In Virginia, racing is covered by VA Code Section 46.2-865: Any person who engages in a race between two or more motor vehicles on the highways in the Commonwealth or on any driveway or premises of a church, school, recreational facility, or business property open to the public in the Commonwealth shall be guilty of reckless driving, unless authorized by the owner of the property or his agent.
The Penalties in Virginia for Misdemeanor Racing
In Virginia, “drag racing” or “racing” is considered a class one misdemeanor reckless driving charge. The law states: When any person is convicted of reckless driving under this section, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, the driver’s license of such person shall be suspended by the court for a period of not less than six months nor more than two years.
In addition, you could be sentenced to jail time, have to pay court fees and will receive six demerit points which will remain on your record for 11 years.
When Drag Racing Is a Felony
The above outlines the penalties associated with a misdemeanor charge. However, there are times with racing charges are considered a felony. If anyone is hurt or killed during the course of the drag race, Class 6 felony charges may be applied. If convicted, the driver could be sent to prison for one to five years, though the sentence could be less if the judge or jury decides the sentence should be lighter.
If someone is killed during an accident where drag racing was a factor, the sentence is between one to 20 years; with a one year mandatory minimum jail time.
A felony conviction for drag racing in Virginia also means a mandatory driver’s license suspension of between one and three years. On top of this, the car used for the race can be taken by police and sold.
What You Should Do If You’ve Been Accused of Drag Racing in Virginia
It is important to note that in Virginia, drag racing is defined as having a pre-defined start point and pre-defined end point. So technically, two cars speeding next to one another, whether it’s a test of speed or not, is not considered drag racing in Virginia. These cases often rely on witness testimony, as the arresting officer usually won’t have heard the drivers having a discussion before they took off. Because of this it’s very important that you hire a lawyer who’s experienced in reckless driving cases. Call 888-386-3898 right now.