In Virginia, the consequences of road racing and reckless driving charges are severe. Being convicted of this offense can affect your work, your future, and your ability to move freely around your community. Fortunately, it is possible to fight reckless driving charges with the help of an experienced attorney. As a law firm of choice among Virginia drivers, Driving Defense Law has helped countless individuals with reducing or dismissing their road racing charges. To learn more about how we can help, consider calling or texting us at (757) 929-0335 today.
What Are the Virginia Reckless Driving Laws for Road Racing?
Road racing is one of the most serious forms of reckless driving in Virginia. This offense is detailed in Virginia Code § 46.2-865, which states that any person who engages in a race between two or more vehicles on the highway or the driveway of a public location can be charged with reckless driving. The law also accounts for aiding and abetting road racing, which is also a cause for a reckless driving charge in Virginia.
Reckless Driving in Virginia
Road racing is among the over fifteen offenses that can result in a reckless driving charge. Some of the other common ways that a person can be found guilty of reckless driving in Virginia include:
- Excessive speed of over 20 miles per hour above the speed limit or 85 miles per hour on any roadway, regardless of the posted speed limit.
- Driving too fast for road conditions.
- Passing at a railroad crossing, passing two vehicles abreast, and passing on a curve or at the crest of a grade.
- Failing to give a proper signal.
- Driving a vehicle that is not properly maintained.
- Failing to stop for a stopped school bus.
Some of these offenses may seem innocent, but being found guilty of reckless driving for any of the aforementioned reasons can have serious, life-altering consequences.
What Are the Penalties for Road Racing and Reckless Driving Charges in Virginia?
In Virginia, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, meaning the penalties for road racing are much more severe than the penalties for a minor traffic infraction. If you are found guilty of road racing and reckless driving charges in Virginia, your conviction may include the following penalties:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- $2,500 in fines
- A criminal record
- Six demerit points on your license
According to the Virginia Code § 46.2-865, individuals found guilty of road racing will have their license suspended for up to two years. This means that if you are convicted of road racing you must surrender your license to the court, leaving you unable to drive during the period of suspension. Moreover, a conviction of reckless driving will appear on your criminal record, which may hinder your ability to secure employment, housing, and college admission moving forward.
The penalties for road racing are elevated if you cause injury or death to another person. Virginia Code § 46.2-865.1 states that any person who causes serious bodily injury to another person will be found guilty of a Class 6 felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail and fines of $2,500. Causing death to another person, on the other hand, is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
How Does Law Enforcement Prove that You Were Racing?
Law enforcement may use a variety of tactics to prove that you were racing. In the majority of situations, a police officer will attempt to have you admit wrongdoing. They may ask questions about why you were road racing, anticipating that you will incriminate yourself. Admitting to a police officer that you were engaging in a road race can be an important piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case. For this reason, never admit wrongdoing to a police officer who has pulled you over.
In a prior case, Derek Justice Doggett v. Commonwealth, 66 Va. App. 219, the Virginia courts set forth an important standard used in road racing cases. The courts explained that a driver’s conduct can be used to infer that they were road racing. Several different facts were found to be important in connecting a driver’s behavior to road racing.
For example, because the drivers were stopped next to each other at a stoplight, gestured to “go forward,” were traveling at excessive speeds, and maneuvered their cars to pass or attempt to pass each other across a double-yellow line on the road, their conduct constituted road racing under the law. This information was enough to find the drivers guilty of road racing and reckless driving charges.
Is It Possible to Defend Against Road Racing Charges?
By crafting a tailored defense plan, it is entirely possible to challenge road racing charges. The first step to defending against road racing charges is finding effective legal representation to handle your case. Misdemeanor charges require a person to attend court hearings and, in some situations, defend their case in trial. Doing this without the assistance of an experienced attorney who understands the laws of Virginia and who has successfully navigated similar matters can be an uphill battle.
At Driving Defense Law, what sets us apart from other law firms is that we create a personalized plan for every client that we work with. We do not use a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, we review the facts of your case, your prior driving history, and all available evidence to build the strongest case possible to have your road racing and reckless driving charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Some of the defense strategies that we may use in your case include:
- Asserting that the prosecution’s evidence is weak and circumstantial.
- Providing compelling evidence that indicates that you were not road racing.
- Demonstrating a prior history of safe driving, evidenced by your driving record.
- Negotiating a plea deal in exchange for completing driver’s safety school and/or community service.
- Arguing that your conduct should be charged as careless/improper driving rather than reckless driving.
Contact an Experienced Attorney at Driving Defense Law Today
Road racing and reckless driving charges can have a serious impact on your life, your freedom, and your ability to earn an income. If you are found guilty of this criminal offense, you may not be able to drive for up to two years and experience difficulties finding a job or leasing an apartment. With such high stakes, it is important to take every precaution to defend your rights and reduce your charges.
At Driving Defense Law, we work closely with Virginia drivers who were charged with reckless driving, building the strongest defense possible to minimize the consequences of their charges. To connect with our team, consider contacting us at (757) 929-0335 or booking a free consultation with us today.