Fauquier County Traffic Attorney
Few things in life are more irritating than receiving a traffic ticket. Many people can’t afford to take time off from work to go to court. But those who just opt to pay the fine are not aware of negative consequences. Traffic tickets can result in numerous problems, especially in cases of reckless driving charges. Reckless driving is a criminal offense in Fauquier County, as it is throughout Virginia, and conviction can result in a misdemeanor on your record. Other penalties that come with many traffic offenses include:
- Fines and court costs
- Demerit “points” on your Virginia driver’s license; your Virginia license could even be suspended if you reach the limit for points allowed or you fail to pay the fine or court costs
- Higher auto insurance premiums or loss of coverage in many cases
- Loss of commercial driving privileges
When you hire an experienced Fauquier County traffic lawyer to represent you, you are taking steps to avoid some of these consequences and to protect your rights and driving and criminal records.
Traffic Tickets and the Virginia DMV
If you are convicted of a traffic violation, the court will notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which may result in one or more of the following:
- Presence of the conviction on your driving record
- Assign demerit points. You cannot have more 12 points in a one-year period before your driver’s license is subject to potential penalties
- Require you to attend and complete driver improvement courses
- Notify your insurance company of your conviction
- Those facing any alcohol-related charges, such as DUI, may have their license suspended for a statutory period of time and then face heightened insurance requirements and reinstatement fees at the end of their suspension.
How long a moving violation remains on your DMV record depends on the violation. DMV’s demerit point system attaches a value to each type of conviction. Points can remain on your record for up to 11 years, depending on the severity and/or frequency of the violation. The following are a few examples of DMV driving traffic violations, and the length of time they can remain on your driving record.
- Six Point Violations – These violations typically remain on your driving record for 11 years
- Reckless driving
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Driving after being declared a habitual offender
- Driving on suspended license
- Speeding (20+ over the posted limit) (5 years)
- Four Point Violations – Generally remain on your driving record for about five years
- Speeding (10-19 miles over the posted limit)
- Passing when unsafe
- Failure to yield
- Failure to stop at a controlled Intersection
- Three Point Violations – Normally remain on your driving record for three years
- Speeding (1-9 miles over the posted limit)
- Failure to Obey a Highway Sign
- Many minor commercial driving violations
Your insurance company may also arbitrarily assign demerit points on your insurance record. Each company follows its own criteria and can use them to raise your rates or deny coverage. The length of time that these may remain is subject to your auto insurance carrier’s policy.
Reckless Driving and Habitual Violators
Reckless Driving encompasses several specific types of traffic violations that the Commonwealth had deemed to be a serious danger to life and property. In Fauquier County, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. A six month suspension of your license is also possible, even for a first offense.. If the reckless driving behavior is the proximate cause of the death of another and at the time of the reckless driving, the individual was suspended or revoked due to a prior moving violation, the penalty is enhanced to a class 6 felony.
The most common maneuvers cited as reckless driving in Virginia involve traveling more than 20 miles over the posted speed limit, or driving more than 80 mph regardless of the posted limit. The reckless driving “general rule” of Virginia Code Section 46.2-852 states that reckless driving may be charged in any situation that creates a danger to life, limb, or property and thus reckless driving is commonly blamed for at-fault drivers in traffic collisions.
A reckless driving charge does not have to result in a reckless driving conviction, even in accident situations. The Code of Virginia supplies a lesser included offense for general Reckless Driving called “improper driving” incorporating the required elements for reckless driving but deeming the “degree of culpability” as “slight.” See Virginia Code Section 46.2-869. A well-qualified Fauquier County traffic lawyer can work to reduce the potential penalties and negotiate with assistant Commonwealth’s attorneys to mitigate any potential exposure you may face.
Another consequence of being a found guilty of reckless driving is the possibility of incurring a criminal record, losing a security clearance if one is required for your job and/or a commercial license, and having to check the “yes” box on your employment application form when it asks the question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”
Without an experienced traffic lawyer, convictions can unknowingly lead to revocation of your driving privileges and severe fines as well as possible jail time. Call today to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.