September 25, 2015
Fail to Maintain Control Charge Dismissed in Brunswick County, Virginia
This particular incident took place during heavy rain on I-85 in Brunswick County. My client was driving at a reduced speed, hit a patch of water, and hydroplaned. As the car swerved, the driver over-corrected which caused him to go off the road. This incident ended in the car flipping over once. Fortunately, my client walked away from the accident with only minor injuries.
Despite being a single car accident resulting from the forces of nature, the responding officer wrote my client a ticket for Fail to Maintain Proper Control (46.2-853). This charge is a misdemeanor in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which means it goes on your criminal record. A misdemeanor charge can possible land you in jail for up to a year and carries a fine of up to $2500. These consequences are worst case scenario and rarely happen.
The main concern with a charge like this is insurance increases and possible job consequences (e.g. loss of CDL and/or Security Clearance). As such, it is important to do whatever you can to fight charges like these.
In accident trials, the judge takes in to consideration the defendant’s driving record and witness testimonies. Fortunately, it is very rare for a police officer to be a witness in an accident case; they arrive to the scene after the incident. This is why they ask for the driver to make a statement.
Making a statement typically only hurts your case. It is wise to decline to make one as they can be incriminating.
At trial, I presented my client’s good driving record and successfully argued that the commonwealth could not prove that the defendant was driving recklessly. This resulted in the judge dismissing the case.
If you received a Fail to Maintain Control Charge (Accident) in Brunswick County, or anywhere else in Virginia, contact me as soon as possible to discuss your case. See case results below.
By Daniel Leavitt