The Virginia Traffic Code has an entire article of statutes that cover failing to obey the right-of-way, as well as various other statutes in different sections of the code that pertain to yielding offenses. As a result, common driving behaviors that are considered a neglect to yield include:
If you have been charged with one of these offenses, contact a knowledgeable attorney to learn more about failure to yield traffic violations in Prince William County. An attorney familiar with these types of cases could explain your rights and help you determine how to best proceed.
In Virginia, a driver is required to comply with a stop sign or red light to the fullest extent possible. This means a driver must make a full stop before proceeding further, and wait for the path to be clear or for the next green light to cycle. However, certain unusual factors or conditions can trigger exceptions to this general rule and, as a result, anyone accused of violating these rules should consider contacting a seasoned attorney.
For someone to be convicted of a failure to yield charge, the right of way under the applicable circumstances needs to be established. Therefore, determining who and where the right of way applied to is essential in these cases.
Many roads and roadway conditions can complicate this determination, but a good general rule for drivers to remember is that driving at an unlawful speed forfeits any right of way that might otherwise apply. This implicates the additional issue of proving another driver’s speed, separate from a driver’s default right of way. These circumstances might complicate a failure to yield traffic violation, which is important for anyone accused in Prince William County to understand.
Insurance companies usually conduct their own investigations for collision claims. Usually, the standard for who is at fault is lower in civil cases than it is for criminal or traffic offenses in court. Simply put, insurance companies can find that no one was at fault, that both parties were at fault, or that only one party was at fault.
Part of their investigation may consist of calling each driver and getting a statement of events. They then compare those statements against each other, as well as against the corresponding crash report filled out by an officer, and the damage done to each vehicle. While a determination of fault by an insurance company may not hold considerable weight as evidence in court for a traffic or criminal case, it can still amount to a significant factor for the officer or prosecutor assigned to litigate the case.
Insurance companies may initially side with the police during a collision investigation that includes a police report and charges. Therefore, if a person charged with a traffic offense intends to dispute their civil liability for the accident, disputing the infraction or criminal charge is important—because a conviction can be used as evidence against them in the corresponding insurance company investigations and civil suits. An experienced lawyer could advise their client on Prince William County traffic failure to yield infractions when helping them build their case.
The most serious form of failing to yield can constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor of reckless driving, which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine, as well as six demerit points with the Virginia DMV and up to 6 months of license suspension ordered by the court. Lesser forms of neglecting to yield are traffic infractions, which can be punished by hundreds of dollars in fines—but no jail time—and either 3 or 4 demerit points with the DMV.
Outside of these statutory and administrative penalties, a conviction for failure to yield the right of way can be used as evidence against a driver who is deemed to have been at fault in a car accident by insurance companies, or who is being sued for civil damages by an aggrieved driver involved in a collision with the accused.
Depending on the severity of an auto accident and the terms of one’s auto insurance policy coverage, the financial consequences of being found civilly liable can be excessive. When someone hires a legal representative, they can inform their client of the potential consequences for their specific failure to yield traffic violation in Prince William County.
If you have been charged with neglecting to give the right of way to another driver, reach out to a well-versed attorney to learn more about Prince William County failure to yield violations. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the penalties can be severe. Contact our office for a consultation on your case.
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