Is Street Racing Considered Reckless Driving In Virginia?
Reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal offense that exists in many different versions. From passing a stopped school bus to failure to maintain control, reckless driving charges can arise in many circumstances. One version of reckless driving involves organized street races between multiple vehicles.
What are the Virginia Laws Against Street Racing?
The state laws against street racing appear at Code of Virginia Section 46.2-865. Under this section, it is unlawful to engage in a race involving at least two motor vehicles on:
- Any public highway or road in Virginia;
- Any driveway or premises of a church, school, or recreational facility; or
- Any driveway or premises business property open to the public.
That being said, there is an exception to the requirements of Section 46.2-865. If a property owner or their agent authorizes a race on the premises, it does not qualify as street racing.
What are the Virginia Penalties for Street Racing?
Street racing is typically a version of reckless driving under Virginia law. The standard punishment for this offense appears at Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868. Street racing is normally a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this offense usually involves a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a maximum of $2,500 in criminal fines. In addition, a conviction for street racing includes a driver’s license suspension period of six to 24 months.
In certain cases, street racing can lead to Class 6 felony charges under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-865.1. This section addresses street racing offenses that involved culpable conduct and a reckless disregard for human life.
If this type of street racing offense also results in serious physical injury to an innocent bystander, it is a Class 6 felony. The punishment usually involves a prison sentence of one to five years, a maximum of $2,500 in criminal fines, and 12 to 36 months of driver’s license suspension.
If a street racing offense also results in the death of an innocent bystander, it is a felony. The punishment usually involves a prison sentence of one to 20 years, a maximum of $2,500 in criminal fines, and 12 to 36 months of driver’s license suspension.
Does Virginia Require Vehicle Forfeiture for Street Racing?
On top of the criminal penalties listed in the previous section, street racing can be subject to vehicle forfeiture under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-867. This forfeiture requirement applies when the owner of a motor vehicle is:
- Convicted of a prearranged, organized, and planned incident of street racing;
- Present in the vehicle while another person engages in a street race; or
- Convicted of street racing that involved culpable conduct and a reckless disregard for human life.
In the situations mentioned above, the owner must forfeit their motor vehicle to the Commonwealth for seizure. The proceeds from a sale of a forfeit vehicle are disposed of in accordance with Virginia law.
Do You Need Legal Help?
Are you facing reckless driving charges? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the skilled Leesburg reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers LLP for a consultation on your case.