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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Investigating 5 Common Types Of Reckless Driving In Virginia

Investigating 5 Common Types Of Reckless Driving In Virginia


Reckless driving is a criminal traffic offense in Virginia that revolves around dangerous behavior on the roads. The overarching statute states that a person commits reckless driving if they operate a vehicle in a way that creates a risk of property damage, physical injury, or death.

When a person commits reckless driving in Virginia, they typically face Class 1 misdemeanor charges. Upon conviction, the maximum punishment for this misdemeanor is $2,500 in criminal fines, 12 months in jail, and six months of driver’s license suspension.

On top of the general rule against reckless driving described above, Virginia law also classifies other dangerous behaviors as reckless driving. To understand several nuances of this offense, the following sections will investigate five common types of reckless driving in Virginia.

  1. Exceeding the Speed Limit

It is reckless driving under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-862 to operate a motor vehicle in excess of:

  • 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit; or
  • 85 miles per hour, no matter the posted speed limit.
  1. Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way

Under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-863, it is reckless driving to fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles. More specifically, vehicles must yield before entering a highway from a side road, if there is approaching traffic. Additionally, vehicles must yield in accordance with any legally posted traffic signs.

  1. Passing at a Railroad Crossing

It is reckless driving under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-858 to pass or overtake other vehicles at a railroad crossing. There are several exceptions to this rule, though, including:

  • Multilane highways with two or more lanes designated for each direction of travel;
  • Streets and intersections designated as passing zones; or
  • Pursuant to the direction of a law enforcement officer.
  1. Failing to Use Proper Signals

Under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-860, reckless driving can occur based on a failure to use signals properly. In particular, Virginia law requires all drivers to provide timely and adequate signals when intending to:

  • Turn;
  • Partially turn;
  • Slow down; or
  • Completely stop.
  1. Passing a Stopped School Bus

It is reckless driving under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-860 to pass a stopped school bus. This rule only applies to school buses in official colors and designations that are picking up or dropping off passengers.

That being said, this rule does not apply to vehicles driving on the other side of a physical barrier from a school bus. If directed by law enforcement, drivers may also pass a stopped school bus without fear of reckless driving charges.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have legal questions about reckless driving or other offenses under the Virginia Criminal Code, the dedicated Leesburg criminal defense attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can assist you. Reach out to us today for help.

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