Traffic Stop Prince William Virginia Lawyer Speed Drive
James v. Commonwealth
Defendant was indicted by a Prince William County grand jury for reckless driving and for the felony failure to stop and provide certain information in violation of Code § 46.2-894. At a bench trial, the circuit court convicted the defendant of reckless driving and fixed his punishment at six months in jail. The circuit court convicted and fixed his punishment at two years imprisonment, which was suspended, and a fine of $ 1,000. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. Appellant appealed.
- Whether the driver of a vehicle was involved in an accident within the intendment of Code § 46.2-894, a penal statute?
The court rejecting the court of appeals’ broad definition of “involved,” this court held that to be “involved” in an accident within the meaning of § 46.2-894, there had to be physical contact between appellant’s vehicle and another vehicle, person, or object, or appellant must have been the proximate cause of the accident. Applying this definition to appellant’s circumstances, the Supreme Court held that he was not involved in the accident within the meaning of § 46.2-894. His vehicle did not have any physical contact with the other driver’s vehicle. He was not a cause of the accident; rather, he reduced his speed, and ultimately allowed the other driver to enter into his lane. A law enforcement officer, who testified as an accident reconstruction expert, stated that the other driver had ample opportunity to slow down after merging into appellant’s lane before she lost control of her car, left the road, and collided into two different trees. She apparently did not slow down, however, and the accident resulted in her death and that of her four-year-old child. Hence the court of appeals’ judgment was reversed, and appellant’s conviction for violating § 46.2-894 was dismissed.
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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.