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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Reckless Driving > What are Several Common Types of Reckless Driving in Virginia?

What are Several Common Types of Reckless Driving in Virginia?


Under Virginia law, reckless driving is an offense that carries the possibility of severe criminal penalties. From a general standpoint, reckless driving occurs whenever a driver puts other people or property in danger of harm.

Any person who commits reckless driving in Virginia is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a reckless driving offender can face a maximum of 12 months in county, $2,500 in criminal fines, and six months of driver’s license suspension.

In addition to the general rule against reckless driving, Virginia law also criminalizes a number of more specific and dangerous driving behaviors. To avoid a potential criminal conviction, drivers should also be aware of the following behaviors that are considered reckless driving under Virginia law.

  1. Driving With an Obstructed View or Impaired Control

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-855 makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with an obstructed view or impaired control. If overloading or excessive passengers makes the driver unable to properly see or control their vehicles, it qualifies as reckless driving under this section of Virginia law.

  1. Passing or Overtaking Two Vehicles Simultaneously

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-856 makes it illegal to pass two other vehicles traveling in the same direction at the same time. There are several exceptions, such as an exemption for drivers on highways with three or more lanes in each direction. There is a corresponding exception for passing bikes, mopeds, or similar vehicles at the same time.

  1. Passing or Overtaking at a Railroad Crossing

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-858 makes it unlawful for drivers to pass other vehicles at most railroad crossings. There are several exceptions involving marked passing zones, multi-lane highways, and directions from law enforcement.

  1. Driving Unreasonably Fast for Traffic Conditions

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-861 makes it illegal to drive unreasonably fast based on existing traffic conditions. If there is bad weather or an accident, for example, drivers must slow down and take appropriate caution. Any person who drives unreasonably fast given current traffic conditions is guilty of reckless driving.

  1. Driving At Excessive Speeds

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-862 makes it unlawful to operate motor vehicles at excessive speeds. Under this section, it qualifies as reckless driving if a person operates a motor vehicle:

  • More than 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit; or
  • More than 80 miles per hour anywhere in the Commonwealth, regardless of the posted speed limit.

Even if they fail to exceed the reckless driving thresholds above, drivers will still likely receive a speeding ticket if they go faster than the posted speed limit.

Let Us Help You Today

If you need legal help with reckless driving charges in Virginia, it can be incredibly productive to contact an established criminal defense attorney. The Winchester reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have proven capabilities in various matters of criminal defense, including reckless driving. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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