What is Aggressive Driving in Richmond, VA?
Aggressive driving in Richmond, Virginia is driving in such a nature that it is a hazard to another person with the intent to harass, intimidate or injure that individual. Although it is not commonly charged, it can carry serious consequences if convicted. For this reason, if you have been accused of aggressive driving, it is likely in your best interest to consult with a Richmond traffic attorney today.
What Are The Elements of Aggressive Driving in Richmond, Virginia?
With aggressive driving, the commonwealth must able to prove that an infraction occurred such as failure to yield, improper passing, overtaking someone, or improper stopping, and that infraction incurred with the intent on the part of the driver to intimidate or harass, or even cause injury, to another party.
Typically aggressive driving is charged as a result of an argument between 2 drivers usually around rush hour. If there is a high volume of traffic it usually starts with a minor infraction such as following too close, overtaking another vehicle, cutting them off, or purposely stopping in front of someone that either causes an accident or causes someone to be in fear. At that point what the officers look to is the intent of the parties was anything said and threats issued.
What Level of Offense is Aggressive Driving?
Standard aggressive driving is treated as a Class 2 misdemeanor in the state of Virginia with up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine, in addition to a suspension of license. If it can be shown that there was intent to injure another party or if another party was in fact injured then it becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor with the possibility of 12 months in jail, a $ 2500 fine, and up to 6 months loss of license.
However, aggressive driving is not commonly charged in Richmond, Virginia and officers will typically look to simply charge it as reckless driving which is actually a Class 1 misdemeanor which is more serious.
The reason it is not more commonly charged is because the intent element is very hard to prove. In other words it is really the actions. They have to show that you actually intended to hurt someone rather than just getting in an accident. I think what officers typically found is that it is much easier to simply charge someone with reckless driving.
Do Commonwealth Attorneys Prosecute Aggressive Driving Cases in Richmond, Virginia?
If the commonwealth attorneys can show that there was in fact intent to harm someone or to intimidate through action, words, etc. they will prosecute it very severely. There could be jail sentences if they can prove the intent, which makes it much more important to have an attorney’s assistance.
Typically what you can expect is that the officers will testify as to what they observed. They will call witnesses whether it be the other driver involved in the incident or other drivers to testify as to the actions and especially with reckless driving as to any verbal threats or motions that were made by the defendant. Then the prosecutor will typically ask for a jail sentence. Then the officers and the witnesses will line up and try to prove the case of intimidation.
How Can a Richmond, Virginia Aggressive Driving Lawyer Help?
In Richmond, Virginia an attorney can help with aggressive driving cases by number one showing that there was no intent involved. Also that another party was at fault for the incident or accident. The key with an aggressive driving case is that you have to show that there was intent to intimidate, harass or harm the other individual.
An attorney can also cross examine the other witnesses to show discrepancies in their testimony and provide mitigating factors such as if there was an emergency that caused the initial infraction. Attorneys can also try and plea bargain the case, if necessary, down to a lower offense such as improper driving or other offenses of that nature.