Virginia Court of Appeals affirms felony drag racing conviction

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Apr 15, 2016 Virginia Court of Appeals affirms felony drag racing conviction

Those who drag race in Virginia face serious penalties if convicted. Racing on any roadway or other places open to traffic is a class 1 misdemeanor jailable up to one year for reckless driving, and requires a driver’s license suspension of six months to two years.

An injury resulting from drag racing risks even more serious penalties:

“Any person who, while engaging in a race in violation of § 46.2-865 [drag racing] in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life: 1. Causes serious bodily injury to another person who is not involved in the violation of § 46.2-865 is guilty of a Class 6 [jailable up to five years in prison] felony; or 2. Causes the death of another person is guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one nor more than 20 years, one year of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.” Va. Code § 46.2-865.1.

This week, the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed Derek Doggett’s felony drag racing conviction, dismissing claims of insufficient evidence. Doggett v. Virginia___ Va. App. __ (April 12, 2016). Catastrophic injuries were suffered by at least one of Doggett’s passengers, who was ejected from his car in the resulting collision. That passenger “suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured pelvis, a significant injury to her right eye, and a broken jaw as a result of the accident, all of which required a six-month stay in the hospital.”

Doggett’s online docket for this Chesterfield County case shows that he received a sentence of five years in prison, suspending four years, and suspending his driving license for three years. He could have fared worse than that at sentencing.

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