You just found a sweet deal for a piece of furniture you’ve been wanting for your house or apartment. Someone on Craigslist had exactly what you wanted at a price that’s right in line with your budget. You go to pick it up, eyeball it, and you think you can get it into your car, but it’s going to be a tight fit. You manage to squeeze it in, but you have to fasten a bungee to your hatchback to keep it closed on the road.
You get into the driver’s seat and adjust your mirrors — you can just see over the top of your new acquisition. You think you’ll be good driving home. After all, it’s only a few miles on the highway. You take off, but you don’t make it far before a police officer is behind you flashing the lights on his car and signaling for you to pull over. The next thing you know, you’re getting handed a slip of paper that says you’re being charged with reckless driving.
Virginia Code § 46.2-855 says that a person shall be guilty of reckless driving for driving with a vehicle that is so overloaded as to obstruct the driver’s view to the front or sides of the vehicle, or to interfere with the driver’s control of the vehicle. The statute also makes it reckless driving to drive with so many people in the front seat as to obstruct the driver’s view or ability to control the vehicle.
Reckless Driving Is a Crime in Virginia
Unlike other sorts of moving violations, you can’t just pay a reckless driving ticket in Virginia. Reckless driving actually is a serious criminal misdemeanor charge that can result in up to a year of jail time, a maximum $2,500 fine, a possible driver’s license suspension, and six demerit points on your license that stay there for 11 years.
Other possible consequences of conviction include increased car insurance rates, and a permanent criminal record that could be a stumbling block when you apply for a job, a security clearance, or an apartment.
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving for having an overloaded vehicle, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help. A reckless driving defense lawyer can review the facts of your case, explain all of your options, and help you make an informed decision about how to proceed so that you get the best possible outcome.