Reckless Driving – General, Extreme Driving and/or Accidents
If you are reading this, you or a loved one were probably charged with Reckless Driving. In other articles, I have outlined charges arising from Speeding (e.g. 20+ over the limit.) This article is about “Reckless General.” This version of Reckless Driving is what most people perceive as “Reckless.” Basically, driving like a maniac. And if you are charged with this type of Reckless, you will most likely want to consult a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia. Here is the actual code section:
- 46.2-852. Reckless driving; general rule.
Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.
But this cannot really be understood without also understanding the famous case of Commonwealth v. Powers. In this case, the police came the scene of an accident after it occurred. Thus, they did not actually witness how the driver was driving. All they were able to ascertain from the crash scene was that the “… accused’s car traveled in an erratic course for more than 900 feet and struck a tree with such force that the motor was wrenched from it and defendant was thrown clear of car and injured.” Because of the severity of the wreck, the Police wrote up the charge of Reckless – General. But the Court, after appeals, did not convict. The Court stated, that the term “Reckless” in the Code “… imparts a disregard by the driver of a motor vehicle for the consequences of his act and an indifference to the safety of life, limb or property.” In other words, the Court held that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was driving in a manner that showed “… disregard for the consequences or indifference to life, limb or property. Or, in regular people talk, “driving like a maniac who does not care who gets hurt or what gets damaged.
If your case involved just driving, then your Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia attorney would probably quote to the Judge a portion of this Powers case, “Reckless imparts a disregard by the driver of a motor vehicle for the consequences of his act and an indifference to the safety of life, limb or property.” Your attorney would point out that they need to show that your actual driving behavior was extreme.
If your case involved an accident, then your experienced attorney would first point the other most quoted portion of the Commonwealth v. Powers case — the “Mere happening of an accident does not give rise to an inference of reckless driving.” What this means is that just because an accident occurred, does not mean that the Prosecutor can automatically prove Reckless Driving. The Prosecutor MUST still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driving was done in a manner that was so over the top that the driver showed disregard for the consequences of his act or was totally indifferent to the safety of life, limb or property. Obviously, this is a high bar to meet. That is why Prosecutors often lose Reckless Driving General charges to an experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia. For more information contact the office of Dave Albo today.