Virginia Traffic Tickets Fines, Penalties, and Options
Whether you received your traffic ticket in Chesapeake, Lexington, or any other city in Virginia you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost you and what other penalties you might face. We’ve made it simple for you to figure out with this quick guide that covers all of the need-to-know details about traffic tickets and costs in Virginia. Plus, you’ll learn what you can do to improve your driving record.
Let’s get started!
Virginia Traffic Ticket Fines
It shouldn’t be hard to figure out what you’ll need to pay for a traffic ticket in Virginia. The fine should be printed right there on the ticket along with directions on how to pay it.
Speeding is one of the most common types of moving violations, and Virginia takes it very seriously. In general, a speeding ticket in will cost:
- $6 for every mile over the speed limit you were driving on the highway.
- $7 per mile over the speed limit when driving in a school or work zone.
- $8 per mile over the speed limit + $200 in a residential area.
You’ll also have to pay a $66-$86 processing fee on top of the fine. The good news for most drivers is that there’s a cap to the fines for some speeding tickets in Virginia.
On the flip side, if you’re ticketed for driving 20+ MPH over the speed limit you could face a reckless driving charge. You will be charged with a Class I misdemeanor for your first offense and will face a minimum $250 fine. The maximum penalty is $2,500 and 12 months in jail. A second reckless driving offense could be deemed a felony.
You can also be fined for driving too slow in Virginia. The fine for impeding traffic by slow speed is $30 plus the $66 processing fee.
Pre-court payments for a traffic ticket are due at least one day before the court date. Post-court payments are due within 40 days of your court date. If you fail to pay your fees by the due date:
- You could face interest charges.
- Your ticket could go to collections.
- A judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.
The general gist is that you should pay traffic tickets by the due date or you’ll face additional penalties that are even harsher.
The Virginia Point System
A fine isn’t the only thing you’ll receive with a moving violation. Like most states, Virginia uses a point system to record a driver’s performance.
Each moving violation is given a specific demerit point value that’s added to your driving record. The number of points the ticket carries depends on the severity of the violation. Values can range from 3-6 points, and the points will stay on your record anywhere from 2-11 years. However, a record of the offense itself could stay on your driving record even longer. Many offenses will be on your driving record for at least three years, but serious offenses may remain on your record permanently.
Here is a simple breakdown of some common Virginia traffic tickets and the point values they carry:
3 Demerit Points
- Speeding (1-9 MPH above the limit)
- Improper u-turn
- Improper passing
- Driving without a valid Virginia driver’s license
4 Demerit Points
- Reckless driving
- Unsafe passing
- Following too closely
- Improper signal
6 Demerit Points
- Speeding in excess of 80 MPH
- Road racing
- Driving with a suspended license
Now the good news. Unlike other states, Virginia also awards safe driving points that offset the demerit points. If you’re eligible, you may be able to earn up to 5 safe driver points by taking a driver improvement course. Typically, people who receive a 3-point and 4-point violation are eligible to take a driver improvement course.
Driver improvement courses are allowed by either the court or the Virginia DMV. Be sure that you’ve been approved and determine which type of course you’ve been approved to take before you sign up.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been ordered by the court to take the course, you might not be allowed to earn any safe driving points. It will be up to the local court to decide whether safe driving points should be given.
On the upside, you can also earn safe driving points by going one full calendar year without receiving any moving violations or license suspensions. The most safe driving points you can accumulate is five, which you can earn every 24 months.
Insurance Company Point System
On top of worrying about the DMV penalties, your insurance company might also have its own point system. Insurers use demerit points as a way of gauging how safe you are as a driver. The lower the number of points are, the better your premiums will be. If you’ve received a traffic ticket in Virginia, 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.
Earn Points and Lower Premiums With an Insurance Discount Course
Want to pad your driving record with extra points? Drivers can take an insurance discount course to earn safe driver points and insurance discounts in Virginia. Contact your insurance provider to find out if you’re eligible to save up to 10% by taking this course.
If you’re eligible, you can take our online Virginia Insurance Discount Course and in eight hours you’ll be cruising towards lower monthly premiums.
