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How Does Virginia Punish Improper, Aggressive & Reckless Driving?

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Virginia law requires all drivers to operate their vehicles in a safe and controlled manner. If a driver disregards this overarching requirement, they could receive severe punishment for aggressive, improper, or reckless driving. The exact nature of the charges and corresponding punishment vary greatly based on the circumstances of the offense.

How Does Virginia Define & Punish Reckless Driving?

The general definition of reckless driving appears under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852. This section makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in a way dangerous to property damage, physical injury, or death. Though Virginia law does provide for more specific versions of reckless driving, such as failure to maintain control or excessive speeding.

The punishment for reckless driving appears under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868. This section classifies most reckless driving offenses as Class 1 misdemeanors. If convicted, the punishment can include confinement in county jail for 12 months, criminal fines up to $2,500, and driver’s license suspension for 60 days to six months.

If reckless driving occurs on a suspended license and results in a fatality, however, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony. If convicted, the punishment can include confinement in county jail for 12 months, criminal fines up to $2,500, and driver’s license suspension for 60 days to six months.

How Does Virginia Define & Punish Improper Driving?

The definition of improper driving appears under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-869. This offense applies to less severe reckless driving charges. When a person commits reckless driving — but their degree of fault is relatively minor — Virginia courts may reduce the charge to improper driving.

The punishment for improper driving also appears under Section 46.2-869. This section classifies improper driving as a traffic infraction with a maximum fine of $500.

How Does Virginia Define & Punish Aggressive Driving?

The definition of aggressive driving appears under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868.1. There are two requirements for an aggressive driving charge in Virginia. First, the offender must commit any two of the following traffic offenses in the same course of conduct:

  • Driving on the wrong side of highways;
  • Failing to observe marked traffic lanes;
  • Following other vehicles too closely;
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way;
  • Evading traffic control devices;
  • Passing or overtaking other vehicles improperly;
  • Stopping on highways improperly; or
  • Speeding in various circumstances.

Second, the offender’s conduct must also:

  • Represent a hazard to another person; or
  • Demonstrate an intent to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.

The punishment for aggressive driving also appears under Section 46.2-868.1. This section classifies most aggressive driving offenses as Class 2 misdemeanors. If convicted, the punishment can include confinement in county jail for six months, criminal fines up to $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for 60 days to six months.

Reach Out to an Attorney for Help

If you need legal assistance with aggressive, improper, or reckless driving in Virginia, the Leesburg reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers LLP are prepared to help. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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