You May Be Charged With DUI and Reckless Driving, but That Doesn't Mean You Will Be Convicted of Both Offenses

police-officer-writing-ticket-woman-in-carGetting charged with a DUI or DWI (driving under the influence) means you were legally intoxicated. A reckless driving charge, on the other hand, relates to your actual driving behavior. In some instances, you might not be charged with both offenses. But, in other instances, they are treated as separate charges. Rely on experienced lawyer James E. Short to explain this complex matter if you face one or both charges. 

Dismissing the Lesser Included Offense 

Just because you were arrested for DUI in Virginia or reckless driving does not mean that you will be convicted of either or both offenses. The police officer at the scene applies the law as they understand it. But, with the help of a skilled lawyer, you may be able to challenge these charges or even dismiss the lesser included offense. 

Virginia DUI Laws

Code of Virginia § 18.2-266 describes driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. It states that it is unlawful to drive a car with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Even if your BAC is below 0.08, an officer may still charge you with a DUI if they believe your driving is severely impaired. 

Reckless Driving in Virginia

Virginia's general reckless driving statute is Code of Virginia § 46.2-852. It states that someone is guilty of reckless driving if they drive "in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person." This is "irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law." 

An Important Provision

Code of Virginia § 19.2-294.1 states that if you are charged with both a DUI under § 18.2-266 and reckless driving under § 46.2-852, "the court shall dismiss the remaining charge." In other words, you may not be convicted for both crimes at the same time. 

List of Virginia Law Sections for Reckless Driving

It's crucial to understand that the provision in § 19.2-294.1 only applies to the general reckless driving statute, which is usually a misdemeanor. There are other Virginia statutes for other types of reckless driving. If you are charged with any of the following behaviors, you may be charged for a DUI at the same time if you have a BAC of 0.08 or higher: 

  • § 46.2-853 Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes
  • § 46.2-854 Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve
  • § 46.2-855 Driving with driver's view obstructed or control impaired
  • § 46.2-856 Passing two vehicles abreast
  • § 46.2-857 Driving two abreast in a single lane
  • § 46.2-858 Passing at a railroad grade crossing
  • § 46.2-859 Passing a stopped school bus
  • § 46.2-860 Failing to give proper signals
  • § 46.2-861 Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions
  • § 46.2-862 Exceeding the speed limit
  • § 46.2-863 Failure to yield right-of-way
  • § 46.2-864 Reckless driving on parking lots, etc.
  • § 46.2-865 Racing

A common example is if the police officer pulls you over for one of the reckless driving violations above. Maybe they saw you driving with a completely frosted-over windshield. This may fall under § 46.2-855 for "driving with driver's view obstructed." While speaking with you, they smell alcohol on your breath and administer a field sobriety test. Based on the results, they also charge you with a DUI. 

Gain Clarity With an Experienced Virginia DUI Lawyer

Navigating multiple charges can be very complicated. It's vital to contact an experienced attorney to explore your legal options. With the help of James E. Short, you may be able to reduce your reckless driving charge. A solid defense strategy backed by evidence can make all the difference. 

Whether you are facing one or both charges, a Virginia DUI defense attorney is an invaluable asset. We can challenge the prosecutor's evidence and ensure your legal rights are properly protected. Get James Short in your corner today.