Fauquier County Aggressive Driving Charges

In Virginia, aggressive driving is a criminal misdemeanor. There are 12 different traffic offenses which amount to aggressive driving if they are committed by the driver while either being a hazard to another person or with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person. Some driving behaviors that qualify include failing to give way, improper driving and passing or driving too closely. If you are accused it is important you consult with a Fauquier County aggressive driving lawyer to ensure that you put forth the strongest defense possible. Call today.

Elements of Aggressive Driving

The elements of aggressive driving in Virginia are first that they have to violate one of the 12 offenses which are listed in Virginia Code Section 46.2 – 858.1. The second element is that the driver has to be a hazard to another person or has to commit one of the offenses with the intention of harassing, intimidating, injuring or obstructing another person. All of these offenses listed in the statute are first something that the driver needs to do and then the driver has to have the intention of behaving in a particular way while committing that offense. It is  two steps.

Relationship Between Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Speeding is one of the predicate offenses of aggressive driving, so it is possible that someone may accidentally believe that they were issued only a speeding ticket because they know they were speeding. To escalate the charge to aggressive driving, the driver had to be speeding in a manner that caused them to be a hazard to others drivers on the road or in a manner that was intimidating or harassing other drivers on the road. Also, physically the document issued looks like a speeding ticket because it is issued the same way that a speeding ticket is issued. The officer pulls them over and gives them the ticket to sign on the side of the road and then they are free to leave until the court date.

Level of Offense

In Virginia aggressive driving is considered to be a Class 2 Misdemeanor. This means that it is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. If the aggressive driving is proven to have been done with the intention to cause someone else injury, then it can escalate to a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. The court can also require the driver to complete an Aggressive Driving Program or Anger Management Course for this.

When Aggressive Driving is Charged

When pulling someone over for aggressive driving officers are looking for behaviors by drivers on the road that can be a hazard for other drivers. This could be any number of behaviors such as unsafe lane changes, excessive speeding, cutting off other drivers, running red lights or stop signs, or weaving.