Speeding Virginia Reckless Driving Traffic Ticket Lawyers Lee County
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA V. JAMES CARTER
Defendant was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants in violation of § 18.2-266 and with speeding 55 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone in violation of § 46.2-874, both of which charges grew out of the same driving activity. He prepaid the speeding charge as authorized by Rule 3B:2 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. He now claims that § 46.2-862 converted his speeding charge to a reckless driving charge. Defendant alleged that he was convicted of speeding by virtue of this payment of the fines and costs and therefore he could not be prosecuted for the driving under the influence charge because Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294.1 prevented dual convictions of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
- Whether the prepayment of fine and cost for Speeding does constitute a conviction of reckless driving which prevents dual convictions of driving under the influence?
The court held that if the Defendant is charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants and with reckless driving and he is convicted of one of those charges, then “the Court shall dismiss the remaining charge.” The purpose of this statute is to prevent the conviction of two different class one misdemeanors arising out of the same driving acts, when one of the misdemeanors is driving under the influence of intoxicants and the other is reckless driving. Simply because the facts of the case are such that the Defendant could have been charged with either reckless driving or speeding more than twenty miles per hour over the speed limit does not give him the right to elect the offense. Where the evidence supports prosecution under either of two parallel statutes, the Commonwealth has the right to elect under which statute to proceed. More over it is not possible for a Defendant to prepay the fine for a reckless driving charge as it is expressly forbidden by subsection (d) of that statute.
Accordingly, the Court finds that the prepayment of a traffic infraction which could have been charged as reckless driving does not constitute a conviction of reckless driving. The Defendant has been convicted of speeding, a traffic infraction. He has not been convicted of the misdemeanor of reckless driving. The court held that the Commonwealth could proceed against defendant with the charge of driving while under the influence of intoxicants.
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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.
Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-862 provides that a person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit of forty miles per hour or more.
One of the most frustrating things in Virginia is getting a traffic ticket in Virginia.
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