Reckless Driving Charge in Fatal Crash on U.S. 15
A woman from Madison County was killed while a passenger in a single car accident in Culpepper County, Virginia. The driver of the vehicle lost control while driving south on U.S. Highway 15, running off the left side of the road into a row of cedar trees. The 21-year-old driver was treated for injuries, and his condition is not known at this time. Neither the driver nor the passenger were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The driver is being charged with reckless driving. The crash is under further investigation, and it is not clear whether additional charges will be filed.
Reckless driving is normally a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, and particularly when a fatality is involved, more serious charges can be brought. For instance, if the driver is driving without a license and a person dies as a result of an act of reckless driving, it escalates from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Worse yet, if other aggravating circumstances exist (such as a DUI-related death), the driver may be charged with involuntary manslaughter, which carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison. If circumstances show a reckless disregard for human life, the crime is deemed aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Lawmakers apparently hope that if the potential safety consequences of reckless driving are not enough of a deterrent, people will be deterred by the threat of criminal prosecution. This helps explain why Virginia is unique among the United States in declaring reckless driving a crime even in the absence of an accident. While these laws may prevent some accidents, they also can be used against individuals who have never hurt anyone but happened to engage in a blatant vehicle code violation. This can happen to almost anyone.
Contact a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney Today
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you should keep in mind that this is not just a simple traffic infraction. It is treated as a criminal matter, and it has consequences that could affect more than just your insurance premiums. If somebody died or was injured, or if alcohol or drugs were involved, the charges you face could be even more serious. You are not just going to traffic court for a ticket. You are facing charges that can affect the rest of your life. Don’t try to navigate the legal system alone. Contact the attorneys at Simms Showers in Leesburg today for a free consultation.