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If you or a loved one have been charged with aggressive driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the stakes can be higher than for many other traffic charges. That is why it is important to face these charges well-informed and well-protected with the help of a Virginia aggressive driving lawyer. En Español.
Though aggressive driving is not as common as reckless driving, when officers do charge someone with aggressive driving, they are alleging that certain driving behavior was more dangerous than general reckless driving. As such, aggressive driving charges can have a major impact on an individual’s driving record, not to mention their overall criminal record.
This page provides a general overview of aggressive driving charges in Virginia, but if you have questions about your particular case, please contact a Virginia traffic attorney with our law firm today to learn more.
In Virginia, aggressive driving is a misdemeanor. It involves the commission of any one or more of 12 traffic offenses combined with either being a hazard to another person or intending to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct someone else. Behaviors that could be construed as aggressive driving include improper passing, driving too closely, failure to observe lanes marked for traffic, and failing to give way. Aggressive driving is a very similar charge to reckless driving.
In order for someone to be convicted of an aggressive driving charge, two elements must be proven by the prosecution. The first element of aggressive driving in Virginia is that a person is guilty if they violate one or more of the offenses listed in Virginia Code 46.2-868.1. The second element is that the person must be a hazard to another person or must commit one of the offenses with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct in another person.
An experienced Virginia aggressive driving lawyer can help to make sure that the burden of proof for these two elements is placed on the prosecution and raise reasonable doubt where possible to help strengthen your case.
Typically, officers are on the lookout for any driver who is behaving in such a way that could endanger other drivers or anyone else. These behaviors include tailgating, unsafe lane changes, excessive speeding, cutting off other drivers or running red lights and stop signs. Aggressive driving cases in Virginia are treated almost identically to reckless driving cases, which is actually a higher offense. You can expect the police officer who gave you the ticket to be the one to handle that in court.
Speeding is one of the most common underlying charges of aggressive driving. So if someone is speeding and they then become a hazard to another person, which can be a subjective analysis, then they could be charged with aggressive driving. Alternatively, an officer could state that someone was speeding particularly with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person, and any one of those qualifications could also lead to an aggressive driving charge.
An aggressive driving charge can definitely look like a speeding ticket and speeding is a predicate offense to aggressive driving, so it is possible that someone who may have thought they were simply guilty of speeding is in fact guilty of both, and therefore they would be charged with aggressive driving which encompasses speeding.
In Virginia, aggressive driving is a class 2 misdemeanor. Class 2 misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail as well as a fine of up to $1,000. If the aggressive driver was charged with the intention to injure another person, then the charge becomes a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
A Virginia aggressive driving lawyer can help you reduce or dismiss your charge by providing a strong defense in court or by challenging some of the reasons why you were issued the summons by the law enforcement officer. Oftentimes, aggressive driving can be very subjective and if possible, the attorney can sway the evidence in another direction that makes the facts more positive for you.
A smart aggressive driving attorney may be able to employ this technique and convince the judge to reduce or dismiss your charge, especially if you already have a good driving record and this is just a one-time thing. Call the Virginia aggressive driving attorneys at our firm to learn more about how we can help you handle your aggressive driving charges today.
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