lanes designated for each direction of travel; or
- Designated one-way streets, roads, and highways.
- Obstructed View & Impaired Control
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-855 requires drivers to maintain a clear view and adequate control over their vehicle. This section prohibits loading items or passengers into a vehicle in way that:
- Obstructs the driver’s view of the front or sides of the vehicle; or
- Interferes with the driver’s control over the vehicle.
Any person who operates a vehicle with an obstructed view or impaired control can face criminal charges for reckless driving.
- Passing Two Vehicles Simultaneously
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-856 creates a general prohibition against passing multiple vehicles traveling in the same direction simultaneously.
On the other hand, there are several exceptions to Section 46.2-856. This section does not apply to:
- Highways with three or more lanes designated for each direction of travel;
- Designated one-way streets, roads, and highways;
- Motor vehicles passing multiple bikes, mopeds, or mobility devices; or
- Bikes, mopeds, or mobility devices passing multiple vehicles simultaneously.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about reckless driving in Virginia, it can be extremely productive to contact a rigorous Leesburg reckless driving attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have experience with criminal defense, including reckless driving. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.