Young people in Virginia can make mistakes and end up on the wrong side of the law. The resulting criminal charges can affect their prospects for the rest of their lives, so it is important that they know their options to pursue a strong criminal defense. Common charges include a minor in possession of alcohol, but recently in Virginia Beach a juvenile was accused of a relatively rare crime.
According to law enforcement authorities, two drivers, one 19 years old and the other 17, engaged in a street race after pulling up next to each other at a traffic light. This was apparently not an arranged meeting between two friends, however. In a statement given to the media, the 19-year-old said that he was not familiar with the other driver or the other car's occupants.
He also stated that after accelerating from the traffic light, the juvenile driver moved ahead and eventually cut him off. Shortly thereafter, the minor's car spun out of control, hitting some trees and caroming off of the 19-year-old's car. Everyone involved in the accident escaped injury except two passengers in the juvenile's car. They were ejected from the vehicle and one sustained grave injuries and is listed in critical condition.
Police have charged the minor with driving with a provisional license and felony racing. Law enforcement officers noted that a racing charge is more severe than a reckless driving charge. But it is important to note that the juvenile is facing a felony, whereas the 19-year-old must answer to the less serious charge of misdemeanor racing.
Prosecutors have the burden to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the minor's conduct meets the criminal elements enumerated in the street racing statute. It will be up to defense attorneys to question the reliability of the evidence, including the testimony of the other driver.
Source: WAVY.com, "Racing suspect claims innocence," Mila Mimica and Jason Marks, Sept. 20, 2012
• Our firm handles matters similar to the one described above. If you would like more information, please visit our Virginia Beach reckless driving page.