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Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes (46.2-853)

You may have been in an accident and received the charge of Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes. Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes is a version of Reckless Driving in Virginia. Improper Control or Driving with Faulty Brakes is therefore considered to be a criminal charge. The officer may have just written improper control or faulty brakes without any note that it is a criminal offense.

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 shall 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 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.

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.

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.

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