S & R Law Firm
Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes (46.2-853)
It is quite common to be in an accident and receive the charge of Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes. If the officer who arrives at the scene determines that your brakes or steering system did not work well enough to help you avoid hitting the other vehicle, this could be the charge. While this sounds like a minor scenario, in Fairfax it is actually a very serious charge. This is because Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes is a version of Reckless Driving in Virginia, and is therefore considered to be a criminal charge. It is possible to leave the accident scene without being aware of this, as the officer may have just written improper control or faulty brakes without any note that it is a criminal offense. You may only learn later that you have been charged with Reckless Driving. If you find yourself in this situation, working with a Fairfax Reckless Driving lawyer at S&R Law Firm may be in your best interests. We’ll tell you more about this below.What Virginia Code Says About Improper Control
According to Virginia Code, a person shall be guilty of Reckless Driving who drives a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes on any highway in the Commonwealth.
This code section requires that a vehicle must be driven under proper control. Proper control is interpreted as a relative word meaning appropriate or suitable. Therefore, what is proper can be different in every case. Case law has stated that Reckless Driving by improper control it is not strictly defined as the act of operating the vehicle, but in the manner and circumstances of its operation. Kennedy v. Commonwealth, 1 Va. App. 469, 472. The law does not require the driver to keep complete control of their vehicle, but to keep proper control. If it is determined that you did not do this and are charged with Reckless Driving, you could be faced with up to $2500 in fines, up to 12 months in jail, and license suspension. The more serious your case, the more likely you are to receive a high fine or jail time. If there were additional complications, such as a serious accident where someone was injured, if you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you were excessively speeding at the time, the charges could be even more severe. In this case, a Reckless Driving lawyer in Fairfax could be incredibly useful in reducing the charges and penalties you face.
In another scenario, you could also be found guilty of this code section if the judge can determine that you knew there was a defect in the vehicle that could cause you to lose control of it. Therefore, if you knew that your steering wheel wasn’t working properly or the brakes on your car needed to be replaced, you could be found guilty of the criminal charge of Reckless Driving, Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes.Consequences of Reckless Driving in Fairfax
Reckless driving, Improper Control or Driving with Faulty brakes is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500.00. Additionally, Reckless Driving is a six (6) point offense on your driving record. A Reckless Driving conviction stays on your driving record for 11 years and Reckless Driving remains on a criminal record for the rest of your life and cannot be expunged. This can make it difficult to rent a home, get a job, or impede other parts of your life because of your criminal record. If you drive as part of your job, you could potentially be fired, especially if your license is suspended or if the number of points on your driving record results in serious insurance increases for your employer.
To successfully reduce a Reckless Driving charge, it is a good idea to work with a Fairfax Reckless Driving attorney. The team at S&R Law Firm has extensive experience creating strong defenses for cases such as these, and we may be able to help.
Contact us today at 703.273.6431 for a FREE consultation.