Can I be charged with reckless driving if my brakes failed?

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are approximately 16 different offenses that are considered reckless driving. One of these is driving with faulty brakes. If you’re charged with reckless driving due to problems with your brakes, you need the help of an experienced reckless driving attorney. He may be able to raise a strong defense that results in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Reckless driving and brake failure

Virginia’s Law on Faulty Brakes and Reckless Driving

Under Virginia Code § 46.2-853, it is considered reckless driving to drive a vehicle which is not under control or has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes on a highway in Virginia. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if convicted, you would have a permanent criminal record. Penalties include the following:

  • $2,500 fine
  • Jail sentence of up to one year
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months

Possible Defenses for a Reckless Driving Charge Involving Faulty Brakes

You will need the help of an experienced reckless driving attorney to identify the defenses you can use against a reckless driving charge for inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes. Defenses that may help include:

  • No knowledge of defect. Problems with brakes are often apparent to the driver, and a warning sign such as a squeaky or grinding noise usually gives notice of an issue. However, if you genuinely did not realize your brakes were inadequate or improperly adjusted, this may be a defense. This defense could be a strong one if you recently had maintenance done on your vehicle and no problems with the brakes were discovered. Similarly, if your vehicle recently passed a state inspection, this could substantiate your defense that you had no knowledge of your inadequate brakes.
  • Parts defects. Although not a common defense, you may be able to raise the history of defective brakes in your vehicle’s make and model as an argument. In order for this to work, you would need to show that you had no prior knowledge of the defective brake parts.
  • Private property. You must have been driving on a highway, which is a public road in Virginia. If you were charged while driving in a parking lot or on a private road, this could be raised as a defense that may result in the charges being dismissed.

Depending on the facts of your case, there may be additional defenses to the reckless charges you face. To learn more about how we can help you raise a strong defense, call our office to schedule your appointment today.