Speeding Ticket in Virginia
Seeing those red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror is never a good feeling, and dealing with the legal process that follows can be a hassle too. There are two ways to deal with Virginia traffic tickets: you can plead guilty and either pay the fine or plea bargain for a lesser charge, or you can plead not guilty and attempt to “dismiss” your traffic ticket in Virginia.
Keep in mind that if you win your case, you are (typically) not actually dismissing your Virginia traffic ticket. Instead, you are keeping the points that are assigned to the violation from being placed on your driving record. However, citations and points on your driving record can affect your finances, your driving privileges and more, so if you decide to fight your ticket, here’s what you need to do:
- Let the court know: You must show up to court to enter your not guilty plea. Your summons will tell you what date and time you must appear.
- Think about hiring an attorney: You don’t have to hire a traffic ticket lawyer, but if it makes sense for your case and budget, doing so can make the legal process a lot smoother.
- Prepare for your hearing: Plan what you are going to say to the judge, have questions ready if you have witnesses to call, and be ready to present your case in court.
- Plead your case: Be as professional as possible; you want to make a favorable impression. After listening to both sides, the judge will decide whether or not you are guilty. The verdict will determine what you do next.
What Happens if the Judge Finds You Guilty?
If you are found to be guilty, there are several consequences that you will have to face. In addition to the court fees you paid, and legal fees if applicable, you will:
- Pay the traffic ticket fine
- Have demerit points added to your driving record (the number depends on the violation)
- Have your driving privileges taken away, depending on the circumstances (this could mean a suspended license in Virginia or license revocation)
- Possibly be ordered to take a driver improvement clinic
What Happens if the Judge Finds You Not Guilty?
If you are not found guilty of the traffic violation, you will not have to pay the citation fine. You will only be responsible for court fees and any legal fees, if you hired a lawyer. It’s important that you check your driving record to be sure that the ticket wasn’t added to your record. A violation can make your insurance rate go up, and the added points could even lead to license suspension. Mistakes can be made, but your driving record is one thing you want to be error-free.
How to Deal with Points on Your Driving Record
If you do end up with demerit points, you don’t have to be stuck with them. If you are eligible, you may be able to enroll in a driver improvement clinic to earn 5 “safe driving points,” which will counteract up to 5 points on your driving record. The state of Virginia also awards drivers one safe driving point for every year they go without getting any violations or suspensions.
So, being a good driver is really the key to avoiding trouble. If you drive safely, you’ll avoid Virginia traffic violations, which will help keep you and other road users out of harm’s way.