Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel

published by Andrew Flusche on July 3, 2013

asleep behind the wheel

As I’ve written about many times, Virginia reckless driving has many variations. One situation that occurs somewhat frequently is when you fall asleep at the wheel and have an accident. In those situations, most likely you’ll be facing a reckless driving charge.

Typically your statements at the scene will be the most harmful evidence in the case. Most people will admit that they fell asleep. And that statement usually triggers the reckless driving ticket.

The law in Virginia says that any person is guilty of reckless driving if you drive in a way that recklessly disregards the life, limb, or property of another. That’s under Virginia Code 46.2-852. The very next statute, 46.2.853, says that you’re guilty of reckless driving if you drive a vehicle which is not under proper control. Because of these two statutes, if someone falls asleep at the wheel, the courts here are inclined to say that’s reckless driving.

But that doesn’t mean that you’re automatically guilty.

In Virginia, as in all states, you are presumed innocent, and you have a right to a trial in your case. The Commonwealth will need to present evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of reckless driving. If you fell asleep behind the wheel, there’s usually more to the story that we need to find out about. You don’t have to keep your vehicle under absolute control at all times, so there may arguments to make in your defense.

Every case and every situation is different no matter what the facts of your case are. That is why it is important to contact a local, experienced traffic attorney who practices in the county or city in which you were charge.

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