Reckless driving – fail to maintain proper control – 46.2-853

In many Virginia accident cases, the Commonwealth charges at least one driver with reckless driving. The main statute used for this charge is 46.2-853.

That statute is fairly brief:

A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes on any highway in the Commonwealth.

My clients are sometimes confused by the language on their ticket, the court’s database, and what the officer tells them. It’s definitely a confusing situation.

Officers sometimes write “improper brakes” or “fail to maintain control” on the actual ticket you receive, without any mention of “reckless driving.” But as long as the summons has the proper code section listed (46.2-853), the charge is a valid reckless driving ticket.

The court database also can refer to the charge in different ways, such as “op improper brakes”, which refers to operating a vehicle with improperly adjusted brakes.

The key thing to remember is that all these charges are reckless driving. They all refer to the same code section, which is a class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum punishments are:

  • $2500 fine
  • 12 months in jail
  • 6 months loss of your license

Many minor accident cases can be reduced to a lesser offense (like improper driving) or even dismissed completely. Frankly, the officers don’t have many choices of things to charge for some accidents. That’s why you might end up with a ticket that seems extreme for the situation.

Even if your case seems minor, you should consult with an attorney due to the nature of the charge you’re facing. It’s always best to get the opinion of an expert, even if you end up going to court alone.

Don’t you want to see if your case can be beaten completely? Give me a call, and we’ll chat about it.

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