The Virginia State Crime Commission endorsed tougher penalties this week for texting while driving after new legislation was submitted for the upcoming legislation session.
The proposed legislation is slated to be considered in the 2013 legislative session. The commission put forth the suggestion for tougher penalties after a judge did not convict a driver, who was believed to be texting while driving and was involved in a fatal accident, because Virginia law made texting while driving a minor traffic violation. The judge dropped the charges after saying the charges did not fit under the definition of reckless driving.
According to the Washington Post, 39 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving and every state has considered some type of distracted-driving law since 2000. Maryland and the District of Columbia have banned all hand-held cell use while driving.
Currently, the fine for using a handheld cell phone in Virginia is $20. If passed, the proposed legislation would make any type of cell phone use, except making a call, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Under the proposed legislation, making a phone call would still remain legal in Virginia.
If you are facing any type of criminal charges, it is in your best interest to obtain counsel who will fight to protect your freedom. Call today for your free, initial consultation.