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What is a highway?

An Empty HighwayThe Virginia reckless driving speeding statute provides, in part, that, “A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth…” If you were speeding, but you were not on a highway, then the Commonwealth of Virginia may not have a case against you.

Highway May Not Mean What You Think it Means

We all have an idea of what a highway is in our heads. To many of us, the term highway means a major road often with entrance and exit ramps and without frequent stop signs, intersections, or traffic lights.

However, that is not what the term means when it is used in the reckless driving statute. According to 46.2-100 of the Virginia Code “"Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel in the Commonwealth, including the streets and alleys, and, for law-enforcement purposes, (i) the entire width between the boundary lines of all private roads or private streets that have been specifically designated "highways" by an ordinance adopted by the governing body of the county, city, or town in which such private roads or streets are located and (ii) the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place used for purposes of vehicular travel on any property owned, leased, or controlled by the United States government and located in the Commonwealth.”

The Definition of Highway Can Be Important to Your Defense

While most public roads are highways, there may be situations when you are accused of reckless driving, and you were not on a highway. This could happen, for example, if you are accused of reckless driving in a privately-owned parking lot.

An experienced reckless driving defense lawyer will look closely at every aspect of your case and identify all of the potential defenses. This includes whether your alleged reckless driving technically took place on a highway or private property. To learn more about all of your possible defenses after a reckless driving arrest, please contact our the Wilson Law Firm today for a free and confidential consultation.


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