Reckless driving is known to be a criminal offense which is in most cases punished as a misdemeanor. Criminal misdemeanors are usually punished by imprisonment in the local prison for more than one year. This can also lead to the defendant paying hefty fines, going on a long-term conviction, restitution to the victims of the crash along with serving time in community service. Security consequences of receiving a reckless driving conviction might include the driver’s license suspension along with increased insurance rates.
State statutes normally use terms for instance “reckless,” “recklessly,” “reckless manner,” or “reckless disregard” when they describe reckless driving. Even though these terms are not preside, yet the courts have constantly found out that they are satisfactorily definite in order to define the offense which is an important requirement for a criminal statute, made mandatory by the due process clause of the Constitution, which is that the meaning should be clear along with being definite enough to be understood by the normal person.
What is Reckless Driving?
Laws which define reckless driving might often use one or a combination of the subsequent phrases, in order to aptly describe the various types of driving which have been prohibited:
- Driving “recklessly,” “in a reckless manner,” with “reckless disregard” and the like.
- Driving that is “willful” or shows “wanton disregard [for the safety of persons or property]”
- Driving “at an immoderate rate of speed or in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner”
- Driving in a “careless manner,” or “carelessly and heedlessly”
- Driving “without due caution” or “without due caution and circumspection”
- Driving “with disregard for the safety of others”
- Driving in a manner constituting a “material deviation” from the standards of care that a reasonable person would observe under the circumstances, and
- Driving such that the driver “negligently fail[s] to maintain reasonable and proper control of the vehicle” (however, mere negligence, without a willful disregard for the consequences, is not sufficient to establish recklessness).
In some states across USA including Virginia, similar terms along with the phrases have not passed the prerequisite that they offer drivers adequate notice of the prohibited conduct. Such as, laws which prohibit driving in a way which “endangered,” or was “endangering” [to the well-being of another]; or driving which was not “careful and prudent” or completed in a “prudent manner” has not passed the Constitutional muster and they are too ambiguous and unspecified, and furthermore they cannot also support the prosecution.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Courts in Virginia have found perpetrators guilty of reckless driving to any or some of the succeeding behaviors when the trial proved them:
- Not having the correct vehicle lights
- Driving dangerously over the posted speed limit
- Failure to provide the correct hand and/or electronic signals, and/or to keep a lookout (for instance while text messaging, talking on the cell phone, or tweaking the electronic music controls)
- Passing the red light or the stop signs, endangering the lives of those around you
- Failing to yield a right of way