Reckless Driving Loudoun Virginia Lawyer Speeding Separate

Reckless Driving Loudoun Virginia Lawyer Speeding Separate

Chang v. Commonwealth
Facts:

Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County (Virginia) of DUI in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-266. He had previously pled guilty to speeding in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-870. Both charges arose from the same course of driving. He asserted that the DUI conviction was barred by Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294.1 because the speeding conviction constituted a conviction for reckless driving.

Reckless Driving Loudoun Virginia Lawyer Speeding Separate

Reckless Driving Loudoun Virginia Lawyer

Issue:
  • Whether reckless driving and speeding were separate and distinct offenses?
Discussion:

Defendant contended that the lower court was required to dismiss the DUI charge because he had already pled guilty and been convicted of an offense that was by statute deemed reckless driving. The court disagreed and held that reckless driving and speeding were separate and distinct offenses. If the legislature had intended to foreclose a person from being convicted for both DUI and another offense that might also constitute reckless driving, as argued by defendant, it would have expressed that intent in the language of Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294.1. Under the express provisions of § 19.2-294.1 only a conviction for reckless driving barred a prosecution for DUI. A conviction for speeding, even if premised on an underlying act that may have warranted a conviction for reckless driving, did not implicate the bar of the statute. Defendant was charged and convicted for speeding under a town ordinance incorporating Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-870. He was not convicted of reckless driving. Although the Commonwealth could have prosecuted defendant for reckless driving for that offense, it chose instead to prosecute him for the offense of speeding. The judgment convicting defendant of DUI was affirmed.

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Article written by A Sris

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Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.