Indirect Consequences of Receiving a Traffic Ticket
Paying the fine and getting demerit points are the direct consequences of getting a traffic ticket in Virginia. However, there are also indirect consequences that can have a negative impact for quite a while.
Auto Insurance Rate Increases
There’s another indirect consequence of receiving a traffic ticket – your auto insurance rates could go up.
Auto insurance carriers use your driving record to determine the rate of your premium. Demerit points on your record from traffic tickets 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, take advantage of it.
Drivers License Suspension or Revocation
The more demerit points on your record, the higher the chances are that your license will be suspended or revoked. In addition, the state has the ability to suspend or revoke your driving privileges if you are convicted of certain serious moving violations. Violations that could result in a suspended license include:
- Failing to pay your court fees
- Failure to complete a court-ordered DIP clinic
- 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 after just one charge.
Penalties for Commercial Drivers License Holders
If you have a Virginia commercial drivers license (CDL), you should know that the DMV could disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle if you are convicted of certain traffic offenses. Major violations that will likely lead to disqualification include:
- 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
- Making a false statement on your CDL application
A serious moving violation could result in a 1-year disqualification of your commercial driving privileges, or three 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 cost you your CDL include:
- Texting while driving a commercial vehicle
- Speeding 15 MPH over the limit
- Reckless driving
- Improper lane changes
- Traffic violation involving a fatal crash
- Driving a commercial vehicle without your CDL present
You could also receive a 60-day or 120-day disqualification for one or multiple violations within a 3-year period.
Options for Dealing With a Traffic Ticket in VA
There are two ways to deal with Virginia traffic tickets: you can plead guilty and pay the fine, or you can plead not guilty and attempt to get your ticket dismissed.
You know you were in the wrong so you’ve decided to accept the consequences. 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. Your fine can be paid through the mail or online.
You may be eligible to take a Virginia driver improvement course to earn safe driver points and reduce your fine, but this is up to the court to decide.
Pleading Not Guilty
Do you disagree with the traffic ticket charges? Does the fine not fit the crime? Citations and points on your driving record can affect your finances, your driving privileges and more. 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 Not Guilty?
If you’re found not guilty of the traffic violation, you won’t have to pay the 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 shortly after the verdict to be sure no points were added to your driving record.
Keep in mind that if you win your case, (typically) your traffic ticket isn’t fully dismissed. Instead, you are keeping the points that are assigned to the violation from being placed on your driving record.
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 amount depends on the violation)
- Potentially have your driving privileges taken away (this could mean a suspended license or license revocation)
- Possibly be ordered to participate in driver improvement education
We can’t help you in court, but I Drive Safely can help if you’re required to take a Virginia driver improvement course or if you want to earn some additional safe driving points in case you get a ticket down the road.
Save Money and Points by Completing a Virginia Driver Improvement Course
You may have committed a moving violation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move forward. There’s a simple solution that will save you money and demerit points – a driver improvement course.
The I Drive Safely Virginia driver improvement course is:
- 100% online – you can complete the course at home or on the go
- Approved by the Virginia DMV and court system
- Guaranteed or your money back
If you’ve received a court order or requirement from the DMV to complete a driver improvement course, I Drive Safely has you covered. We’ll even electronically submit your certificate of completion with the DMV within 24 hours of finishing the course.
Virginia drivers that aren’t mandated to take driver improvement education can also benefit from voluntarily taking the course.
Reduce the Penalties
It may be possible to get the traffic ticket fines and/or demerit points reduced by completing a driver improvement course. The court will decide if a penalty reduction will be awarded. In some cases you may be able to get a Virginia traffic ticket dismissed.
Get 5 Safe Driving Points Added to Your Record
With a driver improvement course you could actually have more points on your driving record than you did before receiving a traffic ticket. Completing the course will add five safety points to your record, offsetting a ticket worth three or four demerit points.
Get Up to 10% Off Your Auto Insurance
Completing a driver improvement course won’t just prevent auto insurance rate hikes. It can actually lower your premiums by as much as 10%. Discounts are at the discretion of insurance providers, so contact your insurer to see if you qualify.