A charge of aggressive driving in violation of Va. Code §46.2-868.1 is a charge similar to reckless driving.  It enumerates certain underlying offenses and adds the element that these offenses either create a hazard to another person or be committed with the intent to “harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person.”  Aggressive driving is not an infraction; it is a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor.

Va. Code §46.2-868.1 reads:

A. A person is guilty of aggressive driving if (i) the person violates one or more of the following: § 46.2-802 (Drive on right side of highways), § 46.2-804 (Failure to observe lanes marked for traffic), § 46.2-816 (Following too closely), § 46.2-821 (Vehicles before entering certain highways shall stop or yield right-of-way), § 46.2-833.1 (Evasion of traffic control devices), § 46.2-838 (Passing too closely when overtaking a vehicle), § 46.2-841 (Unlawfully overtaking vehicle on right), § 46.2-842 (Failure to give way to overtaking vehicle), § 46.2-842.1 (Failure to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on divided highway), § 46.2-843 (Limitations on overtaking and passing), any provision of Article 8 (§ 46.2-870 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 46.2 (Speed), or § 46.2-888 (Stopping on highways); and (ii) that person is a hazard to another person or commits an offense in clause (i) with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person.
B. Aggressive driving shall be punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, aggressive driving with the intent to injure another person shall be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition to the penalties described in this subsection, the court may require successful completion of an aggressive driving program.

What does the prosecutor have to prove?

The Commonwealth must prove that the driver:

  1. committed one of the offenses listed in the statute (above); AND
  2. is a hazard to another person OR that the driver commits the offense with the intent to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person.

Penalties

Violating the aggressive driving law is a Class 2 misdemeanor, subjecting a person to up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1000, a potential driver’s license suspension, and 4 demerit points with the DMV.  If the offense is committed with the intent to injure another person, it becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor penalized with up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2500, a potential driver’s license suspension, and 4 demerit points with the DMV.  In either event, the driver could be expected to complete an aggressive driving program if convicted.

Collateral Consequences

Beyond the immediate penalties associated with a conviction for aggressive driving, other collateral consequences are also at play. Insurance premiums are likely to increase.  Your education or employment opportunities may be hindered: if you are subject to a background check for employment, security clearance, or immigration, a Reckless Driving conviction could affect your future.

If you find yourself charged with reckless driving in Virginia, contact an experienced Virginia Aggressive Driving attorney. An initial consultation with a TATE BYWATER attorney is complimentary.  We’ll discuss your case and work with you to obtain the best possible outcome.  We’re here to help!