People do not realize that Virginia is incredibly tough on speeding. After a certain speed, drivers are charged with a criminal offense instead of just a traffic offense, which regularly surprises a lot of out-of-state drivers. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding speeding tickets in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
If this page does not answer all of your questions, you may want to consult with an experienced speeding ticket lawyer in Virginia.
There are many ways the officer can show that they were recording your speed. They have different types of equipment especially made to record driving speed, which each officer can demonstrate in court that it was done properly, will be admissible. For example, a driver’s speed can be measured by stationary radar, moving radar, LIDAR (laser technology), or by pace.
The officer is required to testify how they determined your speed and to testify as to the accuracy and reliability of this method. For example, he must first specify what equipment he used to determine your speed, which is usually radar or LIDAR, then he has to testify about the equipment’s most recent calibration. The officer is also supposed to have the certificate of calibration with him.
Without following these steps properly, then the officer’s testimony will not hold water usually. Because they have to go through all of these steps and because they are officers of the court, an officer’s word is deemed to be very reliable. A good defense is to impeach the officer’s credibility by poking holes in his ability to recall the facts of the case.
Yes. You may pre-pay your ticket online through the court website. You may also send in a check through the mail or you may go to the court in person on a court date and pay the fine then. While prepaying is certainly an easy option, it is not necessarily a good choice. Prepaying a ticket is an admission of guilt to the charge. It removes the possibility of having the charge reduced or dismissed.
A conviction can cause insurance rates to go up, and if you end up getting a subsequent charge within a short time period, then you also risk losing your license. The better option is to appear in court and fight the charge in an effort to have it reduced to a lesser charge with lesser penalties, or dismissed altogether.
You also need to be 100 percent sure that what you are charged with is not reckless driving, because it is not an option to prepay for this offense, as it is a much more serious charge that you would certainly benefit from having a lawyer helping you with.
It is not mandatory to appear in court for a speeding ticket. However if you want the opportunity to fight the charge, then you must show up to court, or hire an attorney to appear for you. You may also prepay the fine for the ticket instead, which means that you are admitting guilt to the charge and giving up your right to a trial. It is important to distinguish between a speeding ticket and a reckless driving charge here, because a reckless driving charge is a criminal charge and appearing in court is mandatory for criminal charges.
If you do not appear for a reckless driving ticket, then it is likely that the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and then you will have to answer to the additional charge of failing to appear.
A “reckless driving by speed” charge means that the driver is accused of driving over 80 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit, or the driver is driving 20 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Reckless driving is a type of speeding, but it is charged as a misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense, not a traffic offense as general speeding is.
Just because an officer hands you something that looks like a speeding ticket does not mean that a reckless driving charge is a simple, payable ticket. It can be a serious criminal matter.
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