Prince William Reckless Driving By Accident Charges

Reckless driving by accident typically refers to a case in which someone has been in an accident of some kind and then has been charged under one of the reckless driving statutes that are available under Virginia law. There is no statute entitled “reckless driving by accident” in the Virginia code, but there are at least two kinds of reckless driving that are often charged under these circumstances that each warrant contact from a Prince William County reckless driving lawyer.

The first one is general reckless driving, which is a scenario in which a person drives his or her vehicle on a highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger life, limb or property of another person, regardless of the maximum speed.

Another type is recklessly failing to maintain control, which involves driving a vehicle that is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes. Most police departments in Virginia if they encounter an accident and find one of the drivers to be at fault will charge some form of reckless driving.

Severity of Reckless By Accident Charges

There is no “less severe” form of reckless driving, whether a person is charged under the general reckless statute, reckless failure to maintain control, or even reckless by speeding. All of them carry the identical set of potential penalties: up to a year in jail and six months’ loss of license. All of them look the same on an individual’s criminal record and remain there permanently after a conviction in Virginia.

How is Reckless By Accident Different From Reckless By Speed?

The difference between reckless driving by accident and reckless driving by speed in court has to do with what the government has to prove in each case. In a reckless speed case, the government merely needs to prove the speed of the vehicle in the case. In a reckless by accident case, it is somewhat more complicated; the government has to prove not just that an accident occurred with a bad outcome, but that the person was doing something or driving in some way that resulted in that accident.

Unless the government has a witness to the driving just prior to the accident, it will be very difficult for them to prove exactly what led up to the accident or what caused the accident. In these kinds of cases, the statements that an individual makes to police may be the only evidence there is.

Evidence in Reckless By Accident Cases

The evidence in a reckless accident case will involve everything that is observed by the police as well as by other witnesses from the time leading up to the accident to the accident itself. The evidence will also include statements made by the accused after the accident. Furthermore, the case may become more complicated if it involves accident reconstruction, photographs and/or testimonies from multiple witnesses at the trial. All of this evidence can help the judge determine whether reckless activity contributed to or caused the accident.

Reasons to Hire An Attorney

You want to have an attorney for a reckless accident case because, regardless of whether you are truly at fault or not, you are being accused of a criminal offense. That can potentially land you in jail or cause you to lose your driving privileges for up to six months.

Impact on Commercial Drivers

Every kind of reckless driving conviction can affect a commercial driver’s license. A reckless accident charge, whether it’s charged under the general reckless statute or the failure to maintain control statute, can result in the loss of a commercial driver’s license on either a permanent or temporary basis.

One important consideration for a CDL holder is his or her driving record prior to the accident. If you have a CDL, you probably want to review that record with an attorney before court. That way, you can take appropriate steps to limit the impact to your CDL.