If you are like most Virginia drivers, you learned road rules and driving skills in a drivers’ education class. However, over time, as driving becomes automatic, personal habits may take the place of traffic laws. As you forget some of the finer points of traffic laws, you could face misdemeanor traffic charges resulting from unlawful driving habits.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, aggressive driving applies to unsafe driving behavior performed with disregard for safety and purposefully ill intent.
Aggressive driving vs. road rage
Although the terms aggressive driving and road rage are often used interchangeably, they encompass different behaviors. Aggressive driving involves one or multiple traffic offenses. The result typically endangers people nearby, such as cyclists, pedestrians and the occupants of vehicles. One of these behaviors may incite road rage in another driver as a specific incident generally provokes an angry response. You may be an aggressive driver if you have one or more of the following habits:
- Passing illegally on the left
- Racing through a yellow light
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Speeding excessively
- Weaving in and out of traffic
Aggressive driving in Virginia
An aggressive driving charge may look like a regular speeding ticket. Officers write one when any of 12 traffic offenses result in being a hazard to another person or obstructs, intimidates, or harasses that person. This class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. If charges include the intent to injure another person, it becomes a class one misdemeanor with steeper fines and longer jail times.
A strong defense can successfully challenge the charges, which can be subjective.