Three Under the Radar Reckless Driving Violations
Most people associate reckless driving violations with careless driving that clearly endangers other people. Indeed, most Article 7 violations address such driving. But a few are essentially driving technicalities. Officers often issue such citations if they’re bored or if they need to meet a quota.
We should pause here and address ticket quotas. Formal quotas are illegal. Informal quotas are common. Assume Officer Mike and Officer Lisa, who work basically the same beat and shift, are vying for the same promotion. Officer Lisa writes 50 citations a month and Officer Mike writes 20. Because she appears to be a harder worker, Officer Lisa has the inside track.
The punishment for all reckless driving violations is the same. These defendants face up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a six-month drivers’ license suspension. Most reckless driving motorists are ineligible for traffic school. So, a determined defense from a Leesburg reckless driving lawyer might be the only way to avoid these harsh consequences.
Driving with faulty brakes or otherwise driving “a vehicle which is not under proper control” violates Section 46.2-853. Officers often look for weaving within a single lane, which is legal in most states, but in Virginia indicates a lack of mechanical control. Officers use their ears as well. They listen for grinding brakes and squeaky belts.
These citations are usually fix-it tickets. If the driver fixes the problem before the court date, the judge dismisses the case. In many situations, that’s not the end of the matter, especially if the motorist is a commercial driver.
The Safety Measurement System report, which is basically a multi state driving record, usually draws from law enforcement records. In other words, even if a judge dismisses the case, the citation still appears in law enforcement databases, even if the officer cited a private vehicle.
A high SMS score means commercial drivers’ license suspension. A higher-than-normal SMS score increases commercial auto insurance rates.
Obstructed Driver View
Dangling air fresheners, hanging personal or religious objects, and windshield-mounted hands-free device holders are very popular among many drivers. They’re also illegal, under Section 46.2-855. This provision also applies if excessive passengers or cargo blocks the driver’s front, rear, or side view.
A Leesburg criminal defense lawyer often convinces judges to throw these citations out of court. Frequently, the officer profiled the driver, usually because the driver didn’t “look right” for some reason. The driver didn’t commit a moving violation, so the officer detained the driver on a technicality instead.
Such stops violate the reasonable suspicion rule. Basically, reasonable suspicion is an evidence-based hunch of criminal activity, as opposed to just a hunch.
Passing Two Vehicles at Once
Many people pass more than one slow-moving vehicle, like one tractor following another one, at once. Even if they pass such vehicles in a legal passing zone, this conduct could be illegal under Section 46.2-856.
However, this provision doesn’t apply if “one or both of such other vehicles is a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped.” Overanxious officers often issue reckless driving citations in these situations anyway. Such citations clearly don’t hold up in court.
Deal With a Compassionate 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. We have several offices in Northern Virginia.