Racing Charges in Virginia
What is Racing in Virginia?
In Virginia, Racing is defined as a contest of speed between two or more motor vehicles on the highways of the Commonwealth or on any driveway or premises of any church, school, recreational facility, or business property open to the public. In order for you to be charged with racing, the Commonwealth has to prove that a “race” occurred, meaning that it has to prove that there were at least two drivers involved. A racing charge is a form of reckless driving, which is a crime that can be a misdemeanor or a felony (Va. Code §46.2-865).
Even if two cars are driving very fast, one behind another, and one car attempts to pass the other, this can be enough to prove a racing charge in the Commonwealth.
Penalties for a Misdemeanor Racing Charge
Under Va. Code §46.2-865, Racing is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This is punishable with up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2500 fine, a mandatory driver’s license suspension for any time between 6 months to 2 years, 6 DMV demerit points, and vehicle seizure and forfeiture. Additionally, an owner of a vehicle involved in a race can also have their car seized and forfeited if they were present in the vehicle engaged in the race, someone else was driving the vehicle, and they knowingly consented to the race (Va. Code §46.2-867(ii)).
If someone is convicted of four offenses of Racing, they will have their driver’s license revoked for 5 years upon being convicted of the fourth offense (Va. Code §46.2-394).
Penalties for a Felony Racing Charge
A racing charge becomes a felony in Virginia if the race results in injury or death. Any person engaged in a race who caused serious bodily injury to a person not involved in the race has committed a Class 6 felony if they behaved in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life (Va. Code §46.2-865.1).
This felony offense is punishable with up to 5 years in prison. If an offender behaved in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life and caused the death of another person, they can face 1 to 20 years in prison. Additionally, a felony racing charged is punished with suspension of a driver’s license for 1 to 3 years, 6 DMV demerit points, and seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle involved in the race.
Aiding or Abetting Racing
Va. Code §46.2-866 states that aiding or abetting a race in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2500, or both.
Other Consequences of Racing
Being charged and convicted of racing in the Commonwealth can have other consequences as well as those outlined in the law. This includes increased insurance rates, potential lost job opportunities, and hard-to-obtain security clearances. Furthermore, a conviction for a racing charge will give the driver a permanent criminal record, which cannot be expunged.
How We Can Help
The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have fought from both sides of the courtroom on all types of legal issues, including Racing. Our attorneys can analyze your case and help ensure that you have the best defense possible to avoid the numerous consequences of a conviction. Contact us today and we will begin fighting on your behalf.