What is Improper Driving in Virginia?

If you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you need to know about improper driving in VA.

It’s a statute that enables the judge to give you a break down to a traffic infraction, instead of a class 1 misdemeanor.

improper driving virginia

VA Code § 46.2-869 reads:

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, upon the trial of any person charged with reckless driving where the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless driving but guilty of improper driving.

However, an attorney for the Commonwealth may reduce a charge of reckless driving to improper driving at any time prior to the court’s decision and shall notify the court of such change. Improper driving shall be punishable as a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

Video: Understanding VA Code § 46.2-869, Virginia’s Improper Driving Statue

How Many Points is Improper Driving in Virginia?

The points are also very different. If you get convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, you’re looking at 6 points if you have a Virginia license and that conviction would stay on your driving record for 11 years.

If we can get the charge down to simply improper driving that is just 3 points off your VA driving record and it goes away in 3 years.

So as you can see it’s a very big difference from reckless driving, which is on the same criminal level as a DUI, versus improper driving which is on the same point level as very basic traffic ticket.

You can get kind of a large fine, up to $500, but the actual conviction itself is a very low level conviction.

Can I Get My Reckless Driving Charge Reduced to Improper Driving?

In some courts, if you’re charged with reckless by speed and it’s a borderline speed, that might be converted into improper driving if we can present a good driving record, perhaps driving school, a calibration, and lots of mitigating evidence; that’s many videos by themselves.

If it’s a borderline case for speed the judge might do improper driving. We can do that a lot of times in Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg cases where I practice depending on the speed you’re charged with, your record and all the facts of your case. Sometimes we can get a reckless driving by speed reduced to improper driving.

The other kinds of reckless driving that you see a lot of that might be reduced to improper driving are accident cases.

So if you have an accident where it may be pretty clear that the defendant is at fault and you really did do something wrong, the Trooper or the deputy who comes out is going to charge you with reckless driving in many cases, because that’s all they can charge, they cannot write an improper driving ticket.

But then when we get to court we present the evidence of the case. We present your driving record and explain any mitigating factors. The judge may very well reduce that accident charge down to improper driving.

That says that you’re still at fault, you did wrong, but it’s not a very serious offense. It’s more like just a traffic ticket like following too closely.

So improper driving is a very good tool that we use and a lot of cases might be able to be reduced to improper driving. It just really depends on the facts of each case and also how judges like to handle them and the prosecutors.

Improper driving is not a right or anything but it is another tool in our tool box. We can try to get your case reduced to improper driving, to save you from that reckless driving misdemeanor conviction and from all those points and fines and punishments.

So definitely keep that in mind and consult with an attorney and see if improper driving might be possible in your case, or maybe even a better result than improper driving.

[VIDEO] Reduce Reckless Driving to Improper Driving

Contact Our Virginia Traffic Defense Attorneys Today

If you are charged with improper driving, you don’t have to face it alone. Our Virginia traffic defense lawyers at Flusche & Fitzgerald are here to help you with your case.

Contact my officefor a free consultation regarding your traffic charge in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, or King George.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

What's Next?

Get Free Answers

Andrew wrote the book on reckless driving. It’s the most-reviewed Virginia reckless driving resource on Amazon.com.

Get Your Free Copy

Andrew wrote the book on DWI. It’s jam-packed full of answers for your case.

Get Your Free Copy

Our special report about driving on suspended explains six critical issues to possibly fight in your case.

Get Your Free Copy


We provide free consultations for cases in our area. If we can't help, we'll do our best to connect you with someone who can.



Contact Andrew & Fitz