It is important to remember that reckless driving is a more serious charge than speeding. Virginia has very stringent speed laws that all drivers must adhere to, whether they are residents of the state or are simply passing through. Because of this, when a person is charged with reckless driving, the consequences are very severe. It is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means that fines, license suspension, and up to one year in jail are all potential outcomes of a conviction.
Additionally, this is a criminal charge, which means it will stay on the criminal record forever. This could then impact the likelihood of being hired for a job, among other things. If you were charged with reckless driving by accident, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Loudoun County reckless driving attorney. An attorney will be able to advise you on court procedures, understand the potential outcomes, and maneuver through the case intelligently to obtain the best possible outcome for the situation.
Reckless driving by accident occurs when you have been charged with reckless driving and you have been involved in a car accident. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Loudoun County, you may very well find yourself charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving cases that arise out of an accident are typically charged under two separate code sections. The first code section for reckless driving is pursuant to the general rule that is Virginia Code Section 46.2 – 852. The general rule states that it shall be reckless driving when someone operates a motor vehicle in such a manner as to endanger life, limb or property. This is a very broad rule and often applies to accident cases.
Reckless driving under the general rule and reckless driving by failing to maintain control has different statutory elements than reckless driving by speed. Different types of evidence will be presented and there are different considerations to be made by the judge. In addition, there are different case laws on both topics. Reckless driving under the general rule 46.2 – 852, for example, has a definite body of case law with statutory guidance that maybe able to be used by your reckless driving attorney to help defend your case.
Additionally, if you are involved in an accident, you may be charged with violating Virginia Code Section 46.2 – 853, which is failing to maintain proper control of your vehicle. Section 46.2 – 853 is commonly charged in cases involving rear-end accidents or accidents where someone is going too fast or not obeying proper safety rules for the road conditions. This code section is also broad, but it contemplates someone not able to stop or controlling their vehicle in a proper manner.
The charge “reckless driving by accident” is not specifically the language of the Code. Section 46.2-852 is often cited as “reckless driving by accident” but it is actually the general rule and an accident is not called.
Someone may find themselves charged with reckless driving after an accident when they are involved in an incident and they seem to be at fault and there is property damage or personal injury. That is, if the accident is more severe and to the extent a simple exchange of information and the officer upon investigation is able to determine fault to their side of facts.
If you are charged with this offense, you will receive a Virginia Uniform Summons to come to court. The officer may also write certain things in the ticket which will indicate where he or she may ask the court to take the case. This may include “reduce” or “improper” on the ticket, essentially indicating that improper driving is more appropriate than reckless driving.
There are a variety of reasons why someone will want to hire a Loudoun County reckless driving attorney if they have been charged with reckless driving after being involved in an accident.
The officer may not have witnessed the case and they may have charged the wrong person.
There are a variety of legal and factual defenses that may be applicable to you if you are charged with reckless driving after an accident.
As mentioned earlier, it is not uncommon for an officer to charge you with reckless driving even when an officer did not witness the accident, and in these cases the Commonwealth must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and it must subpoena certain witnesses.
Having an attorney available may provide legal representation to cross-examine any witnesses that the Commonwealth may present, as well as prevent officers from speculating as to how the accident occurred when they didn’t even witness it. There are certain legal arguments to be made and a variety of evidences that are presented in these cases.
An experienced attorney will conduct investigations into your reckless driving charge. This may include obtaining copy of the witness statements, contacting any witnesses who were not necessarily contacted or whose statements were not taken, travelling to the scene of the accident and taking pictures, and discussing potential scenarios with the investigating officer.
Each of these reasons go towards having a strong defense, which will help you with your case.
If you are charged with reckless driving by accident pursuant to code section 46.2-852 or 46.2- 853, there may be some serious complications for your Virginia commercial driver’s license. The specific implications will depend on the person’s previous driving history, and this can be viewed by obtaining a copy of their Virginia CDL driving records. The specific implications vary on a case by case basis. The timing and frequency between charges also affects the outcomes of the case.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law