Examining Virginia Laws Against Reckless, Improper & Aggressive Driving
Every year across the Commonwealth of Virginia, reckless driving and other types of dangerous driving behavior cause many automotive accidents. In certain cases, the accident has minor consequences, merely resulting in property damage. In the worst cases, reckless, improper, and aggressive driving can result in injury to or the death of other people. To understand the differences between these driving offenses, the following sections will explore applicable Virginia laws and penalties.
Reckless Driving Laws & Penalties
The general rule against reckless driving appears under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852. This section makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in a manner that creates a risk of property damage, physical injury, or death. In addition to this overarching rule, Virginia law also provides for other types of reckless driving — such as driving with an obstructed view, passing a stopped school bus, or racing.
Any person who commits reckless driving is subject to criminal penalties under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868. Traditionally, reckless driving qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted for this charge, the reckless driving offender can face up to 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Improper Driving Laws & Penalties
The laws governing improper driving appear under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-869. Improper driving is essentially a lower-level version of reckless driving. If a person commits a minor reckless driving offense, it is possible to reduce the charge to improper driving instead. Though the driver in question must only demonstrate a slight degree of fault to qualify for the reduced charge.
Any person who commits improper driving is guilty of a traffic infraction, rather than a criminal offense. Under Section 46.2-869, the reduced charge of improper driving is punishable by a maximum of $500 in fines.
Aggressive Driving Laws & Penalties
The laws against and penalties for aggressive driving appear under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868.1. There are two elements to this offense in Virginia. First, a driver must commit a qualifying traffic offense, including but not limited to:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road;
- Following other vehicles too closely;
- Failing to yield the right-of-way;
- Disregarding traffic lights or similar devices;
- Passing or overtaking other vehicles improperly; or
- Speeding in excess of posted limits.
Second, the driver must also:
- Represent a danger or hazard to another people; or
- Commit the offense with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.
In most circumstances, aggressive driving is as a Class 2 misdemeanor under Section 46.2-868.1. If convicted on this charge, the aggressive driving offender can face a maximum of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about Virginia charges for reckless, improper, or aggressive driving, it can be extremely constructive to contact a skilled Leesburg reckless driving attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have demonstrated skill and experience in the field of criminal defense, including reckless, improper, and aggressive driving. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.