Reckless Driving Bath Virginia Lawyer Emergency Lights Disregard Safety
John Peter v. Commonwealth
Defendant was in his police vehicle with emergency lights on when he pulled out across a double yellow line from behind a tractor-trailer into the path of an oncoming vehicle, which swerved to avoid him. Defendant appealed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Bath County (Virginia), which convicted him of reckless driving in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-852. The trial court held that Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-920 did not protect defendant, a police officer, from criminal prosecution for conduct constituting reckless disregard for the safety of persons and property. The trial court refused to apply a “reasonable officer” standard.
- Whether the trial court properly convicted for reckless driving?
The court found that the legislature balanced the need for prompt, effective action by law enforcement officers and other emergency vehicle operators with the safety of the motoring public and gave some leniency to the drivers of police, fire, and ambulance vehicles in emergency situations. The court held that because passing on a double yellow line was not an exempted behavior, defendant was subject to criminal prosecution in the same manner as any other citizen. The court further held that there was no heightened standard of care if no exemption applied and that for criminal prosecutions; officers were held to the same standard of care as “ordinary” persons
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Article written by A Sris
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