Reckless Driving Westmoreland Virginia Lawyer License
Lawrence v. Commonwealth
Appellee driver’s operator’s and chauffeur’s license was suspended by appellant, the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The Circuit Court for Westmoreland County (Virginia) reversed and annulled the Commissioner’s order, and the Commissioner appealed.
Whether the circuit court properly reversed and annulled an order of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles under authority of Va. Code § 46-420 (1950), which suspended for 30 days the driver’s operator’s and chauffeur’s licenses.
Abstracts of all previous convictions introduced in evidence show that X was tried and convicted for the various offenses alleged to have been committed in the previous years. Several witnesses, neighbors and associates of X, including a deputy sheriff of Westmoreland county, all of whom had observed his operation of automobiles over a period of years, testified without objection that in their opinion X was now a careful and competent driver. The testimony of some of these witnesses indicated that they would not have considered him a careful driver several years ago, but they said he had improved and they did consider him a careful driver as of the date of their testimony. Evidence fails to sustain the charge that appellee was habitually a reckless or negligent driver of a motor vehicle. However, satisfactory proof of a single ‘serious violation’ may warrant a suspension or revocation. Thus the ultimate question presented is whether or not a fair appraisal of the record shows that X “committed a serious violation of the motor laws of this State” or “by reckless or unlawful operation of a motor vehicle. The offense of reckless driving (speeding 75 to 80 miles per hour) committed in 1952 to which X pleaded guilty is remote in point of time, but it was a “serious violation of the motor vehicle laws.” His offense of crossing the center line of the highway and striking another vehicle, inflicting several hundred dollars damage to the two cars, was committed on June 13, 1954, and is clearly of like character. Failure to observe the stop sign, standing alone, might not be sufficient to meet the requirements of item (5) of § 46-420 and constitute a “serious violation of the motor vehicle laws”, but here what was done meets the requirements of item (1) of § 46-420, for it constitutes the “unlawful operation of a motor vehicle” which “caused or contributed to an accident resulting in serious property damage.” Proof of the latter two violations justified suspension of X’s licenses. The judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the Commissioner’s order of August 3, 1955, which suspended X’s operator’s and Y’s licenses for thirty days is re-instated and restored to full force and effect.
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Article written by A Sris
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.