What Is The Relationship Between Street Racing & Reckless Driving In Virginia?
Reckless driving in Virginia occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle in a dangerous way that threatens the safety of people or property. This general definition exists in tandem with laws that classify certain types of behavior as reckless driving, including street racing. Although street racing is classified as reckless driving, there are special considerations in place for this type of offense.
What are the Virginia Laws Against Street Racing?
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-865 details the state laws against street racing. This section makes it illegal to engage in a race between two or more motor vehicles:
- On roads and highways within Virginia; or
- On any driveway or the premises of a business property, church, recreational facility, or school, unless authorized by the property owner.
Any person who violates this section is guilty of reckless driving and subject to driver’s license suspension for six to 24 months. Under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868, reckless driving is normally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, the maximum punishment includes $2,500 in criminal fines and 12 months in county jail.
What Happens if a Street Race Causes Injury or Death?
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-865 explains the consequences for causing injury or death to an innocent bystander during a street race. This section makes it unlawful to engage in a street race in a culpable, gross, or wanton manner that results in injury or death.
If a person violates this section and causes serious bodily injury to a victim, they will likely face Class 6 felony charges. If convicted, the punishment can include a prison sentence between 12 months and 5 years, criminal fines up to $2,500, and 12 months to 3 years of driver’s license suspension.
If a person violates this section and causes the death of a victim, the felony charges increase in severity. If convicted, the punishment can include a prison sentence between 12 months and 20 years, criminal fines, and 12 months to 3 years of driver’s license suspension.
Is There a Penalty for Aiding or Abetting a Street Race?
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-865 establishes the penalty for aiding or abetting a street race, even without actual involvement in the race itself. Any person who aids or abets a street race can face Class 1 misdemeanor charges and a similar punishment to the one described above.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about Virginia charges for reckless driving, we can help. Reach out to the Leesburg criminal attorneys at Simms Showers LLP for help.