Passing at Railroad

Va. Code § 46.2-858: Reckless by Passing at a Railroad or Pedestrian Crossing

If a driver passes another vehicle at a railroad crossing or while a pedestrian is crossing in front of the passed vehicle, the driver may be charged for reckless driving. There is an exception to this rule if there are multiple lanes dedicated for passing or if the road is marked for passing with a dashed yellow line.

Va. Code 46.2-858 Reckless Driving – Passing at a Railroad grade crossing/Passing at Intersection

A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who overtakes or passes any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction at any railroad grade crossing or at any intersection of highways unless such vehicles are being operated on a highway having two or more designated lanes of roadway for each direction of travel or unless such intersection is designated and marked as a passing zone or on a designated one-way street or highway, or while pedestrians are passing or about to pass in front of either of such vehicles, unless permitted so to do by a traffic light or law-enforcement officer.”

Penalties for Fairfax Reckless Driving – Passing at Railroad
  • Class 1 misdemeanor (Criminal Conviction)
  • 0 to 12 months in jail
  • $0-$2,500 in fines
  • 0-6 months loss of license
  • 6 Va DMV demerit points
Defenses for Reckless Driving – Passing at Railroad

There are two main ways we prevent conviction for reckless driving for passing at a railroad crossing  in Fairfax:

1) We attack the culpability. We try to show reasons why the driver does not deserve these harsh punishments and ask the court to reduce the charge to a less sever traffic ticket.

2) We attack the accuracy and admissibility of the police officer’s accusations. This statute is very poorly written. The last part of the statute is intended to ban passing a vehicle that has stopped or slowed for a pedestrian crossing but instead the statute seems to say that it is ok to pass another vehicle as long as pedestrians are walking in front of the vehicles. Or perhaps it is saying that pedestrians are allowed to pass vehicles on railroad crossings.

This is an extremely unusual form of reckless driving and is rarely charged. Consequently, few lawyers are confident about what this statute says and we often are able to simply get the charge reduced to a minor infraction.

For more information about reckless driving defenses, click here.

How to Prepare for a Reckless Driving -Passing on a Railroad Crossing Trial

Some of the things we recommend drivers do, can include (click the links for more information):

  • Taking a Driver Improvement Course
  • Get a copy of the officer’s accident report (if there was an accident)
  • Draw a diagram of the area where the incident occurred
  • Writing a brief biography about yourself
  • Writing a detailed incident summary about yourself
  • Getting a copy of your DMV record
Likely Lesser Offenses For Reckless Driving – Passing at a Railroad Crossing.

In Fairfax, prosecutors will not negotiated with unrepresented defendants; however, your attorney might be able to get the reckless driving charge reduced from a criminal reckless driving charge to one of the following non criminal traffic tickets:

  • Improper Driving
  • Failure to Obey a Highway Sign
  • Improper Lane Change
  • Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention

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Defending Drivers in Fairfax

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