Noorishad Law, P.C. represents clients in matters involving serious traffic offenses, including:
The offense of reckless driving may be charged under any one of several statutory provisions. Those provisions describe separate prohibited acts and each act constitutes the charge of reckless driving. Any driver who is charged and convicted under one of these statutes will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction for reckless driving carries the possibility of license suspension to a maximum of six months.
Virginia Code § 46.2-852 provides that reckless driving is committed by a 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” regardless of the posted speed limit. The Supreme Court of Virginia has defined “reckless,” as used in the statute, as “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.” The burden is on the Commonwealth to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver operated the vehicle in a reckless manner. Factors to be considered in determining whether the driver was "reckless" includes: the time of the accident, the manner of driving, the road conditions, the weather, any traffic controls, and other circumstances.
"Reckless Driving" can be supported by any of the following underlying offenses:
- Improper control or faulty brakes: On a Virginia highway, a driver who operates a vehicle that is not under proper control or has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes.
- Passing when view is obstructed: A driver who overtakes and passes another vehicle proceeding in the same direction without first having a clear view because both cars are approaching the crest of a grade or a curve in the highway.
- Car overloaded: When a car is so overloaded or when there are so many passengers in the front seat that the driver’s view to the front or sides is obstructed or crowding interferes with the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle.
- Passing two vehicles abreast: When a driver passes or attempts to pass “two other vehicles abreast” that are traveling in the same direction, except on highways having separate roadways of three or more lanes for each direction of travel, or on designated one-way streets or highways.
- Passing at an intersection or railroad grade crossing: With several exceptions contained in the statute, a driver who overtakes or passes another vehicle proceeding in the same direction at any intersection of highways or at any railroad grade crossing may be guilty of reckless driving.
- Passing a stopped school bus: A driver who fails to stop when approaching a school bus that is taking on or discharging passengers and to remain stopped until all persons are clear of the road and the bus has started to move again may be guilty of reckless driving.
- Failing to give proper signals: A driver may be guilty of reckless driving for failure to give an “adequate and timely” signal of an intention to turn, slow down, or stop. Signals are required any time that the operation of another vehicle may be affected by the driver’s action. The basic requirement is that the driver must first see that the contemplated movement can be made safely and give a signal that is plainly visible to other drivers indicating the change in direction or speed.
- Driving too fast for traffic conditions: It is also reckless driving to exceed a speed that is reasonable given the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time regardless of the posted speed limit
- Exceeding speed limit: Traveling at a speed of at least 20 miles per hour over any applicable limit is a reckless driving violation. Further, regardless of the speed limit, driving at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour will always be a reckless driving violation.
- Racing: It is illegal for anyone to race on any road, church, school, recreational facility, or business property open to the public unless authorized by the owner. It is also illegal to aid or abet a race. In addition to the reckless driving penalties, a court must suspend the racing offender’s driver’s license for at least six months but not more than two years.
- Not yielding to stationary emergency vehicles: When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its flashing lights displayed, all drivers must proceed with caution and, if possible, yield the right of way by moving out of the lane next to the stopped emergency vehicle.
Aggressive driving is an offense that is comprised of one or more predicate offenses committed in combination with one of several additional elements. The charge involves the commission of any one of twelve enumerated traffic offenses combined with either (i) being a hazard to another person or (ii) intending to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.
The predicate offenses are: (1) failure to leave adequate room when passing a vehicle; (2) improper passing on right side; (3) failure to permit overtaking vehicle to pass; (4) failure to permit overtaking vehicle to pass in left lane; (5) improper overtaking and passing; (6) failure to keep to the right side of the road; (7) failure to observe rules for lanes marked for traffic; (8) following too closely; (9) speeding; (10) stopping on a highway; (11) evasion of traffic control devices; and (12) failure to yield right-of-way before entering a road.
Violations of the aggressive driving statute are punishable as Class 2 misdemeanors. However, if the offender intended to injure another, the offense rises to a Class 1 misdemeanor. Regardless of the class of the violation, courts can order violators to complete an aggressive driving class in addition to other sanctions imposed by law.
Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer
A driver who fails to stop his or her vehicle after receiving a police officer’s visible or audible signal to do so and who also drives in “a willful and wanton disregard of such signal” or attempts to escape is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. If the driver’s operation of the vehicle also interferes with or endangers the police vehicle or any person, the charge is a Class 6 felony.
Subsection (D) of section 46.2-817 provides for mandatory license suspension upon conviction of either charge. The suspension is for not less than 30 days for the misdemeanor violation unless the driver’s speed was more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit where the offense occurred. If the excess-speed factor can be proved, the minimum suspension must be at least 90 days.
No Driver's License / Driving on a Suspended Driver's License
Unlicensed driving is illegal in Virginia. There are three forms of unlicensed driving: (1) no license was ever issued or a previously issued license expired or otherwise became invalid; (2) the driver failed to carry his license while driving; or (3) the license was suspended or revoked.
If no licensed was ever issued and you are convicted for driving without a license as a first-time offender, the violation is punishable as Class 2 misdeameanor. Second or subsequent violations are punishable as Class 1 misdeameanors.
More common is the defendant who continues driving while their license to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended. In order to be found guilty of driving with a suspended license, the Commonwealth's attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) you were driving the motor vehicle; (2) the driver’s license was suspended or revoked; and (3) you knew that your license had been suspended or revoked. The third element, knowledge that your license had been suspended, is the most difficult for the Commonwealth to prove. There are statutory notices that you must be aware of that the prosecution will rely on in having the Court find you guilty for driving on a suspended license.
Driving on a suspended license is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, a third or subsequent offense results in a mandatory minimum confinement in jail for 10 days. It also requires a license suspension for as long as the license was originally suspended. If the license was indefinitely suspended, the suspension is for an additional period not to exceed 90 days.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Section 18.2-266 of the Virginia Code (the Virginia DUI/DWI Statute) contains the basic prohibition against a driver operating a vehicle while intoxicated. This section sets forth four separate ways in which a driver may be convicted of the charge, designated as subsections (i) through (iv), and specifically states as follows:
Virginia Code § 18.2-266: It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train (i) while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in this article, (ii) while such person is under the influence of alcohol, (iii) while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, (iv) while such person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, or (v) while such person has a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than: (a) 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, (b) 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood, (c) 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or (d) 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood. A charge alleging a violation of this section shall support a conviction under clauses (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v).
Defenses to a DWI/DUI Offense in Virginia
Just because you are charged with a DWI or DUI in Virginia doesn't mean you have been convicted of a DWI or DUI. There are several defenses that can be raised when charged with a DWI/DUI offense in Virginia. Such defenses include, but are not limited to:
1) Challenging the observation angle and position of the officer before the stop;
2) Challenging the reason for the initial stop of the vehicle;
3) Challenging the police officer's assumption that you are drunk prior conducting the Field Sobriety Test ("FST");
4) Challenging the Field Sobriety Test results and the clues observed by the officer;
5) Challenging the way the tests were conducted;
6) Challenging the place in which the tests were conducted;
7) Challenging the breath machine’s records and calibrations; and
8) Challenging the presumptions of intoxication as offered under the Code of Virginia
What if I am charged with a Serious Traffic Offense?
If you or someone you know in the Northern Virginia Area has been charged with a serious traffic offense and needs the representation or legal advice of an experienced lawyer, call Noorishad Law, P.C. today at 703-542-4500, or complete the "schedule an appointment" form to meet with Mr. Noorishad to discuss your particular case.
If one of your friends or family members is currently incarcerated and you need an attorney, please contact our office at 703-542-4500 to be directly connected with an attorney 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can immediately assist you with your matter.