Virginia Code Section 46.2–853 defines the elements of the Virginia code for reckless driving by not having your vehicle under control or having faulty brakes. The most common scenarios under which this code section is utilized are, firstly, when there is an accident and the at-fault party has failed to stop the vehicle to avoid the accident. The second scenario is when the brakes on the defendant’s vehicle were clearly inadequately or improperly adjusted. This will include when the vehicle has lost traction or otherwise failed to maintain control in an accident.
If you have been charged with reckless driving by faulty brakes call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia reckless driving lawyer today to discuss your case and begin building a defense.
Typically evidence in a section 46.2–853 case will be very similar to the evidence presented in a reckless driving under the general rule case. They will present testimony of other parties involved, pictures, testimony of the officer investigating the accident, and statements made by the at-fault driver to the officer. An attorney is important in these cases because an attorney can help you present the defense which can include physical evidence, statements, and the cross examination of the commonwealth attorneys.
The only legal defense for this code section would be that you were unaware of your inadequately or improperly adjusted brakes and had no reason to be aware. Typically if there are warnings, such as squeaking or gripping brakes, you will be able to notice that your vehicle is unfit. However, if you have just had routine maintenance performed on your vehicle and you were told that it was okay or if your vehicle had recently passed a Virginia safety inspection, then that may be a defense to the charges that your vehicle had improperly adjusted brakes.
The other portion of this statute that your vehicle is not under proper control is tougher to defend on a legal basis. This is often because it is difficult to say that your vehicle was under control when you were operating it in a manner that resulted in an accident.
It can be the fault of mechanics, but that is very rare.
Faulty brakes mean that the vehicle’s brakes were inadequate or improperly adjusted on the highway. What this means is that vehicle was not properly equipped with brakes to stop the vehicle in an appropriate manner or time. This also maybe the case if your vehicle had failed a Virginia safety inspection. The Virginia State Police oversee Virginia safety inspections to make sure that the vehicles on the road are safe to drive. When vehicle owners do not have their brakes inspected and then they are involved in an accident or otherwise and the brakes are pointed out to the law enforcement as improper, you may receive this charge.
The elements of this offense are different from the elements of the offense of reckless driving by speed, they are both class 1 misdemeanors, but the elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt are different.
Some of the important pretrial steps are the investigation of the accident, review of your vehicle’s history—which will include service history, repair history, and potentially pictures of your vehicle—review of your Virginia safety inspection, and potentially an expert opinion of a mechanic about your vehicle, if it was in the same condition as it was prior to and at the time of the accident.
Just like all reckless driving offenses, this can have serious implications on a Virginia CDL. This is especially true because trucks are expected to have properly equipped brakes in order to be safe on the roadway. If you are a commercial driver and you are charged under Virginia Code Section 46.2–853, contact an experienced reckless driving attorney right away.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law