You weren’t paying attention to the signs when you hit the gas and cruised down the road. Now you have a ticket and need to know what to do next. There are several speeding ticket options available to you. How you handle your ticket will depend on what the ticket is for. If you are unsure of how to handle the situation, it can help to speak with a Virginia traffic lawyer. These individuals dedicate their careers to knowing and understanding the laws that apply to drivers in Virginia.
Consider these five options when deciding if hiring a lawyer is right for you.
1. Speeding or Reckless Driving
Not all speeding tickets are actually for speeding. If you receive a ticket for driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or over 85 miles per hour, then you receive a reckless driving ticket. This is not a typical speeding ticket because it is actually a criminal offense. If you pay the ticket and move on, you’ve actually pled guilty to a criminal offense. Virginia does not allow for expungement, so it will forever be on your record. An attorney can explain your options and possibly argue for a reduction in charges to avoid criminal consequences.
The stakes are higher for a reckless driving ticket. It is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The possible penalties include loss of license and jail time. It can also have a negative impact on any security clearances you may have. Some insurance companies raise their rates more for drivers with a reckless driving ticket than they do for drivers with a DUI on their record.
2. Ticket Negotiations
It isn’t just reckless driving tickets that a lawyer could negotiate on your behalf. Even minor speeding tickets could be negotiated. This could result in reduced fines and fewer traffic violation points on your license. In some situations, the ticket could get dismissed completely. Experienced local attorneys regularly represent clients in front of traffic court judges. They understand how to present their client’s defense in the best way possible.
3. Don’t Lose Driving Privileges
While you could go in front of the judge and hope for the best, this may not get you the result that you want. It can help to have an attorney go to court with you. They know what to ask for and how to ask for it. This can give you a better opportunity to retain your driving privileges.
The Virginia points system is designed to punish drivers who violate the motor vehicle laws by accumulating points.
- 3 Points: Speeding at 1-9 mph over the limit or disobeying certain traffic signs;
- 4 Points: Speeding at 10-19 mph over the limit or following too closely; and,
- 6 Points: Street racing or driving on a suspended license.
Accumulating 18 points in a year or 24 points in two years results in a suspended license for 90 days. This can put a serious restriction on your lifestyle if you need to drive to work or take your children to school. They can also cause your insurance rates to rise. A lawyer can work with the court to determine an acceptable punishment that won’t hinder your ability to care for your family.
4. Commercial License
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), then you are subject to stricter regulations and laws. The punishments for your infractions can be significantly harsher. If you need to maintain your CDL for your work, then the stakes are high. A lawyer can represent your best interests and help you protect your CDL.
5. Out of State Drivers
Drivers who live out of state and face a ticket in Virginia can find the Virginia traffic court process frustrating and intimidating. A local Virginia attorney can explain the difference between the law in the driver’s home state and the laws in Virginia. Hiring a lawyer gives the driver local representation so that they may not have to return to the state to fight the ticket.