Aggressive driving is a term used to describe driving behavior that is dangerous or that disregards road and safety laws. Examples of aggressive driving conduct include:
- Following too closely to another vehicle (“tailgating”)
- Failing to make complete stops or making “rolling stops”
- Cutting other drivers off
- Engaging in offensive behavior with other drivers (yelling, excessive honking of the horn, rude gestures, etc.)
- Stopping suddenly in front of another driver
- Driving recklessly
In many instances, aggressive driving can stem from road rage or confrontations between drivers in traffic. Provoking other drivers can sometimes cause them to become aggressive drivers.
When Does Aggressive Driving Become a Legal Issue?
Aggressive driving conduct becomes illegal in certain instances. These instances include:
- The conduct is clearly a violation of road laws (for instance, driving above the posted speed limit)
- The driving is considered negligent or reckless (the conduct places others at risk of serious harm or injury)
- The driving conduct actually caused physical harm, including death, or property damage
- The conduct involved intentional actions (such as feigning a swerve at another car or pedestrian as if to hit or strike them with the car, as this can constitute vehicular assault)
Thus, police and other authorities often evaluate these factors when determining whether driving conduct is considered a violation or not.
What Are Some Legal Consequences for Aggressive Driving?
Legal consequences for aggressive driving can range in severity. They may include simple fines, citations, or traffic tickets. Some serious cases can involve more serious misdemeanor charges, resulting in heavier fines, loss of driving privileges, and/or some jail time. Penalties may increase with factors such as:
- Prior criminal charges
- Person is on probation is driving with a suspended license
- Serious injury resulted from the conduct
- DUI or drunk driving violations were involved
In some civil cases, the defendant may be required to pay punitive damages if it is found that they engaged in aggressive driving leading up to the accident.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Aggressive Driving Charges?
Aggressive driving charges can be serious if they are combined with other legal issues. You may need to hire a qualified criminal lawyer if you are facing charges involving driving violations. An attorney can help you with your case and can research the laws to determine your rights. Also, if there are any defenses available for you, your attorney can help present those during court proceedings as well.