Welcome to the law office page on how to handle your traffic case and deal with your Fairfax County traffic court costs and other fees. Lawyer Wilfred W. Yeargan strives to keep you updated on the latest information revolving around traffic offenses. Read on to learn more:
There are many traffic violations in Virginia. These violations range in terms of cost and severity. The greater the violation, the more severe and expensive the penalty will be. These charges may include fines, court costs and/or license suspension. Similarly, your insurance rates might be raised after you commit a traffic offense. This is why you need an experienced traffic lawyer to review your case and present an effective strategy for reduction or dismissal in court.
Traffic Tickets in VA
You can pay your ticket and traffic offense fines in person, by mail or online in Virginia. Depending on the violation and the place where you received the traffic ticket, you might be required to appear in court. If the offense is pre-payable, there will be a box on the Virginia Uniform Summons which states "you may avoid coming to court only if this block is checked and you follow all the directions" on the ticket. For example, a Speeding ticket is pre-payable and the box will be checked by the officer on the summons.
The official Virginia Traffic Infractions Uniform Fines Schedule published by the Virginia Supreme Court may be found here.
One of your options is to fight the traffic ticket by pleading not guilty. The officer and prosecutor bear the burden of proof to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important to prepare before court by reviewing the statute that is charged and any relevant Virginia case law interpreting that statute. When the officer testifies, you have the right to cross-examine him or her about the facts. You also may testify yourself or call witnesses on your behalf to present facts related to the case. At the conclusion of the trial, you may make oral argument to the judge summarizing your defense and making a case for dismissal.
Some counties in Virginia allow you to discuss the case privately with the prosecutor (Commonwealth Attorney) without an attorney before the case is called for trial by the judge. This allows you to make an agreement with the prosecutor that may be accepted by the judge. Some counties do not allow you to discuss the case privately with the prosecutor without an attorney present. Fairfax and Loudoun Counties are examples of counties that do not allow you to speak with the prosecutor Pro Se (without counsel) before the case is called by the judge for trial.
It is important for you to sit down and think about the seriousness of your traffic charge, how it may impact your life, and whether you feel comfortable appearing in court to challenge your charges without an experienced lawyer.
Traffic Fines and Penalties
However you choose to pursue your case, it is highly recommended that you pay any fine or fee on time, and that you respond to the traffic ticket you received in a timely manner. Failure to do this may cause you to be found guilty in your absence, with heavy fines and/or license suspension. You may also receive an arrest warrant for Failure to Appear on a misdemeanor traffic charge. In General District Court, a person charged has only ten days to post an appeal or 60 days to file a Motion for Rehearing if they miss their court date.
Virginia law recently changed in 2019 and the DMV is no longer able to suspend your license for Failure to Pay Court Fines and Costs. However, the fines and court costs may still be subject to collection fees, interest at the rate of 17% and other charges by the state. The state gives you 90 days to pay your fine and court costs, and you may ask the clerk for additional time to pay for a small administrative fee. It is important to pay these fines and court costs off as soon as possible.
The traffic ticket fine will depend on how severe your violation was, and the county in which you received the ticket. To this end, you need to read through your ticket for the exact penalties and fees.
The Fairfax General District Court has a Fine Options Program (FOP) that allows someone to perform community service hours instead of paying the fine and court costs for their case. The community service is credited towards the amount due at the rate of $15 per hour. The program is manual labor (litter pick-up, painting, landscaping, building maintenance) and run by the Fairfax Sheriff's Office. The program requires an orientation program available on Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. Work is performed Wednesdays through Sundays. Interested persons may apply at the clerk's office for acceptance into the program. Click here for more information on the FOP.
Driving Record Points
In addition to fines, the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) may also add points against your driving record. These points vary from 3 to 6, and they depend on the nature of your violation. Points stay on a Virginia driving record for 2 years.
To review a comprehensive explanation of the DMV point system, please click on the website's Guide to Virginia DMV point System.
Check Your Driving Record
If there are demerit points on your record, chances are that you will be charged higher insurance rates. If you commit a serious traffic violation, your license might also be suspended. You can request a copy of your driving record from the DMV, and you will want to consult with a traffic attorney today to ensure that your driving record is accurate. The attorney can review the driving record and let you know when each conviction falls off under the Virginia DMV procedures.
Driver Improvement Course Clinics
When it becomes necessary, your traffic attorney will advise you to take a driving improvement course. The DMV offers driver improvement courses and clinics that you can easily sign up for online or in-person. You get +5 points for voluntarily completing a course. It may be done once every two years.
In some cases, you will be required to complete these courses by the DMV. This will depend on your driving history and on how many points you get within 12 or 18 months. However, these mandatory clinics will not remove convictions from your driving record. You do not get +5 points for completing a mandatory course, when required by the DMV.
Fighting Traffic Tickets in VA
If you believe that you are not guilty of the violation listed on your traffic ticket, you should seek the legal advice of a traffic attorney in Fairfax, VA. They will represent you in court and seek to have the charges dismissed or reduced to a much lesser offense, with less points, fines. etc.
Lost Traffic Tickets
If you lost your traffic ticket, you can still track and recover the information on the internet from the Virginia Court Case Information website. You should be able to search by name, case number, hearing date, and/or service/process. Make sure you enter the correct county name and your name as it is spelled on the ticket or summons. Click Here to Visit the Court Case Information System
Traffic Fines and Penalties for Commercial Vehicle Drivers
In case you have a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) and you are convicted of a driving/traffic offense, you must inform your employer a maximum of 30 days after you received the conviction. This is irrespective of whether or not you were driving the company commercial vehicle when the ticket was issued.
If you are convicted of the following violations, your CDL will be suspended/disqualified for at least 1 year:
- Operating non-commercial vehicles with BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 percent or higher
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher
- Refusing to take a chemical test
- Hit and Run (leaving the accident scene)
The CDL disqualification increases to three years if you were transporting hazardous materials during the offense.
Contact The Law Office of Wilfred W. Yeargan Today
If you have questions about how to defend your case or traffic fines and costs, contact The Law Office of Wilfred W. Yeargan. He will answer your questions in a free, initial consultation and present an effective strategy for defense of the charge.