I am a published author on the topics of DUI and Reckless Driving defense in Virginia. My work and research has been adopted by courts around the Commonwealth of Virginia when faced with an individual faced with both offenses. A person cannot be convicted of both Reckless Driving-General and DUI, because such a double conviction is barred by Virginia Code 19.2-294.1.
I recently had a case which involved my client being charged with a felony 3rd offense DUI, and a misdemeanor Reckless Driving-General under Virginia Code 46.2-852. The DUI carried a mandatory jail sentence, and would have been my client’s first felony conviction. By understanding the Code of Virginia, and the technicalities of the applicable defenses, I was able to beat the felony charge and my client was found not guilty of DUI.
The key to any defense of a DUI based on a Reckless Driving conviction is to show that the two charges stem from the “same act or acts.” The Supreme Court of Virginia and the Court of Appeals of Virginia have both addressed the issue. The Supreme Court, in 1980, defined “same act or acts” to mean “a continuous, uninterrupted course of operation of a motor vehicle, without regard to the crossing of the boundary line between two localities.” Thus, the fact that the Defendant in that case led police on a high-speed chase through two counties did not impact his defense to a DUI in one county after conviction of Reckless Driving in the other County. The Court of Appeals, in 1994, addressed the issue once again. In that case, the Defendant had wrecked into a guardrail on the interstate and continued travelling. While the State Police was investigating that accident, the Defendant collided with another vehicle on surface streets. The local police responded to that second accident. Both law enforcement agencies issued citations for the separate incidences. Because the two accidents were intimately related in time and distance” the Court of Appeals held that the DUI conviction was barred by the previous Reckless Driving conviction.
If you are charged with offenses like these, you need an attorney with experience in these types of cases.