Virginia makes it a reckless driving offense for failing to yield the right of way. Most of the time that we see this type of reckless driving charge it is because an accident occurred. Specifically, Virginia Code § 46.2-863 states:
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who fails to bring his vehicle to a stop immediately before entering a highway from a side road when there is traffic approaching on such highway within 500 feet of such point of entrance, unless (i) a “Yield Right-of-Way” sign is posted or (ii) where such sign is posted, fails, upon entering such highway, to yield the right-of-way to the driver of a vehicle approaching on such highway from either direction.
It is interesting to note that law enforcement could have charged the same event as a traffic infraction under Virginia Code § 46.2-821 or § 46.2-826 to help someone avoid a misdemeanor charge. However, some officers may choose to charge the offense as a misdemeanor based on the severity of an accident or conduct alleged.
If you failed to yield the right of way and were charged under the reckless driving code section, some police officers may be willing to amend the charge to a traffic infraction to help a driver avoid a criminal conviction under the reckless driving code section. In the alternative, a judge may entertain showing mercy and convicting a driver of a traffic infraction instead.
Virginia Code § 46.2-821 states:
The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection on a highway controlled by a stop sign shall, immediately before entering such intersection, stop at a clearly marked stop line, or, in the absence of a stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, in the absence of a marked crosswalk, stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. Before proceeding, he shall yield the right-of-way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.
Where a “Yield Right-of-Way” sign is posted, the driver of a vehicle approaching or entering such intersection shall slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions, yield the right-of-way to the driver of another vehicle approaching or entering such intersection from another direction, and, if required for safety, shall stop at a clearly marked stop or yield line, or, in the absence of a stop or yield line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway, and shall yield the right-of-way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.
Virginia Code § 46.2-826 states:
The driver of a vehicle entering a public highway or sidewalk from a private road, driveway, alley, or building shall stop immediately before entering such highway or sidewalk and yield the right-of-way to vehicles approaching on such public highway and to pedestrians or vehicles approaching on such public sidewalk.
The provisions of this section shall not apply at an intersection of public and private roads controlled by a traffic control device. At any such intersection, all movement of traffic into and through the intersection shall be controlled by the traffic control device.
If you have been charged with Reckless Driving in one of the courts in the Hampton Roads area, it may be a good idea to contact a Virginia Traffic attorney here at our office today to discuss your case in further detail, since the facts and circumstances of every case are unique. If you would like a free consultation on a reckless driving case, please reach out to us today.