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Racing as Reckless Driving in Fairfax County

Racing is Reckless Driving in Fairfax County

Driving is fun, isn't it?  We can roll down the windows on a nice day, feel the breeze, play music, and just have a relaxing drive.  We can also go fast, really fast.  Have you ever watched a movie in a movie theater, such as the Fast and the Furious series, and then walked to your car afterwards and noticed something strange?  We have and have seen people racing around parking lots emulating what they just saw in theaters.  This can be fun and is also very dangerous.  There is a Virginia Statute called "Racing" and is reckless driving if convicted.  In Fairfax County, Racing is one of the most serious forms of reckless driving..

Under § 46.2-865, it is reckless driving to be caught racing (more than just speeding by yourself).  It requires two or more vehicles either on a highway, driveway, or other premises that is open to the public (unless authorized by the property owner or their agent).  Racing is Reckless Driving in Fairfax County and the consequences are a bit different and more severe than other types of reckless driving offenses.

Penalties for Racing

Because racing is reckless driving, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  Along with the standard $2500 fine and 12 month potential jail sentence, there is a minimum six-month loss of privilege to drive in Virginia.  In fact, unlike other reckless driving cases, there is a potential two-year loss of privilege to drive in Virginia for racing.  Racing is different from other reckless driving charges because the license loss is much more severe and Judges are more likely incarcerate.

Defenses to Racing in Fairfax County

The Commonwealth must establish that a person is racing under this code section.  As a result, if two people are seemingly going very fast and the officer catches one of them, racing can be established if the person admits to it.  However, if no statements are made to that effect, then there is only a suspicion that they were racing.  As a result, they may be charged but a charge does not mean guilt.

In addition, the Commonwealth must prove it was either on a highway or another premises of which the owner did not consent or authorize the race.  Accordingly, racing in a parking lot may not fall under this section if the owner of it authorized the race.

Racing as a Felony in Fairfax County

In addition to simply racing, racing in Fairfax County can be a felony if the person is both guilty of racing and causes serious bodily injury to another person who is not part of the race.  It is a Class 6 Felony to race causing a serious bodily injury.  However, it should be noted that § 46.2-865.1 requires the additional component of also driving in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.  This is different and more difficult to prove than simply endangering life, limb, or property as a typical reckless driving charge requires. 

Additionally, if a person dies during a race, there is a mandatory minimum of one year in prison and up to twenty years to serve.  There is an additional penalty of a loss of privilege to drive in Virginia of one to three years.  This provision does not require the decedent to be someone other than one involved in a race.  As a result, it could be one of the racing parties that dies in the race.  However, as indicated above, the standard of proof requires more than a simple reckless driving charge does.

Get a Lawyer for your Racing Charge in Fairfax County

As we have noted in many parts of our website, we do not recommend you go to court by yourself.  It's not a fair fight against a police officer in court and Judges give a lot of credence to an officer's testimony.  Even if you've been given a simple summons to appear (i.e. not formally arrested and taken before a magistrate), it does not mean the charge is a minor one.  In some types of charges, you may be able to represent yourself and get a decent outcome but, quite simply, racing is not one of them.  We recommend you give us a call and we'll thoroughly discuss the case with you and the potential outcomes.  Remember, just because you are charged does not mean you are guilty.

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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