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Virginia Traffic Tickets and Violations
Whether you were pulled over for speeding, or you cut that red light a little too close, getting a Virginia traffic ticket is no fun. Never fear - you'll find all the basic info you need to clear your Virginia driving record and prevent a costly insurance hike right here.
If you received a traffic ticket in Virginia, your first step is to decide how you're going to plead: guilty or not guilty. Pleading guilty will require you to pay your fine by the date noted on your citation. Speeding ticket fines might be different than running a red light, so be sure to read your ticket or contact the court to determine how much you owe. Your fine can be paid through the mail or online. With a guilty conviction, both the violation and demerit points will be added to your Virginia driving record. You may be eligible to take a Virginia driver improvement course to earn safe driver points, or to reduce your fine, but this is up to the court to decide.
If you plead not guilty, you can fight your Virginia traffic ticket in court either in person or by hiring an attorney to represent you. Fighting your ticket can be challenging, but if you win your case, you will not be required to pay any fines or court fees, and the ticket will not be added to your record. But if you lose your case, you'll be required to pay all associated fines and penalties, as well as your attorney's fees.
If you plead not guilty, you can fight your Virginia traffic ticket in court either in person or by hiring an attorney to represent you. Fighting your ticket can be challenging, but if you win your case, you will not be required to pay any fines or court fees, and the ticket will not be added to your record. But if you lose your case, you'll be required to pay all associated fines, as well as your attorney's fees.
Virginia traffic violations carry specific demerit point values. The number of points the ticket carries depends on the severity of the violation. Values can range from 3-6 points, and the violation can stay on your record from 3-11 years.
Here is a simple breakdown of some common Virginia traffic tickets and the point values they carry:
- Speeding (1-9 MPH above the limit), improper u-turn, improper passing, no Virginia driver's license, etc. - 3 points
- Reckless driving, unsafe passing, following too closely, improper signal, etc. - 4 points
- Speeding in excess of 80 MPH, racing, DUI, manslaughter, driving on suspended license, etc. - 6 points
Now the good news: if you're eligible, you may be able to earn up to 5 safe driver points by taking a driver improvement course. These courses are assigned by either the court or the Virginia DMV. Be sure that you've been approved and determine which type of course you've been assigned before you sign up.
A traffic violation conviction in Virginia will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and both the citation as well as demerit points will go on your driving record. It's important to check your Virginia driving record to see how many points you've been assessed. If you accumulate 18 demerit points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months, you could face a suspended license.
Even if you take a driver improvement clinic, you will still see the citation on your record. The benefit of taking a course is to earn safe driving points to counteract any negative demerit points you may have received. This can help prevent costly insurance increases and avoid either a suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
You can also earn safe driving points by going for one full calendar year without receiving any violations or license suspensions. The largest amount of safe driving points you can earn is 5, which you can earn every 24 months.
On top of worrying about the Virginia DMV penalties, your insurance company might also have its own point system. Again, it's a good idea to know what your driving record looks like so you'll have an idea of whether you're at risk for an insurance premium increase. Virginia drivers can take an insurance discount course, similar to the driver improvement course, to earn safe driver points and insurance discounts in Virginia. Contact your insurance provider to find out if you're eligible to save money or reduce insurance points by taking this course.