Can I Be Charged with Both DUI and Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Can I Be Charged with Both DUI and Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Virginia law enforcement officers frequently charge motorists with both DUI under Virginia Code §18.2-266 and reckless driving under Virginia Code §46.2-852. On its face, there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with this charging scheme; in theory the person would have been operating a vehicle recklessly while under the influence of alcohol or some other substance. The problem with this approach is that Virginia Code §19.2-294.1 provides that whenever a person is convicted of either DUI under §18.2-266 or reckless driving under §46.2-852, the court "shall dismiss" the remaining charge so long as it is "growing out of the same act or acts".

Many attorneys are not aware of this provision, and therefore fail to use it to their advantage. It is important to understand that this provision is limited to reckless driving under §46.2-252, which is commonly referred to as "general reckless", but there several other reckless driving statutes under which a motorist may be simultaneously convicted of DUI. For example, a person can be simultaneously convicted of DUI and reckless driving under Virginia Code §46.2-862, which prohibits driving a motor vehicle 20 miles or more over the speed limit or in excess of 80 miles per hour.

However, where a motorist has been simultaneously charged under the general reckless statute and with DUI, an experienced criminal attorney can use Virginia Code §19.2-294.1 to their advantage. This is one of the few occasions where a criminal defense attorney should be trying to secure a conviction for their client for reckless driving, because the effect would be to bar a conviction for DUI, which is generally a far more serious charge. The manner in which this objective can be accomplished will vary upon the specific facts of your case. You simply need to hire the right attorney to take advantage of this unusual statutory provision.

If you or someone you love is facing a DUI charge, contact our office right away. We know the nuances of the Virginia DUI code, which features some of the most complex statutory construction in Virginia. Do not risk your future to an attorney who merely dabbles in DUI litigation, contact an aggressive and experienced attorney who is dedicated solely to the practice of criminal defense. Call our office right away!

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