One of the main types of reckless driving in Virginia is for failing to maintain control of your vehicle under the Virginia code, 46.2-853. In that statute, you’re guilty of reckless driving if you drive a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has improperly adjusted breaks.
What does that mean?
This is kind of a catchall statute that is used in a lot of accident cases. If you are the unlucky person who is involved in an accident, typically there’s a report issued by the officer and he is going to write you some type of ticket. In a lot of cases, especially if nothing else fits, it will be a reckless driving ticket under 46.2-853 for failure to maintain control of your vehicle.
One of the main reasons we see this is when it’s a single-vehicle accident. If one vehicle simply goes off the road, due to nothing caused by the driver, the officer has almost no other choice but to write a reckless driving ticket. So, in a single-vehicle accident case, you may very well have a charge of reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor.
But, what will happen in court?
Virginia law says that the Commonwealth has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually did something that was reckless. They can’t just say your vehicle did go off the road and therefore you’re guilty. The judge should make the Commonwealth prove that you did something reckless.
It is important to note though, that in some cases a simple statement of “I lost control of my vehicle and tried to regain control to get it back on the road and I couldn’t” could be enough for you to be found guilty of reckless driving for failing maintain control of your vehicle.
Virginia law also says that if the responsibility is minimal, the judge, instead of finding you guilty of reckless driving, can find you guilty of only improper driving. Then you have a traffic infraction instead of a misdemeanor.
As you can see, if you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia without impeding the law, you still have a serious charge on your hands and you should absolutely talk with me to find out what may happen in your case and what options you have.
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