Virginia Police Combat Reckless Driving & DUI Over Memorial Day Weekend
Over Memorial Day weekend this year, the Virginia State Police reported 2,489 reckless driving and 70 DUI incidents with eight traffic fatalities, according to an article by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic was expected to decrease overall traffic over the holiday weekend, the figures are almost identical to last year. In 2019, the Virginia State Police reported 2,548 reckless driving and 75 DUI incidents with 11 traffic fatalities.
According to official statements, this year’s Memorial Day weekend traffic fatalities all occurred in different counties. There were traffic deaths in Lower Norfolk, Caroline, Montgomery, Prince William, and Southampton counties. In Pittsylvania and Rockingham counties, there were fatal motorcycle crashes. In Sussex County, there was a fatal crash involving a pedestrian.
At this point, the individuals charged with reckless driving and DUI will have to wait for their day in court. In order to understand the severity of the charges these drivers face, it will be helpful to review the criminal penalties in Virginia for both reckless driving and DUI offenses.
Virginia Reckless Driving Penalties
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868 outlines the state penalties for reckless driving. At a baseline level, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction, a reckless driving offender can face a 12-month jail sentence and fines up to $2,500.
On the other hand, certain reckless driving offenders can face Class 6 felony charges in Virginia. This elevated penalty applies if the driver caused a death while operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license. If convicted for this felony, a reckless driving offender can face a prison sentence between one and five years as well as fines up to $2,500.
In addition, Code of Virginia Section 46.2-392 establishes mandatory driver’s license suspension for reckless driving offenses. The applicable suspension period fluctuates between 10 days and six months.
Virginia DUI Penalties
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270 details the state penalties for DUI. Under this section, a first- or second- time DUI offense is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor, with the same maximum punishment described previously. But DUI carries mandatory minimum levels of punishment as well, including $250-$500 in fines and 5-20 days in jail.
However, a third or subsequent DUI offense becomes a Class 6 felony. The maximum sentence mirrors the felony version of reckless driving. Once again, DUI offenses have mandatory minimum penalties. For a third DUI, the offender must pay at least $1,000 in fines and spend 90-180 days in prison.
Furthermore, Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271 requires driver’s license suspension for DUI offenses. A first offense leads to a 12-month suspension period; whereas, a second or subsequent offense triggers a 36-month revocation period.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about reckless driving or DUI in Virginia, it can be demonstrably valuable to consult with an accomplished criminal defense attorney. The Winchester criminal defense attorneys at Simms Showers LLP understand how to defend against various criminal charges in Virginia, including reckless driving and DUI. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.