Virginia Man Charged With Reckless Driving & Manslaughter After Fatal Crash
A Virginia man faces criminal charges for reckless driving and aggravated involuntary manslaughter after allegedly crashing into and killing a police officer, according to an article by FOX8.
This incident occurred on January 14 at approximately 4 a.m. on Route 11, when the Virginia man allegedly crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on into another vehicle. The police officer driving that vehicle died as a result of the crash.
As a result of this incident, law enforcement arrested and booked the Virginia man, charging him with felony reckless driving and aggravated involuntary manslaughter. On June 10, a Commonwealth’s Attorney announced that the charges were certified for a grand jury hearing in July.
A grand jury reviewed the charges in July and decided whether to proceed with legal action. In the meantime, the Virginia man remains in police custody at the New River Valley Regional Jail.
Given the events of the aforementioned news story, it feels appropriate to take a closer look at the Virginia statutes criminalizing reckless driving and aggravated involuntary manslaughter.
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852 outlines the overarching law against reckless driving. This section makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle in a dangerous fashion that imperils the safety of other people or property.
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868 establishes the punishment for reckless driving. At a basic level, reckless driving is usually charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction for this charge, the punishment can include criminal fines up to $2,500 and a maximum of 12 months in county jail.
On the other hand, Section 46.2-868 enables reckless driving to be charged as a Class 6 felony instead. The felony version of this offense is reserved for situations when reckless driving occurred on a suspended or revoked license and caused the death of another person.
When a person is convicted for the Class 6 felony version of reckless driving, the punishment can include criminal fines up to $2,500 and a prison sentence between 12 and 60 months.
Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36.1 furnishes the rules against aggravated involuntary manslaughter. This offense is applicable when an offender:
- Commits driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs;
- Demonstrates a reckless disregard for human life through gross, wanton, and culpable conduct; and
- Causes the death of another person unintentionally.
Section 18.2-36.1 also details the punishment for aggravated involuntary manslaughter. Under this section, aggravated involuntary manslaughter is charged as a felony crime. Upon conviction for these charges, the punishment can include criminal fines and a prison sentence between 12 months and 20 years.
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