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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Reckless Driving > Street Racing Penalties in Virginia

Street Racing Penalties in Virginia


Illegal street races occur almost every day in Loudoun County. Virginia drivers have more racing convictions than the drivers in almost any other state. Wyoming and North Dakota are the leading street racing states in the Union, possibly because there’s so much open space and not much else to do in these states. Virginia’s reckless driving law, which covers illegal street racing, is unusually broad and could get several kinds of people in trouble, even if they aren’t in a car. More on that below.

A reckless driving conviction could prompt auto insurance rates to skyrocket over 200 percent. That’s on top of the harsh direct consequences of these convictions. Prosecutors and judges are determined to “make an example” out of these drivers so decent people can “reclaim the streets.” Defendants need a determined Leesburg reckless drivinglawyer to even the odds. Otherwise, they’ll be at the mercy of an uncaring court.

Ad Hoc Racers

We’re sorry for the Legalese. In this context, ad hoc racing basically means spur-of-the-moment racing (e.g. I’ll race you to the next freeway intersection). Ad hoc racing could also mean arriving at the store ahead of your friend (racing another car), proving the back way really is faster than the freeway, or even getting the kids to soccer practice by 6 (racing against the clock).

Section 46.2-865 is a misdemeanor, not a traffic ticket. A conviction usually means a fine and extended court supervision, not to mention a black mark on the driver’s permanent record. Furthermore, a conviction includes a mandatory six month drivers’ license suspension, which could increase to twenty-four months. A limited license which enables the defendant to drive to and from work and for other essential purposes might be available. But, there’s no guarantee.

These cases are difficult to prove in court. Unless the defendant confesses to racing, it’s almost impossible to distinguish ad hoc racing from speeding.

Organized Racers

This defense usually isn’t available in organized race cases. It’s quite clear these motorists aren’t just speeding.

According to Section 46.2-867, the state must prove the race was “prearranged, organized, and planned.” We stress the and. If prosecutors don’t prove all three, the judge will probably dismiss the case. That being said, the race could be mostly ad hoc and yet still be organized under the law.

Punishment includes vehicle forfeiture. At the hearing, the state must only prove the car, not the driver, was racing by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Racing Fans

Anyone who “aids and abets any such race,” whether organized or ad hoc, is also guilty of a misdemeanor. The law is vague on this point. However, aiding and abetting usually implies more participation than sitting and watching.

People who bet on races clearly aid and abet the racers. People who record videos and post them on social media, thus glorifying the racers, might fall into this category as well.

Count on a Thorough Loudoun County Lawyer

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction in criminal law. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Leesburg, contact Simms Showers, LLP, Attorneys at Law. Virtual, home, and jail visits are available.

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