Racing is a Crime
Racing in Virginia (Va. Code §46.2-865) is a form of reckless driving, and can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Racing is a contest of speed between two or more vehicles on the highways of Virginia and the penalties are severe.
Virginia Code §46.2-865 reads:
How can the Commonwealth prove racing?
Racing is a contest of speed between two or more motor vehicles. The Commonwealth must prove that there were at least two drivers involved to classify the offense as a “race.” If an officer can testify two cars are driving very fast and one car attempts to pass the other car, this may be enough. The prosecutors rely heavily on admissions of the drivers to properly distinguish the case from one of simple speeding or reckless driving by speed.
Misdemeanor Racing Charge
Racing in Virginia under Va. Code §46.2-865 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is punished with up to 12 months in jail, a fine up to $2500, mandatory driver’s license suspension for 6 months to 2 years, and 6 DMV demerit points. An owner of a vehicle engaged in a race can also have his car seized and forfeited if he was present in the vehicle engaged in the race, another person was driving, and he knowingly consented to the race (Va. Code §46.2-867(ii)). A person’s driver’s license will be revoked for 5 years if he is convicted of a fourth racing charge offense (Va. Code §46.2-394).
Felony Racing Charge
If a race results in injury or death, the Virginia racing charge becomes a felony. Virginia Code §46.2-865.1 reads:
If the driver behaves in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable to show a reckless disregard for human life, he faces a Class 6 felony which carries up to 5 years in prison. If his disregard results in the death of another person he can be punished with 1-20 years in prison. In addition to prison, a felony racing charge is punished with driver’s license suspension for 1-3 years, 6 demerit points with the DMV, and seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle involved in the race.
Beyond the immediate penalties associated with a conviction for racing, 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 racing conviction could affect your future.
If you find yourself charged with racing in Virginia, contact an experienced Virginia 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!