Traffic Violations Attorney in Lynchburg, Virginia
Traffic laws are taken very seriously and strictly enforced to make the roads of Virginia safe. However, it is not always possible to avoid violating the law even if you consider yourself to be a law-abiding and careful driver. When you get caught violating a traffic law, the consequences can include fines, demerit points added to your record, and even possible incarceration, among others.
If you have been pulled over and issued a citation or charged with a criminal offense for violating traffic laws, reach out to E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law. Gordon is a skilled traffic violations attorney serving Lynchburg, Virginia, and Blackstone, Virginia, who can help you fight back against the potentially life-changing repercussions of a traffic violation. Gordon also serves Nottoway County, Bedford County, Amherst County, Charlotte County, Campbell County, and Prince Edward County. `
Traffic Violations in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes three types of traffic offenses:
Traffic infractions. Although traffic infractions are not punished as severely as misdemeanors and felonies, they can still carry fines and result in demerit points being added to your license. The penalties associated with a traffic infraction typically go away, while misdemeanor and felony convictions can stay on the driver’s record forever. Common examples of infractions in Virginia are speeding, following too closely, running a red light, and others.
Misdemeanors. While a traffic infraction is a public code violation, misdemeanors – and felonies, for that matter – are a violation of the criminal statute. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and hefty fines. Common examples of traffic misdemeanors are reckless driving, driving without being licensed, and driving on a suspended license.
Felonies. Felonies are considered to be the most serious crimes. Typically, people convicted of a felony are sentenced to serve time in a state correctional facility. Felonies cannot be expunged with the passage of time and stay on the person’s record forever. Examples include leaving the scene of an accident resulting in someone’s injury or death, a third DUI conviction, manslaughter, and others.
Regardless of how minor or severe the traffic violation may seem, you need to seek legal advice from a traffic violations attorney to learn about your options to contest the charges or minimize the consequences.
The Point System in Virginia
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, traffic violations are grouped into three categories based on the amount of demerit points allocated to each of them. These points are tracked by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Three-point violations. This is the least severe group of traffic violations that include citations for speeding (up to 9 mph above the speed limit), improper turning, failing to signal, and other minor violations.
Four-point violations. This group is in the middle in terms of its severity. Examples of four-point traffic violations include speeding between 10 and 19 mph above the speed limit, following too closely, and passing when unsafe, among others.
Six-point violations. This is the most severe group of traffic violations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Examples of these violations include driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, reckless driving by speed, and other serious violations.
In addition to criminal penalties, you can also face an administrative revocation or suspension of your driver’s license for accumulating too many points. For adult drivers in Virginia, an automatic suspension occurs after getting 12 demerit points in a year or 18 points in 24 months. Demerit points are typically removed two years from the date of the offense.
Unlike other states, Virginia allows drivers to accumulate the so-called safe driving points to offset the “bad” points. For example, completing a driver improvement course can help you get up to five “good” points. Going 12 months without a license suspension or receiving citations for moving violations can also earn you safe driving points.
When being accused of a traffic violation, many people think they should pay the fine and move on. However, this strategy could result in hefty fines, criminal charges, and incarceration, not to mention the loss of driving privileges. As a seasoned traffic violations attorney, Gordon can help you fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact his office in Lynchburg or Blackstone and request a case evaluation.