Portions of Virginia’s Motorcycle Helmet Law Declared Unconstitutional

Portions of Virginia’s motorcycle helmet law were declared unconstitutional on Friday, December 9,2005 by a judge of the Newport News Circuit Court. In a ten page memorandum order, Hon. H. Vincent Conway, Jr. held that the portions of Va. Code §46.2-910 which defined the standards that a protective helmet must meet or exceed were unconstitutionally vague, denied due process and were unenforceable. The decision marked another victory in the battle by the Law Offices of Tom McGrath, to challenge Virginia’s helmet law.

McGrath and his Newport News associate, Matt Danielson, concentrate their practice on representing injured motorcyclists. In addition, they provide legislative lobbying services and traffic citation defense for the motorcycling community. In the past five years, they have successfully defended over fifty bikers charged with violation of Virginia’s helmet statute. Although the constitutional arguments have been raised many times before, the courts have previously ruled that the Commonwealth could not prove a violation of the statute and thereby avoided a ruling on the constitutional issues. Judge Conway did not follow this course and instead found at least some of McGrath’s arguments to be persuasive.

McGrath says the impact of Judge Conway’s decision is that any helmet selected by a motorcyclist in Newport News now complies with the statute since the standards previously used have been invalidated.