UPDATE: Bill Janis has amended this bill to State : Reckless driving offenses. Provides that any person who operates a motor vehicle in violation of § 46.2-833 (running a red light) is guilty of reckless driving
This now makes sense and is Practical!
It pains me to write this as Bill Janis, Virginia Delegate from the 56th District and Republican Whip, is one of my favorite members of the General Assembly. Having said that, Janis has proposed a new bill which is every bit as nonsensical as the hate crime legislation proposed by the big boys in DC.
The bill Provides that any person who operates a motor vehicle in violation of § 46.2-821 (running a stop or yield sign) or 46.2-833 (running a red light) and unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury or death of another is guilty of reckless driving. So, if you blow through a red light and don’t hit anyone or if you do without causing serious bodily injury or death you will get a ticket but if you are unfortunate enough to kill or injure someone the offense is elevated to reckless which comes with more points against your license and those points remain on your DMV record longer.
Now I am not in favor of maiming or killing those I share the roads with but this proposal is not practical. Running red lights and stop signs is very dangerous and already carries penalties. If you want to elevate running red lights and stop signs to reckless then do that; it doesn’t make sense to predicate the penalty based on whether or not someone was unfortunate enough to get in their way.
I always try to think about who benefits from particular legislation in order to determine the motivation of the bill’s patron. Having been cited with reckless driving a few years back I was advised by more than a few people who said if I simply hired an attorney with an expertise in traffic violations the judge would reduce or dismiss the charges. I did so and for just under a thousand dollars in legal fees the judge dismissed the charges (contingent upon my successful completion of traffic school and court fees). Bill Janis is a defense lawyer, representing clients in the full range of dui defense, traffic tickets, criminal and civil lawsuits. Hmmmm…?