Virginia Traffic Tickets Fines & Penalties
Whether you received your traffic ticket in Chesapeake or Lexington, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost you and what other penalties you might face. We’ve made it simple by outlining the basic details on traffic tickets and costs in Virginia, plus what you can do to improve your driver record.
Traffic Ticket Fines
Your Virginia speeding ticket should have the fine for your offense printed right on it, so what you’ll need to pay should not be a mystery. Keep in mind that Virginia takes speeding very seriously. In general, your Virginia speeding ticket cost can expect to pay $6 for every mile over the limit you were driving. This fee jumps up to $7 per mile over when driving in a school or work zone, and $8 per mile over in a residential area, with an additional $200 tacked on!
If you are ticketed for driving 20 MPH over the speed limit, you’ll face a reckless driving charge and will be required to pay a fee for 3 years. You will be charged with a misdemeanor for your first offense and will face a $350 fine. A second reckless driving offense is a felony and requires you to pay a $1,000 fine annually for 3 years.
On the flip side, you can be fined $30 if you’re caught driving too slowly. In addition to the fine associated with your actual offense, Virginia courts add a $62 fee to every traffic ticket conviction.
Traffic ticket fines are due within 40 days of your citation. If you fail to pay your fees by the due date you could face interest charges, your ticket could go to collections, and a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.
The Virginia Point System
Across the state of Virginia, every traffic offense is assessed demerit points. Whether you get caught speeding just a little over the limit or really pushing the pedal to the metal, you could end up with 3 to 6 demerit points added to your driving record.
These demerit points will remain on your record for 2 years, while the ticket itself could stay on there even longer. If you’re eligible, the court may allow you to take a Virginia driver improvement course. Three- or four-point violations are typically eligible to earn safe driving points that will offset the demerit points. Unfortunately, if you’ve been ordered by the court to take the course, you will not be allowed to earn any safe driving points.
Auto Insurance Rate Increases
Auto insurance carriers use your driving record to determine the rate of your premium. Demerit points on your record from a traffic ticket can result in a rate increase. It’s important to pay attention to your driving record, and if you have the opportunity to earn safe driving points by taking a driver improvement course, you should take advantage of it.
Drivers License Suspension or Revocation
The more demerit points on your record, the higher your chances of finding yourself with a suspended or revoked drivers license. In addition, the state has the ability to suspend or revoke your driving privileges if you are convicted of certain serious offenses. Violations that could result in a suspended license include: failing to pay your court fees, failure to complete a court-ordered DIP clinic, or too many demerit points on your record.
A conviction for driving while intoxicated, hit and run, or voluntary/involuntary manslaughter involving a motor vehicle could result in the state revoking your driving privileges.
Penalties for Commercial Drivers License Holders
If you have a Virginia commercial drivers license (CDL), you should know that the DMV could disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle if you are convicted of certain traffic offenses. A major violation – such as driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, refusal to take a blood or breath test during a DUI stop, hit-and-run involving a commercial vehicle, or making a false statement on your CDL application – will result in a 1-year disqualification of your commercial driving privileges, or 3 years if you are transporting hazardous materials. A second conviction of any of the above, as well as a conviction for using a commercial vehicle in the distribution or manufacture of illegal drugs, will result in a lifetime disqualification.
Other crimes that could risk your commercial driving privileges include texting while driving a commercial vehicle, speeding 15 MPH over the limit, reckless driving, improper lane changes, a traffic violation involving a fatal crash, or driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL. You could receive a 60- or 120-day disqualification for one or multiple serious violations within a 3-year period.We've made it simple by outlining the basic details on traffic ticket fines and costs in Virginia, plus what you can do to improve your driving record.
Virginia Speeding Offenses For Out of State Residents
If you are an out of state driver who has received a ticket for speeding in Virginia, it is important you know how seriously your charge will be taken, and ensure that you are not facing reckless driving by speed charges, which are a criminal offense. Below, a Virginia speeding ticket lawyer discusses speeding charges in Virginia and what out of state residents should know.
How Does Virginia Treat Speeding Differently From Other Jurisdictions?
The difference in Virginia from other jurisdictions is that speeding can be charged as a criminal offense for reckless driving. This is a big difference because many other jurisdictions don’t have reckless driving by speed, which means that any speed over the speed limit is always going to be charged as a traffic infraction. In Virginia however, once you’re going 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit or 80 miles per hour or more anywhere in the Commonwealth, then your speed rises to the level of a criminal misdemeanor, which comes with very harsh potential penalties.
What is the First Thing You Should Do If You Receive a Speeding Ticket As an Out of State Driver?
If an out of state driver receives a speeding ticket in Virginia, the first thing that they should do is verify that the charge they’re being charged with is a speeding. It’s very important to analyze carefully the document that you sign to make sure that it’s not actually a summons for reckless driving. On the document, under what you’re being charged with, it usually will specify whether it’s speeding or reckless driving. If it doesn’t specify and it just says the speed, then underneath where the charge is written there is a section that says whether you have to come to court or not. If you don’t have to come to court, then it’s a traffic infraction. If the box is crossed out completely or not checked , then you’ve likely been charged with a criminal matter and your best bet would be to get a lawyer.
What Happens If An Out of State Driver Doesn’t Pay A Speeding Ticket?
If an out of state driver doesn’t pay the ticket, then Virginia will forward that information to the out of state driver’s home state. The home state will do whatever their home state normally does for tickets that have not been paid. If they fail to pay the ticket within thirty (30) days of their court date, absent special circumstances, then Virginia DMV will suspend their privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia.
If You Want to Contest a Speeding Ticket Can a Lawyer in Virginia Go To Court on Your Behalf?
If you’re facing a speeding ticket in Virginia, and you want to contest it, but you’re an out of state driver, a Virginia lawyer can go to court on your behalf. They can fight the charge just the same as if you were there present in person, so that you never have to come back to Virginia at all throughout this entire representation. The lawyer can save you time obviously, since you do not have to come back, and the lawyer can save you money because you don’t have to admit guilt. You have additional options even if you don’t want to go through the hassle of coming back to contest the ticket and think your only option is to prepay online.
Can Being Unaware of Virginia Driving Laws Be Used As a Defense?
No. It is not a defense to not be unaware of the laws. If you simply had no idea that 80 miles per hour or more is considered reckless driving, then you are completely out of luck because there is no judge in Virginia that’s going to be sympathetic to this. Ignorance of the law is not a defense for out of state drivers or for in-state drivers. The laws are in place due to safety reasons and anyone violating them is going to pay the consequences. It’s difficult for someone to argue that they didn’t know that going 10-15 miles per hour more than what the posted speed limit allows was against the law. There wouldn’t be much point to speed limit signs if that were believable.
What Should Every Out of State Driver Know About Speeding Tickets in Virginia?
Out of state drivers should know that speeding tickets in Virginia can rise to a much more serious level than just traffic infractions. They should know that it’s possible for someone who is just driving fast in their opinion to end up charged with a crime. Such a charge can cause a whole bunch of other issues later on down the road when the out of state driver needs to come back to the Commonwealth to appear in court.
They should also know that Virginia will forward any convictions to an out of state driver’s home state. This means they are also facing the possibility that their home state will issue its own set of consequences for the charge.What anyone cited for speeding in Virginia while residing out of state should know according to a Virginia speeding ticket lawyer. Call today to learn more. ]]>