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Can I be charged with reckless driving for having too much stuff in my car?

overloaded car and reckless drivingIf you haven't cleaned out your car in a while, you might want to add this chore to your to-do list. If your clutter obstructs your view, you could be charged with reckless driving.

Virginia's Reckless Driving Law

Virginia law requires you to have a clear view of the front, back, and side windows of your vehicle.  If you are transporting objects or have passengers who are blocking your view, you can legally be charged with reckless driving. It does not matter if you have an "overloaded" bumper sticker or your caution lights are on.

You must also be able to easily access the driving mechanisms of the vehicle. This means any objects in your car that affect your ability to steer, shift, brake, or signal can result in a reckless driving ticket.

How Officer Discretion Affects the Charge

This type of reckless driving case often relies heavily on officer discretion. It's not automatically illegal to have multiple passengers or to be transporting bulky objects in your car. It's left up to the officer to determine if your vehicle is overloaded or your view is obstructed in a way that poses a threat to public safety.

Possible Defenses

If you're charged with this type of reckless driving, you will most likely need to present evidence affirming that your view was clear or that you were still able safely operate your vehicle. Relying on your past record as a safe driver would be one way to show that you have good judgement and are committed to being responsible on the road.

Since reckless driving is a criminal offense, a conviction carries hefty fines, the possibility of jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record. Don't simply pay your ticket and hope for the best. An experienced attorney can help you build an aggressive defense or develop a strategy to reduce the charge to a lesser offense such as improper driving. To learn more about your options, call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review with Virginia reckless driving attorney T. Kevin Wilson.

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