Labor Day Weekend Leads to Increased Reckless Driving in Virginia
Over the course of Labor Day weekend this year, counties across Virginia experienced a substantial increase in reckless driving and driving under the influence, reported ABC affiliate WVEC. Additionally, the number of fatal automotive accidents during the holiday weekend reached a three-year high.
The Virginia State Police reported 12 deaths over the course of 11 fatal accidents — from midnight on Friday, August 31st through midnight on Monday, September 3rd. That is the highest total of Labor Day automotive fatalities since 2015, when 16 people died in fatal crashes over the holiday weekend.
In addition to fatal accidents, the Virginia State Police issued a large number of citations throughout Labor Day weekend, including:
- 8,427 speeding tickets;
- 2,050 reckless driving citations;
- 1,024 seatbelt violations;
- 227 tickets for failing to properly secure children; and
- 72 arrests for driving under the influence.
The reckless driving and driving under the influence citations above will lead to criminal charges and penalties. In some of the fatal accidents, there is even the possibility of involuntary manslaughter charges and penalties.
Virginia Penalties for Reckless Driving
The penalties for reckless driving appear in Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868. A person who commits reckless driving in Virginia is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The usual punishment for a Class 1 misdemeanor includes up to 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines, either or both.
When reckless driving leads to the death of a person, the offense can rise to the level of a Class 6 felony. The usual punishment for a Class 6 felony includes imprisonment for one to five years and $2,500 in fines, either or both.
Virginia Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
The penalties for driving under the influence appear in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. A person who commits driving under the influence in Virginia is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Although the punishment is usually the same as for reckless driving, there are several adjustments based on the number of offenses.
- First Offense — There is a mandatory minimum fine of $250. Drivers with high blood-alcohol concentration levels may face mandatory jail sentence as well.
- Second Offense — There is a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and a mandatory jail sentence of 10-20 days.
In certain circumstances, driving under the influence can become a felony crime with heightened penalties.
Virginia Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter
The penalties for involuntary manslaughter appear in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36. A person who commits involuntary manslaughter in Virginia is guilty of a Class 5 felony. The usual punishment for a Class 5 felony includes imprisonment for one to 10 years and $2,500 in fines, either or both.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about reckless driving in Virginia, it can be truly beneficial to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have demonstrated knowledge and skill in the arena of reckless driving. If you need legal help with reckless driving or other aspects of criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.