Speeding tickets in Virginia are very common and Attorney Yeargan has successfully defended clients throughout the state. Speeding is charged as a traffic infraction, not a criminal offense. However, it can carry high fines, points on your license, and insurance penalties that hike rates for years to come. Please note that Speeding twenty (20) miles or more over the limit may be charged as misdemeanor Reckless Driving or the non-criminal traffic infraction of Speeding. The officer has discretion whether to charge a Speeding 20+ offense as a misdemeanor or traffic infraction.
Read your ticket carefully to make sure the ticket is charged as a Speeding traffic infraction. Common Virginia code sections for Speeding include §46.2-870, §46.2-874 and §46.2-875. Reckless Driving by Speed is a misdemeanor and charged under Virginia Code §46.2-862.
Speeding is charged by the Officer or Trooper issuing a Virginia Uniform Summons to the driver, with a pledge to appear or make arrangements to pay the ticket. Signing the ticket to acknowledge receipt is not an admission of guilt to the charge. It is merely a recognizance to appear in court or address the charges. A driver given a ticket is required to sign (do not refuse or you may be arrested).
An attorney can appear in court on your behalf on a traffic infraction. The client may sign an Authorization Form allowing the Attorney to appear in court and make an agreement to dispose of the case. This saves the client from having to take time off work or away from family.
Speeding fines are generally six ($6) dollars per mile over the limit. If Speeding in a school or work zone, the fine increases to seven ($7) per mile over the limit. Get caught Speeding in a Residential Area and the fine balloons to $200 plus eight ($8) dollars per mile over the limit! The courts now allow someone convicted of a traffic charge up to 90 days to pay their fines and court costs. There is also an option to request additional time to pay from the clerk's office.
The official Virginia Traffic Infraction Uniform Fines Schedule published by the Virginia Supreme Court may be found here.
There is a Fine Options Program (FOP) in Fairfax County that allows you to perform community service in lieu of paying your fine and court costs. The community service is credited at the rate of $15 per hour. The program is run by the Fairfax Sheriff's Office and you may apply at the Fairfax County General District Court Clerk's Office.
Speeding Court Costs
Court costs for Speeding average between $60 to $67 dollars. If you pay by credit card for your fine and court costs, be prepared to pay an extra 4% processing fee. This can be avoided if you pay by cash or check. The Court gives you ninety (90) days to pay your fine and court costs. You can ask the clerk for additional time to pay for a small administrative fee. If not paid, the Court will assess collection fees of 17%.
Points for Speeding
Speeding convictions also carry Division of Motor Vehicle points. Speeding 1-9 over the limit is three (3) points. Speeding 10-19 over the limit is four (4) points. Speeding twenty or more miles over the limit (non-Reckless) is six (6) points. The DMV points fall off a driving record after two years. The conviction itself falls off a record after five (5) years. The Virginia DMV point system does not apply to out-of-state drivers. The conviction is reported to the state where you are licensed through the Interstate Drivers License Compact, and that state assigns points based on its system. Please be aware that some states, like North Carolina, may administratively suspend a driver's license when notified of a Speeding conviction in other states. It is best to contact a lawyer with experience in the county you are charged in to get advice about the impact on your license.
Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) and Speeding Charges
The Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) classifies Speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the posted limit as a "Serious Violation" for drivers with Commercial Drivers Licenses. Other types of convictions considered Serious Violations by the DMV include Texting While Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Following Too Closely, and Improper/Erratic Lane Change.
Two convictions within a three year period for Serious Violations like Speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit results in a 60 day disqualification of the CDL privilege. Three or more Serious Violation convictions within three years results in a 120 day disqualification of the CDL privilege. Please read the list of Virginia DMV CDL Disqualifications.
For this reason, the law office advises CDL holders to protect their livelihood by hiring a lawyer to defend Speeding charges. This may help you get the charge dismissed or reduced to an offense that is not a "Serious Violation." Cumulative convictions may jeopardize your driving career!
Possible Dismissal or Reduction of Your Speeding Charge
Do not prepay your ticket. Prepaying a ticket is an admission of guilt and a conviction will be reported to the DMV. It is advisable to get a consultation with a competent and experienced traffic defense attorney about your case. There are many ways a lawyer can help you avoid a Speeding conviction.
