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Traffic Tickets fine and Penalties in Virginia
Whether you received your traffic ticket in Chesapeake or Lexington, you're probably wondering how much it's going to cost you and what other penalties you might face. We've made it simple by outlining the basic details on traffic tickets fines and costs in Virginia, plus what you can do to improve your driver record.
Your traffic ticket should have the fine for your offense printed right on it, so what you'll need to pay should not be a mystery. Keep in mind that Virginia takes speeding very seriously. In general, you can expect to pay $5 for every mile over the limit you were driving. This fee jumps up to $6 per mile over when driving in a school or work zone, and $7 per mile over in a residential area, with an additional $200 tacked on!
If you are ticketed for driving 20 MPH over the speed limit, you'll face a reckless driving charge and will be required to pay a fee for 3 years. You will be charged with a misdemeanor for your first offense and will face a $350 fine. A second reckless driving offense is a felony and requires you to pay a $1,000 fine annually for 3 years.
On the flip side, you can be fined $30 if you're caught driving too slowly. In addition to the fine associated with your actual offense, Virginia courts add a $62 fee to every traffic ticket conviction.
Traffic ticket fines are due within 40 days of your citation. If you fail to pay your fees by the due date you could face interest charges, your ticket could go to collections, and a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.
Across the state of Virginia, every traffic offense is assessed demerit points. Whether you get caught speeding just a little over the limit or really pushing the pedal to the metal, you could end up with 3 to 6 demerit points added to your driving record.
These demerit points will remain on your record for 2 years, while the ticket itself could stay on there even longer. If you're eligible, the court may allow you to take a Virginia driver improvement course (DIP). Three- or four-point violations are typically eligible to earn safe driving points that will offset the demerit points. Unfortunately, if you've been ordered by the court to take a DIP course, you will not be allowed to earn any safe driving points.
Auto insurance carriers use your driving record to determine the rate of your premium. Demerit points on your record from a traffic ticket can result in a rate increase. It's important to pay attention to your driving record, and if you have the opportunity to earn safe driving points by taking a driver improvement course, you should take advantage of it.
The more demerit points on your record, the higher your chances of finding yourself with a suspended or revoked driver's license. In addition, the state has the ability to suspend or revoke your driving privileges if you are convicted of certain serious offenses. Violations that could result in a suspended license include: failing to pay your court fees, failure to complete a court-ordered DIP clinic, or too many demerit points on your record.
A conviction for driving while intoxicated, hit and run, or voluntary/involuntary manslaughter involving a motor vehicle could result in the state revoking your driving privileges.
If you have a Virginia Commercial Driver's License (CDL), you should know that the DMV could disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle if you are convicted of certain traffic offenses. A major violation – such as driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, refusal to take a blood or breath test during a DUI stop, hit-and-run involving a commercial vehicle, or making a false statement on your CDL application – will result in a 1-year disqualification of your commercial driving privileges, or 3 years if you are transporting hazardous materials. A second conviction of any of the above, as well as a conviction for using a commercial vehicle in the distribution or manufacture of illegal drugs, will result in a lifetime disqualification.
Other crimes that could risk your commercial driving privileges include texting while driving a commercial vehicle, speeding 15 MPH over the limit, reckless driving, improper lane changes, a traffic violation involving a fatal crash, or driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL. You could receive a 60- or 120-day disqualification for one or multiple serious violations within a 3-year period.