We have all made mistakes while driving. Whether it’s been failing to stop at a 4-way stop or something more serious like driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, we have all had moments of poor judgment. Unfortunately, in Virginia, many traffic crimes come with hefty consequences. If you are a licensed driver, it is important to know the penalty for such actions, and how a defense attorney can help you navigate through any legal repercussions.
Types of Traffic Crimes in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, there are three levels of traffic offenses. They are:
Infractions are just another word for a traffic ticket. The tickets will demerit points off of your driving record and often require you to pay a fine. You can choose to pay the fines, but if you do it is considered to be a conviction on your driving record. The demerit points will remain for two years on your record, but the offense can remain on record for up to eleven years. You can also lose your license if you accumulate too many demerit points over a certain period of time.
Traffic infractions in Virginia include:
- Driving with a burnt-out taillight or headlight
- Running a red light or not stopping completely at a red light turn
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you
- Improper passing or turning
- Failing to yield or obey a sign/lane marker
- Illegal U-turns
While not a big deal as one isolated incident, accumulating these traffic infractions can lead to big consequences like not being allowed to drive. Be aware of your surroundings on the road and do your best to avoid getting a ticket.
Traffic misdemeanors are more serious than infractions, and if convicted, you can face larger consequences including a permanent criminal record. Some violations that fall under the misdemeanor umbrella include:
Driving with a suspended license.
This is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. You can receive up to one year of jail time, lose your license for up to 90 days, and pay a fine of up to $2,500.
Driving with a revoked license.
This is also a Class 1 misdemeanor, but if this is your third offense, it can turn into a Class 6 felony, which is even more serious. In some instances, your driver’s license will not be reinstated.
This includes driving more than 20 miles over the speed limit. Your license can be suspended for up to one year.
Your first DUI offense has a penalty of up to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail, and your license may also be revoked.
The most serious offenses in Virginia are felonies. Some traffic crimes that could be considered a felony include:
- Third offense DUIs
- Hit and run accidents where the other party is seriously injured or killed
These felonies will land you in a state correctional facility instead of the local jail and can result in a sentence of up to 10 years as well as hefty fines and a potentially permanently revoked license.
Working With a Criminal Defense Attorney
Many people who have been accused of committing a traffic crime will feel an impulse to handle things themselves and do what they need to do to get it all resolved as quickly as possible. This is often the wrong move and, instead, it’s important to contact a Virginia accident defense attorney soon after the crime occurs.
When you are arrested for an offense, it may seem like there’s no point in trying to defend yourself. But an experienced attorney can often find a defense against most traffic charges and help you navigate the legal system to receive the smallest consequence possible. Going at it on your own will likely result in costly fines and longer jail time than you would’ve gotten if you had enlisted the help of a qualified defense attorney.
Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you've recently found yourself in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Virginia you should speak with us as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.