Traffic Infractions and Misdemeanors in Loudoun County
There are three different levels of traffic offenses in Loudoun County. The three different levels start from the least serious to the most serious: non-moving violations, moving violations, and traffic misdemeanors as criminal offenses. Each of these carry varying degrees of penalties ranging from a fine to jail time and license revocation.
If you have been charged or cited for a traffic violation consult with a Loudoun County traffic lawyer today to discuss how to proceed and minimize the harm of your charge, or read below to learn more about traffic infractions in Loudoun County.
What Are Traffic Infractions in Loudoun County?
A traffic infraction is different from a misdemeanor in that a traffic infraction usually involves conduct that is not deemed to be criminal in nature. Typically, infractions either involve moving violations or non-moving violations. Common moving violations are failing to obey highway signs, speeding, or failing to maintain your lane of travel. Non-moving violations commonly include expired registration, expired license plates, or faulty equipment such as headlights, windshields, or tail lights.
Traffic infraction cases are heard in the Loudoun County General District Court, which is located at 18 East Market Street in Leesburg, Virginia.
Appealing Traffic Infraction Convictions
You can appeal traffic infraction convictions. The Loudoun County General District Court has original jurisdiction for all traffic infractions. If, however, you’re found guilty here through a plea or after a trial in the Loudoun County General District Court, you may appeal that finding within ten days to the Loudoun County Circuit Court. At the circuit court level, your trial will be de novo, meaning that the Commonwealth or the officer prosecuting the case must prove all the elements of the traffic infraction again.
Possible Penalties for a Traffic Infraction
There are many possible penalties for traffic infractions. Typically, traffic infractions are punishable by a fine. The Code of Virginia has a specific chart that lays out the applicable maximum fines for the different code violations. The most common traffic infraction is speeding. A speeding infraction is punishable by up to a $250 fine, although the code does prescribe a lesser statutory fine under certain circumstances.
What Is A Traffic Misdemeanor?
A traffic misdemeanor is still a criminal misdemeanor. They’re called traffic misdemeanors because they are criminal charges that occur out of driving behavior. The most common traffic misdemeanors are:
- Reckless driving by speed
- Reckless driving by general rule
- Aggressive driving
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license
- Driving without a license
- Altered License Plates or Registration
These are misdemeanors found under Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia.
Just like infractions, misdemeanor cases are heard in the Loudoun County General District Court located 18 East Market Street in Leesburg, Virginia.
Appealing Traffic Misdemeanor Convictions
You can appeal traffic misdemeanor convictions. Traffic infraction convictions are appealable de novo through the Loudoun County Circuit Court at which time you can request a bench or jury trial.
Traffic Misdemeanor Penalties
The possible penalties for a traffic criminal misdemeanor depends on the classification of the misdemeanor offense. The majority of traffic misdemeanors are class 1 criminal misdemeanors. This means that they are punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, or a combination thereof. In addition, many traffic-related misdemeanor offenses include the potential for a license suspension. In some cases this is mandatory, such as in the case of a driving on a suspended license conviction. In other cases, it is discretionary, which means that a skilled Loudoun County traffic county in your corner can help protect your driving privileges in addition to your rights.