Prince William County Traffic Lawyer
Violations of traffic laws can vary widely in their severity. Some violations are mere tickets that require only the payment of a fine, but other violations qualify as misdemeanor or felony offenses under Virginia law. Due to the potentially serious consequences of traffic offenses, particularly within a short period of time, you should strongly consider looking to a Prince William County traffic lawyer for advice.
Allowing a seasoned defense attorney to take a look at your case may help you develop a strong defense against the charges you are facing. While a traffic ticket initially may seem relatively insignificant, the fact is that traffic violations can build up quickly to adversely affect both your ability to drive and your financial situation.
Traffic Violations and Demerit Points
Some traffic violations, such as speeding tickets, do not require any action other than the payment of a fine. Nonetheless, these traffic violations still are reported to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which adds them to your driving record and assigns you three, four, or six demerit points, depending upon the severity of the offense. Some traffic violations that fall within each demerit point level include the following:
- Three-point violations include improper passing, speeding one to nine mph over the posted speed limit, and making improper U-turns
- Four-point violations include speeding 10 to 19 mph over the posted speed limit, failing to yield when turning left, and failing to pull over and stop for emergency vehicles
- Six-point violations include speeding more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
The amount of time that each traffic violation remains on your driving record also depends on the severity of the offense. For instance, a reckless driving conviction remains on your driving record for 11 years, whereas a conviction for making an improper U-turn remains on your driving record for three years. However, the demerit points assessed to your driving record remain for only two years.
Accumulating too many demerit points on your driving record within a certain period of time can lead to the suspension of your driving privileges. Therefore, consulting a Prince William County traffic attorney in order to potentially avoid the consequences of even a simple traffic ticket may be important.
Criminal Charges for Driving Offenses in Prince William County
Driving offenses and violations of traffic laws may result in criminal charges, depending on their severity. For example, Va. Code § 46.2-852 establishes the offense of reckless driving, which includes various unsafe actions. Generally, under Va. Code § 46.2-868, is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law, which can result in up to one year in jail, a $2,500 maximum fine, and suspension of driving privileges for six months.
However, reckless driving constitutes a Class 6 felony if the drivers have no valid license due to suspension or revocation for moving violations and their actions directly lead to the death of another. For a Class 6 felony conviction, the potential prison sentence ranges from one to five years, and a fine of up to $2,500.
In addition to these penalties, traffic offenses that result in criminal convictions will result in the assessment of points on driving histories, which, in turn, is likely to result in increased insurance rates. Individuals may have to disclose these criminal convictions on applications for jobs and professional licenses, which may inhibit their ability to further their careers.
As is the case with traffic violations, however, there are points assessed on individuals’ driver’s licenses and insurance rates are likely to increase as a result. Plus, even a misdemeanor traffic offense is a criminal conviction that individuals may have to disclose on applications for jobs and professional licenses.
Talk to a Prince William County Traffic Attorney Today
If you are unable to get certain jobs or professional licenses due to criminal convictions, the financial repercussions may impact you for many years. When combined with high-risk insurance rates and fines, these convictions may end up being very costly to you.
Demerit points, license suspensions, and sentences of incarceration all are additional potential consequences of traffic offenses. Due to the severity of some these penalties, meeting with a Prince William County traffic lawyer may allow you to develop the strongest strategy for avoiding some or all of these penalties.