Fatal Hood Surfing Accident Leads to Reckless Driving Charges in Virginia
A 16-year-old female teenager faces reckless driving charges killing her male friend in a hood surfing accident, reported The Virginian-Pilot.
This accident occurred in Washington County on June 13, 2018. That is when the 15-year-old male passenger exited the moving vehicle and crawled unto the hood. The female teenager continued driving while her friend “surfed” on the hood. Tragedy struck when the male teenager fell off the hood. The female teenager then ran over and killed her friend.
As the Virginia State Police conduct their investigation into this incident, there may be additional charges. For example, if the 16-year-old girl tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the authorities may pursue an involuntary manslaughter charge as well.
In light of this fatal accident, it seems like an appropriate time to review Virginia laws concerning reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter.
Reckless Driving in Virginia
The definition of reckless driving appears in Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852. Reckless driving is a general offense in Virginia, addressing a wide range of dangerous driving behavior. Specifically, Section 26.2-852 makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle in a way that endangers other people or property.
Under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868, reckless driving is generally Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalty structure for a Class 1 misdemeanor includes the possibility of 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in fines.
That being said, reckless driving can transform into a felony offense. If reckless driving results in the death of another person, the offense is punishable as a Class 6 felony. The penalty structure for a Class 6 felony includes the possibility of one to five years in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Section 26.2-852 also adds a specific penalty for illegal use of a mobile device while driving. If a person commits reckless driving while violating mobile device regulations, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $250.
Involuntary Manslaughter in Virginia
The definition of involuntary manslaughter appears in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36.1. Under Section 18.2-36.1, involuntary manslaughter occurs when the offender drives drunk and causes the death of another person.
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36, involuntary manslaughter is a Class 5 felony in Virginia. The typical penalties for a Class 5 felony include one to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
On a related note, Section 18.2-36.1 also defines the crime of aggravated involuntary manslaughter. If the offender demonstrates a reckless disregard for human life, then the maximum prison sentence increases to 20 years.
Contact Us for Help Today
If you have legal questions about reckless driving or involuntary manslaughter in Virginia, it is extremely helpful to reach out to a steadfast criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have the experience and knowledge required to help fight a variety of criminal charges, including reckless driving or involuntary manslaughter. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.