Reckless Driving on Parking Lots in Fairfax County
In the traffic code, one of the main defenses has always been whether or not the offense occurred on a highway. Accordingly, a parking lot is not a highway and is a viable defense for many reckless driving charges. However, under § 46.2-864 of the Virginia Code, it is reckless driving to drive in a manner so as to endanger life, limb, or property in a parking lot. The code includes a driveway, premises of a church, school, recreational facility, or business or governmental property that is open to the public. Many accident cases that occur in a parking lot are charged as reckless driving in Fairfax County. However, this does not mean you are guilty of reckless driving.
Defenses to Reckless Driving on a Parking Lot
The Commonwealth must show that you operated a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger life, limb, or property. As indicated above, many of these charges are a result of an accident in a parking lot. If there were no witnesses or other statements made by the person, then "the mere happening of an accident is not reckless driving" as set forth in Virginia case law. Because any number of things could have happened (such as a vehicle mechanical failure not the driver's fault), the person did not intend to drive recklessly.
In other instances, there are witnesses to the driving behavior. Perhaps you were moving at a high-rate of speed and hit a pothole that knocked your vehicle into a light pole. Another example is accidentally hitting a parked car or a car that was backing out of it's parking space of which you did not see. In either event, it can be argued that your driving was not reckless but was a result of inattention or was another individual's fault not caused by your driving behavior.
A charge of reckless driving in a parking lot in Fairfax County can be tried before the Judge for a dismissal of the charge or negotiated with the prosecutor towards a reduction of the charge. If the charge is reduced by the prosecutor or the Judge, that reduced charge will be what will appear on your driving record (unless it is a non-moving violation under a county code - it will depend on the facts as to whether this is an appropriate resolution).
Have a Lawyer for your Reckless Driving on a Parking Lot Case
Reckless Driving in a parking lot is not a simple traffic ticket. While you may be released on a simple summons, it is a misdemeanor and can have a profound impact on your driving record, insurance rates, and a criminal record. Going to court by yourself is not recommended because it will be you against a police officer. When the Judge hears the police officer's story, that story will play a big part in the Judge's decision notwithstanding what you say. It is not a fair fight for you to appear in court by yourself and we can help you even out the playing field. We handle reckless driving cases almost daily and we can help you too. Because a reckless driving charge on a parking lot in Fairfax County is treated the same way as any other reckless driving charge it is important it be treated that way.