Reckless Driving By Unsafe Vehicle

When most people think of reckless driving, they think of behaviors like speeding or unsafe passing.  In Virginia, however, there is another category of reckless driving: reckless driving by unsafe vehicle.  When the condition of a motorist’s vehicle is considered to be a threat to road safety, the driver could actually face criminal charges.

Whether or not a vehicle is unsafe can be a subjective matter, and defendants charged with the crime of reckless driving due to vehicle condition should get legal help fighting the charges. A Virginia reckless driving lawyer can provide assistance with defending yourself or negotiating a plea deal so you do not end up with a misdemeanor conviction simply because police believe there was a problem with your car based on the results of your driving behavior.

What is Reckless Driving By Unsafe Vehicle?

The general rule under Virginia Code Section 46.2-852  is that reckless driving involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that causes danger to life or limb or that puts property at risk.  Code Section 46.2-853 makes clear that one definition of reckless driving includes driving “a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes.”

A prosecutor must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, since reckless driving is a criminal offense that could carry penalties including a suspension of your license, jail time, and fines.  This means a prosecutor must show that the brakes were “inadequate” or “improperly adjusted.”  It can be difficult for a prosecutor to do this because there must be evidence available about the conditions of your brakes at the time when the vehicle was being operated.

Police must have probable cause to pull your vehicle over and to conduct any type of search of your vehicle.  Even when police do conduct a search, they are not mechanics and it can be difficult to determine whether your brakes were properly adjusted.

Often, reckless driving by unsafe vehicle charges follow an accident when an investigation of the crash turned up brake problems or vehicle control problems.  Even in these situations, it is possible to try to introduce reasonable doubt about whether the condition of your vehicle parts was so unsafe as to make driving your vehicle a misdemeanor crime.

An experienced attorney who has handled cases of reckless driving by unsafe vehicle can help you to put together a compelling argument about why you should not be found guilty of being reckless as a result of driving your car in its current condition.

Getting Help With a Charge of Reckless Driving by Unsafe Vehicle

Fighting charges is one option you have when accused of reckless driving by unsafe vehicle. It is also possible to try to explore a plea agreement, or to try to get a reduced sentence. Showing that you have repaired any vehicle defects may help you to avoid jail time or convince a prosecutor to reduce charges.

An experienced Virginia reckless driving lawyer will provide you with assistance and advice as you respond to charges to try to help you keep your license and avoid other serious consequences that can result from being convicted of driving a car considered unfit for the road.