Traffic violations in Virginia range from minor infractions to serious crimes with serious criminal penalties. Most traffic violations result in a ticket, the response for which must be prompt and accurate if an individual would like to avoid further expenses and penalties. Traffic violations should not be taken for granted, even if they seem like no big deal. They can result in big consequences and even the suspension of a person’s license when ignored.
Although most traffic violations do not require a person to retain legal counsel, it is always smart to discuss the specific circumstances of a ticket with a criminal defense lawyer, who is well versed in the nuances of the legal system and can sometimes help reduce or eliminate fines. If your ticket is worth fighting in court, a Fairfax lawyer will explain how.
What Are Traffic Violations?
Each state has its own laws governing how drivers should behave when in control of a vehicle. Because over 90 percent of Americans who have reached the age of 16 are legally licensed to operate a vehicle, traffic violations are a major source of income for jurisdictions all over the country. That means some of them are not always fair. There are dozens of potential traffic violations a driver might be charged with:
- Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield
- Impeding traffic
- Turning into the wrong lane
- Broken headlight or tail light
- Double parking
- Parking in a handicap spot
- Driving without a license
- Illegal U-turn
- Driving without insurance
- Driving without valid vehicle registration
- Reckless driving
- Hit and run
- Failure to wear a seat belt
- Using a vehicle during the commission of a felony
There are many more. Whether or not a traffic ticket (or arrest) is worth fighting is dependent on how serious the penalty for the violation is. Before you make your decision, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney.
What Are The Penalties Of Traffic Violations in Fairfax County?
Most traffic violations are penalized with a fine, the amount of which will vary based on the offense. It does not matter where an individual committed the traffic violation, the amount of the fine will always be the same.
- Fines. If the individual fails to respond to or pay a fine, then the amount of the fine will increase substantially. In some cases, failure to pay a fine may result in the issuance of a warrant for a person’s arrest. In addition, your driver’s license will likely be suspended.
- Points. When convicted of a traffic violation, the DMV will assign a number of points for the violation. If a driver who is over the age of 18 accumulates at least eight points in one year or twelve points in two years, then a letter will be sent to the individual’s home address to ensure he or she is aware of the consequences for breaking the associated laws. If a driver who is over the age of 18 accumulates at least twelve points in one year, he or she will be assigned to complete a defensive driving course. If a driver who is over the age of 18 accumulates at least 18 points in one year or 24 points in two years, then the driver will receive an administrative license suspension for at least 90 days.
- License Suspension. If a driver fails to pay fines, complete assigned defensive driving courses, uphold court orders, or accumulates enough points on his or her license, then it may be suspended at the discretion of the court.
- License Revocation. If a driver is intoxicated, flees the scene of a car accident, is charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, is charged with a felony traffic violation, or accumulates at least three points on a license while under the age of 18, then the license may be revoked.
- Additional Fees. There are always additional financial obligations following a traffic violation, the most obvious of which is the inevitable increase of a person’s car insurance rate.
Common Defenses For Traffic Tickets
Although many people opt to go it alone when dealing with traffic violation convictions, it is worth your time to sit down with a criminal defense lawyer in order to discuss the details of the violation. You have two basic options after being charged with a traffic violation.
You can opt to pay the ticket for a minor offense, which equates to a guilty plea in court. If you want to avoid or reduce some of the associated consequences, a lawyer may be able to help you obtain a plea bargain in court. In this case, it is also possible to plead guilty when accused of a more significant traffic violation in order to receive a lesser charge.
Your second option is to fight a ticket or plead not guilty. Many people decide fighting a ticket would be a waste of time, but it can help you avoid penalties. Even if found guilty of the violation, you will still have the option to take a defensive driving course in order to reduce the number of points placed on your license.
Call A Fairfax Traffic Ticket Attorney Now!
No matter how seemingly small the traffic violation or the potential consequences, you still have the option to retain counsel both in and out of court. Even if you decide not to retain counsel, you have nothing to lose by sitting down with a qualified lawyer from our Fairfax, VA Law Firm to discuss the details of your traffic violation charge during a free consultation. Contact us now!