You’re on the road at night, its deserted and you and your buddies want to race. No one is around to see you, what’s the worse that can happen? In Virginia, racing is considered reckless driving and is one of the most serious of the reckless driving statutes. Racing is one of the most serious reckless driving statutes because the consequences are different than those under the traditional reckless driving statutes. For example, in a basic reckless driving case, the judge may suspend your license for up to six months. However, if you are found guilty of reckless driving by racing, the just shall, meaning the judge must, take your license for six months and may suspend it for up to two years. The consequences associated with a conviction for reckless driving by racing are significantly more consequential than a normal reckless driving by speed. Losing your license for up to two years will most likely affect your day-to-day life. The Virginia Code Section for reckless driving by speeding is 46.2-865, and states:
Any person who engages in a race between two or more motor vehicles on the highways in the Commonwealth or on any driveway or premises of a church, school, recreational facility, or business property open to the public in the Commonwealth shall be guilty of reckless driving, unless authorized by the owner of the property or his agent. When any person is convicted of reckless driving under this section, in addition to any other penalties provided by the law the driver’s license of such person shall be suspended by the court for a period of not less than six months nor more than two years. In case of conviction the court shall order the surrender of the license to the court where it shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of 46.2-398.
Even if you are not the person driving but determined to be an aider or an abettor in the race then you are also at risk of facing criminal charges. Virginia also makes it a criminal offense to aid or abet in a race. If you are found to be an aider or abettor in a race you can be found guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor as well. Virginia code section states:
46.2-866 – Racing; aiders or abettors – any person, although not engaged in a race as defined in 46.2-865, who aids or abets any such race, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
But what if you’re not on the road but in a parking lot. Reckless driving by racing includes most parking lots as well. Reckless driving by racing 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.