Virginia Beach Aggressive Driving Charges

In Virginia, aggressive driving is a criminal charge which involves the conviction of any one or more of 12 different traffic offenses which are committed while either being a hazard to another person or committed with the intention to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct someone else. Driving behavior that can qualify include driving too closely, failing to give way and improperly passing another vehicle. If you are accused it is important you consult with a Virginia Beach traffic lawyer, as consequences for aggressive driving offenses are serious and warrant legal attention.

A Virginia Beach aggressive driving lawyer can look at the facts of your case and advise you on how to proceed and minimize the harm of your charge.

Elements of Aggressive Driving in Virginia

In Virginia Beach there are two elements which need to be met before aggressive driving can be charged. The first element is that a driver needs to violate one or more of a number of offenses listed in code section 46.2 – 858.1.

The second element of aggressive driving is that the driver not only has to commit the offense but he has to do so in a way that it is hazardous to another person or with the intention to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person.

Aggressive driving is typically charged when someone is driving in such a manner that usually amounts to what people commonly call road rage.

Penalties For Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is a Class 2 Misdemeanor which means that it is punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and by up to 6 months in jail. If the officer can prove that the aggressive driving was also done with the intention to cause somebody else an injury then it is possible to elevate the charge to a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is then punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.

Is Aggressive Driving a Common Offense in Virginia?

To pull someone over for aggressive driving, officers will typically be looking for the type of behavior that could be a hazard to anyone else on the road. This could be a whole variety of different things that is pretty subjective. It can include:

  • Tail riding
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Weaving in and out of traffic

Aggressive driving is not a very commonly charged offense. If someone can be charged with aggressive driving an officer will often just issue a reckless driving ticket instead. Reckless driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor whereas aggressive driving is a Class 2 Misdemeanor which means that reckless driving is actually a more serious offense warranting contact with a Virginia Beach aggressive driving lawyer.

Can An Aggressive Driving Charge Look Like a Speeding Ticket?

The way that aggressive driving is issued in Virginia Beach is almost identical to a speeding ticket. An officer will pull someone over and give them a ticket the same way they would if they had just been speeding. So it can look very much like a speeding ticket and also since speeding is the predicate offense for aggressive driving, someone can believe that because they were speeding they are getting a speeding ticket without realizing that not only were they speeding but also that the officer believes they were a hazard to other drivers on the road which elevated it to aggressive driving.

Do Commonwealth Attorneys Prosecute Aggressive Driving Cases in Virginia?

No, in the Hampton Road area of Virginia at least, the officers who handle the summons are the ones who handle the aggressive driving cases not the prosecutors.

What Should I Expect From An Aggressive Driving Case in Virginia?

In Virginia you can expect an aggressive driving case to be treated very seriously by the courts. It is going to be handled by the judge much in the same way that a reckless driving case will be handled. You can expect that the officer who issued the summons will testify and explain why he felt that you were being a hazard and then you can next give him the opportunity to try to refute it by cross-examining him and poking holes in his testimony. You can also expect that judges won’t be very sympathetic as this is a very serious charge that can cause injuries to other people so judges don’t tend to be very lenient in cases like that.

How Can a Virginia Aggressive Lawyer Help?

A Virginia aggressive driving lawyer can help you come up with a defense to counteract the effects of having this charge. Sometimes an officer can mistakenly believe that someone was doing something with different intentions than they actually were so a good Virginia aggressive driving lawyer can help explain the behavior and the manner of driving and possibly convince the judge with this alternative to reduce the charge or have it dismissed completely especially if the drivers were good to begin with and they don’t have any history of any type of aggressive crimes.