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Can I be arrested for reckless driving in a parking lot?

Contrary to popular belief, you don't necessarily need to be driving on a public roadway to be charged with reckless driving. You can be charged with reckless driving for demonstrating unsafe behavior while on the premises of any establishment providing parking spaces for customers, patrons, or employees.

Understanding Virginia Code §46.2-864

Virginia Code §46.2-864 specifically states that parking lot reckless driving charges must be based on behavior that is endangering the life, limb, or property of any person. This is a departure from other sections for the Virginia Code, which only require that you commit a specific violation such as passing a stopped school bus or driving two abreast in a single lane.

Examples of some behaviors that might receive a reckless driving charge in a parking lot include:

  • Speeding
  • Doing donuts
  • Drifting
  • Spinning tires
  • Racing

You don't necessarily have to cause an accident to be charged with this form of reckless driving. Officers are given significant discretion when it comes to issuing citations, which means they can charge you if they believe you placed others at risk. You can be ticketed in the parking lot of any business, church, school, nonprofit organization, or government office.

Defending Against the Charge

Submitting testimony of witnesses or security video from the parking lot might corroborate your version of the events. Unfortunately, however, this type of case often comes down to your word against the officer’s. This means you may need to employ strategies such as providing a copy of your driving record, attending a driver improvement clinic, or completing community service to demonstrate remorse for your actions.

Since reckless driving is a criminal charge and not a simple traffic violation, a conviction can mean hefty fines, the possibility of jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record. Protect yourself by hiring an experienced attorney who can advise you on the best way to reduce or drop the charge. To learn more, call to schedule a free initial consultation with Virginia reckless driving attorney T. Kevin Wilson.

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