“Failure to Keep Control of Your Vehicle” Is a Catchall Virginia Law Often Aimed at Juveniles

If you are a juvenile driver in Virginia, you're expected to keep your car under control at all times—which means that coming to a screeching stop at a red light, swerving off the road, or even passing too close to another vehicle can be ticketed as “failure to keep your vehicle under control.” Not only can a conviction under this catchall statute lead to significant fines, but it can also result in your license being suspended until you turn 18—which is why it's important to retain the services of an experienced Virginia traffic attorney from Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC.

“Failing to Keep Your Vehicle Under Control” Is Usually a Police Judgment Call

If the “failing to keep your vehicle under control” provision of Virginia's traffic laws sounds a bit vague, that's exactly how the authorities want it. Since it would be impossible (or at least extremely cumbersome) to create a separate traffic law for every possible circumstance, the Virginia “failure to control” statute covers a wide range of traffic infractions, including swerving off the highway or making dangerous turns. It's not even necessary for the police to prove that you actually lost control of your vehicle, only that there was a reasonable suspicion to this effect.

As is the case with many Virginia traffic laws, the “failing to keep your vehicle under control” statute is often invoked when juvenile drivers (i.e., high school or college-age kids) are involved. An older adult who swerves off the highway inadvertently may be flagged down by the police, and even tested for intoxication, but if his story checks out he may be let off with a warning and a lecture. A teenage driver, though, probably won't get the benefit of the doubt, since police have a stake in keeping inexperienced motorists off the road, where they can't do any further damage.

Under Virginia law, too, failure to maintain control of your vehicle is a non-prepayable offense—which means you can't take care of your ticket simply by signing a waiver form, obtaining the signature of one of your parents, and mailing in a check to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. You have to show up in traffic court, make a plea, state your case, and await the judge's decision, which is why it's always a good idea to hire a seasoned traffic lawyer.

Don't Let a “Failure to Keep Control of Your Vehicle” Citation Spiral Out of Control

Except in the most egregious cases—say, swerving off the highway while going 80 mph—a citation for failing to keep control of your vehicle won't necessarily incur the full wrath of the law. However, you do need to make a solid case that your behavior was not the result of negligence, but was instead a momentary distraction or due to circumstances beyond your control (in other words, that it was a true accident).

The lawyers at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC know how to convincingly use this argument and will work to secure the best possible outcome to your case. Call 888-783-9701 today for a free consultation.