Sometimes emergencies happen. Perhaps your vehicle ran out of gas, you fell asleep at the wheel, were involved in an accident, or your vehicle broke down unexpectedly. Some of these instances are not your fault and the law protects you. In other instances, the law places a burden on you to ensure the highway remains safe for travel.
Vehicle Improperly Stopped on a Highway
Except in a case of a sudden emergency, an accident, or a mechanical breakdown, §46.2-888 of the Virginia Code makes it illegal to stop a vehicle in a manner that either impedes or renders dangerous the use of the highway by others as a result of a stopped vehicle. In Fairfax County, traffic is very heavy and a vehicle improperly stopped on the highway can cause a large disturbance for others. To ensure safety of the highways, it has even been held that running out of gas resulting in a vehicle stopped in the road will violate this code section because the driver either knew or should have know they are low on fuel.
In Fairfax County, we have also seen cases where people are charged for Stopping on a Highway when they did not pull all the way over during a traffic stop. The police officer initiated their emergency equipment and client went to pull over to address the violation. However, they did not pull over all the way out of traffic and the officer cites them with Improperly Stopping their Vehicle on a Highway (along with whatever the violation was). Usually, we can get this charge dismissed or reduced simply because the client is under the duress of the officer's presence and is not paying attention at that point to where their vehicle is parked.
In other cases we have seen, an individual will be out late drinking alcohol and falls asleep at the wheel at a red light. Following a DUI investigation, the individual will be charged with Stopping on a Highway which was the basis for the stop by the police officer.
Stopping on Highways and DMV
Improperly Stopping on a Highway is a 3 point offense and will result in a loss of 3 points on your driving record. It will remain on your driving record for 3 years. It is considered a moving violation and may affect insurance rates depending on the insurance company the individual's prior driving record.
What we can do to help
Most instances of driving (or stopping) have an explanation. Some explanations may bar a finding of guilt while others work in mitigation of the offense. In most cases, we can work towards either a reduction to a no-point offense (which won't affect insurance or DMV points) or dismissal of the charge. Feel free to reach out to us and we'll give you a free consultation to help you decide whether to have a lawyer for your Stopping on a Highway case in Fairfax County.