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Virginia Reckless Driving Laws

In the commonwealth of Virginia there are a number of ways to be charged with reckless driving. The general rule is that an individual who (1) drives a vehicle (2) on any highway (3) recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner (4) that endangers others’ health and property is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-852. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, please visit this page or contact a reckless driving attorney.

Different Types of Reckless Driving

Nonetheless, there are number of different laws that specify circumstances under which an individual can be charged with reckless driving. The different sections are outlined below.

An individual exceeding reasonable speed under the circumstances (i.e., weather) and traffic conditions is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-861.

An individual (1) driving vehicle (2) on a highway (3)(a) 20 mph or more over the speed limit, or (b) over 80 mph (regardless of the speed limit) is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-862.

An individual is guilty of reckless driving when endangering the health and/or property of anyone by driving in a dangerous manner (1) on any church, school, recreational facility, business, or government property driveways or parking lots or (2) in structures used as parking areas or (3) on highways. Section 46.2-864.

An individual passing another vehicle on or at the crest of a hill where driver’s view is obstructed (except when overtaking vehicle is on a highway with at least two lanes going both ways OR on a one-way roadway) is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-854.

An individual driving a vehicle (1) so loaded or with so many passengers that (2) the driver’s view is obstructed on the front or the sides or that it interferes with the driver’s control over the vehicle, is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-855.

Any driver who fails to (1) give adequate or proper signals of (2) his or her intention to turn, partly turn, slow down, or stop is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-860.

A driver who races on a highway or on private or public property without the property owner’s authorization is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-865. In addition to reckless driving penalties, this violation has the mandatory penalty of a suspended license for six months to two years. Section 46.2-865.

A driver who passes or attempts to pass two other vehicles abreast and moving in the same direction is guilty of reckless driving, unless the driver is operating a bike or motorcycle or the driver is on a one-way roadway or a highway with at least three lanes going in each direction. Section 46.2-856.

A driver is guilty of reckless driving when the driver is one of two vehicles driving abreast in a lane designed for only one vehicle (does not apply to motorcycles). Section 46.2-857.

A driver who passes a vehicle at a railroad crossing or highway intersection is guilty of reckless driving unless the highway has at least two lanes. Section 46.2-858.

A driver who passes a stopped school bus on the driver’s side of the road is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-859.

An individual driving a vehicle without adequately adjusted brakes or who does not have proper control of the vehicle is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-853.

A driver who passes or overtakes an emergency vehicle while the emergency vehicle has its lights and/or siren on is guilty of reckless driving. Section 46.2-829.

Penalties

If an individual is guilty of reckless driving, then the driver is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 46.2-868(A). In such a case, the individual faces up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

If an individual is guilty of reckless driving while driving without a valid license (suspended or revoked) and the individual caused the death of another person because of driving recklessly, then the individual is guilty of a Class 6 felony – involuntary manslaughter. Section 46.2-868(B). In such a case, the individual faces a felony conviction with one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of the court or a jury trying the case, lesser penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(f).

If an individual is guilty of reckless driving and the driver was using a handheld device (see Section 46.2-1078.1) when the offense occurred, then the individual faces a mandatory minimum $250 fine in addition to the penalty of the Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 46.2-868(C).

All individuals who are convicted of reckless driving will receive six points on their driver’s license that will remain for 11 years, as can be seen on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website.