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Failure to Maintain Control in Fairfax County

There are two types of charges called Failure to Maintain Control you can be charged with in Fairfax County:  The Virginia Reckless Driving Statute and the Fairfax County Code.  It is important to know the differences between the two types of charges.  If you are unsure which you are charged with then contacting a lawyer would be a good idea so you don't appear in court unknowingly facing a misdemeanor charge without representation. 

Many Fairfax County Officers and Virginia State Troopers will simply write "failure to maintain control" or "improper brakes" on the summons which can be vague.  Summonses are a charging document that are not required to articulate the basis for the charge.  But the summons will indicate the State or County code section.   Be sure to figure out if you are charged with failure to maintain control as reckless driving because this is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Failure to Maintain Control as Reckless Driving in Fairfax County

Failure to Maintain Control under Virginia Code §46.2-853 is reckless driving in Virginia and is prosecuted in Fairfax County.  As with other reckless driving charges, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and must be taken seriously because the maximum penalty is 12 months in jail, 6-month loss of privilege to drive, and $2500 fine. While Judges rarely incarcerate for this charge they routinely find people guilty.  This is unfortunate because many charges of Failure to Maintain Control or Improper Brakes can be avoided via reduction of the charge or avoided entirely.  

When you check your summons consider it a "red flag" if you see "Failure to Maintain Control" or "Improper Brakes" or "op improper brakes."  This reckless driving statute is charged in many cases where an accident is involved.  Failure to Maintain Control charges arise when there is evidence of speeding, aggressive lane changes, or some vehicular defect.  For example, if it is bad weather out (such as raining or foggy) and there is evidence of speeding or faulty equipment, a Fairfax County officer may charge Failure to Maintain Control as reckless driving thinking that the person failed maintain control of their vehicle by not taking the weather conditions into account. 

Virginia Code §46.2-853 is a very broad statute.  Specifically, the law says that “A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes on any highway in the Commonwealth.”  The statute does not define “proper control” so a lot of Judges and Police infer reckless driving because if the vehicle was under proper control the incident would not have happened.  However, it should be noted that the law does not impose the duty upon a driver to keep their vehicle under complete control at all times.  Rather, there must have been some knowledge or reason to know there was a defect with the vehicle prior to driving it.  In addition, there must be some evidence of driving behavior beyond “there was an accident.”  This is why any statements made by the person to the police is of particular importance.  Without a lot of evidence Failure to Maintain Control Reckless Driving Charges in Fairfax County are ripe for reduction to a lesser or charge or dismissal all together.

Vehicle to be Kept Under Proper Control as an Infraction in Fairfax County

Failure to Maintain Proper Control under 82-4-25 is a Fairfax County Ordinance.  If you receive this ticket it is a no-point non-moving violation in Virginia.  It is considered a non-reportable offense which means the charge itself doesn't go on the DMV driving record.  This code section is used in a lot of cases where there was a minor accident.  It is a prepayable offense and prepayment can be appropriate in many cases.  However, if responsibility is disputed and insurance is involved, then it should be tried before a Judge and not prepaid.  This is because insurance companies can use prepayment or a guilty plea as a factor in determining fault.  But if a person enters a not guilty plea, even if the Judge finds them guilty, the insurance companies have to use an independent basis for determining fault.

Hire a Lawyer for your Failure to Maintain Control Reckless Driving Charge

If you are facing a reckless driving charge for failure to maintain control or faulty or improper brakes it is strongly recommended you hire a traffic lawyer.  This is a misdemeanor charge and it will be a misdemeanor conviction on your record if convicted.  A lawyer can help you negotiate a lesser offense that is not a misdemeanor or contest the charge and have a trial.  In either event, we have handled hundreds of reckless driving charges and would be happy to help you. 

The truth about your case

We will not “sugar coat.” We will tell you exactly what you are facing and will give you the best and worst case scenarios. We are not here to scare you or to pull the wool over your eyes. We find many people calling us for a simple case where they have spoken to other lawyers and are now afraid. However, after speaking with those people and getting the facts, many times there is nothing to fear. We will tell you how things look and we will tell you the truth because we want happy clients. That’s you!

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