Because dangerous driving puts so many lives at risk every day, many traffic offenses are penalized with heavy fines. Some violations, such as driving while impaired or reckless driving–are even prosecuted as criminal offenses with potential jail time.
Fortunately, the aggressive Prince William County traffic lawyers with our firm are prepared to help you avoid unnecessary consequences and get you back on the road again quickly. We understand the roads and court systems of Prince William County, and having a local attorney to guide you through your traffic charges can make a big difference on the outcome of your case.
Before you pay a Virginia traffic ticket, it is critical to understand the impact your action may have on your driving record or criminal record. You may need to fight a ticket to avoid DMV demerit points on your driving record that could lead to license suspension or increased insurance premiums. You may need criminal defense representation to fight against a misdemeanor conviction that could send you to jail, cost you your license, and could affect your security clearance if you work for the federal government.
Find out how Virginia law distinguishes between several traffic violations and the penalties it ascribes for each offense.
Most traffic violations are punishable by a fine and points against your driving record with the Virginia DMV. Running a red light, speeding within 20 miles per hour of the posted limit, and rolling through a stop sign, for example, will typically earn you 3 or 4 DMV demerit points, court costs, and fines ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars.
In some cases, it seems easiest to just pay the ticket and be done with it, but there may be very good reasons for fighting a ticket. You may have enough points against your license that any further demerits put it in jeopardy, or you may have been given a ticket for an offense you did not commit. In some cases, the “ticket” you received may be more than a simple traffic citation, and you could be facing criminal charges. By consulting with a Prince William County traffic attorney, you can learn the best way to respond to your traffic citation so that you can limit the impact on you, your driving record, and your insurance rates.
Virginia has some of the nation’s toughest reckless driving laws and the harshest penalties for violations. Traffic violations including driving too fast for conditions, failing to properly signal, passing on a hill or at a curve, failing to yield for an emergency vehicle, and driving in excess of 80 miles per hour are among the 13 specific acts the state considers “reckless driving.”
In general, reckless driving is considered to be any driving behavior that puts another at risk of injury, death, or property damage. The general reckless driving statute, found in § 46.2-852 is broad. Many people end up with a Reckless Driving ticket when they are only expecting a traffic citation.
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor which includes the following criminal and administrative penalties:
A reckless driving conviction also brings a criminal record that could inhibit employment opportunities or affect an individual’s security clearance.
Fortunately, the Code of Virginia allows for a reduction where there is a slight degree of culpability.. In some cases, a Prince William County traffic lawyer can successfully negotiate a Reckless Driving charge to one of “improper driving.” Improper driving is not a misdemeanor and will not result in any jail time; instead, it is a traffic infraction that carries a fine and 3 demerit points.
Certain traffic violations that are considered to be more serious than typical infractions but less serious than reckless driving are listed in the Virginia Code as acts of “aggressive driving.”
Like reckless driving, aggressive driving is a criminal traffic offense, but unlike reckless driving, it is a Class 2 rather than a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Whereas a Class 1 misdemeanor has a maximum jail term of one year and maximum fine of $2,500, the maximum penalties for a Class 2 misdemeanor are a jail term of 6 months and a fine of $1,000.
Aggressive driving is defined as the violation of one or more of 11 specific traffic laws listed in § 46.2-868.1.
The Prince William County Traffic lawyers at our firm also defend clients against driving under the influence (DUI) charges. It is a common charge in Virginia, and many individuals are stopped by law enforcement under the suspicion of DUI regularly.
In Virginia, the legal threshold for (DUI) (also referred to as DWI) is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent in most cases. However, a driver can be charged with a lesser BAC if he or she is a commercial driver or under the age of 21.
Typically, a first offense of DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the charge and its penalties are enhanced upon factors, including transporting a minor, an elevated BAC, or a DUI accident.
Skilled DUI defense is critical to avoid criminal conviction, maintain driving privileges, and avoiding jail time. Your traffic lawyer will ask you to recall in as much detail as possible the events that ended with your DUI stop and subsequent arrest to determine if the officer had good reason to make the traffic stop in the first place. One of the benefits of hiring a private defense attorney is that he or she will conduct the necessary investigations and legal research to make such a defense strategy possible.
Call today for a free consultation with a Prince William County traffic lawyer to find out how we can help you fight your ticket or criminal traffic charge.
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