It is possible in many counties to get the Speeding charge deferred for dismissal by agreement with the prosecutor (Commonwealth Attorney). This agreement allows the charge to be dismissed upon completion of a driver improvement course and payment of court costs. A conviction is thus never reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles and insurance rates are not affected. If the attorney can negotiate this agreement, the case is continued and the client is given a couple of months to complete the course and pay the costs. The law office forwards the certificate to the clerk of court by letter. Once the Court receives an original certificate of course completion, the case is dismissed.
Prince William County participates in the deferral program for dismissal. Fairfax County does not participate in this program.
In counties where the deferral program is not available, Attorney Yeargan negotiates with the prosecutor or officer for reduction of the offense to a Non-Moving Violation or County Code Violation. Non-Moving Violations like Defective Equipment (§46.2-1003) or Sleeping on the Shoulder (Virginia Code §46.2-830.1) carry no points but do go on the driving record. They generally do not raise insurance rates and the only punishment for conviction is a fine and court costs. This can help you avoid three to six points for a speeding conviction on your driving record.
A County Code violation, like Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention, does not go on the driving record and carries zero points. For example, Fairfax County's statute for Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention is 82-4-24. It has no similar code section under state law and therefore, the DMV is never advised of the conviction. Your insurance company will not be informed by the DMV of the conviction. The only punishment for conviction is a fine and court costs. This can help you avoid three to six points for a Speeding conviction on your driving record and enormous hikes in insurance rates.
Please be aware that reduction to a county code violation such as Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention is not available when the charge is written by a State Police Officer (Trooper). The judges won't accept these agreements because the fines are distributed to the state according to the code section listed on the conviction. However, Speeding may still be reduced to non-moving violations like Defective Equipment and Sleeping on a Shoulder when the ticket is written by a Trooper.
The code offense Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention is available in many jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County, the Town of Vienna, Loudoun County, the City of Fairfax, and Arlington County. Experienced attorneys know that clients are generally best helped by getting the Speeding charge dismissed or reduced to this traffic infraction. You may review the case results page of this website to see how often the law office amends charges to this code section.
However, there is one jurisdiction which makes Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention a misdemeanor: Arlington County. It is a bad idea to amend Speeding charges or traffic infractions in Arlington County to Failure to Pay Full Time and Attention. It makes the conviction a criminal offense. The offense in Arlington is actually punishable by a fine and up to ten days in jail! It is a better strategy to seek reduction of the Speeding charge to Defective Equipment (a traffic infraction) in Arlington.
If the attorney you hire does not know the code sections well in the jurisdiction of your case, he or she is stepping into a minefield. Make sure the lawyer you retain has the practical experience and knowledge of the law needed to obtain the best result. Inadequate preparation or lawyer incompetence may harm your driving record in the long run.
Calibration Defenses Related to Speeding Charges
Lidar (laser) and Radar based Speeding tickets issued by Police Officers must be calibrated within six (6) months of the date of the stop. Section §46.2-882 of the Virginia Code states the requirements for officer calibrations. Attorney Yeargan closely examines the calibrations to make sure the Virginia law is followed. Your ticket may get dismissed if the calibrations are not correctly issued and executed.
If the stop was done by Pace, the Officer's observations of the stop are challenged. The speedometer calibration of the Officer's vehicle used to measure the speed of the stopped car is closely examined. This can lead to possible defenses at trial that can help get the charge get dismissed or seriously reduced!
There are many technical defenses to the use and operation of radar and lidar devices that are useful in court to help the client get charges dismissed or reduced.
Attorney Yeargan recommends in some cases that clients get a Speedometer Calibration of the vehicle from a reputable mechanic. The calibration may be done by a mechanic who has a dynamometer. It is recommended when the vehicle is older than five years, has high mileage, and/or the speed of the stop was very high. The Speedometer Calibration is a notarized statement that explains what the speedometer displays at certain measurable speed intervals: 40 mph, 50 mph, 60 mph, 70 mph, etc. This will indicate whether there was a discrepancy between the vehicle speed measured by the officer and the actual speed the car was traveling. It is good mitigation evidence and may help get the case dismissed or significantly reduced to a lesser offense! Advanced Automotive in Chantilly, Virginia or M&M Collision in Fairfax does a good job with vehicle calibrations.
Contact Attorney Yeargan Today for a Free Consultation - Experienced Speeding Representation in Fairfax County, Prince William County and Other Locations Throughout Virginia
If you need help with a pending Speeding charge, contact the Law Office of Wilfred W. Yeargan. He will help evaluate your case and give free advice about how to handle the matter. The law office is extremely experienced in the traffic courts of Virginia and has excellent working relationships with the judges and prosecutors in the state. He regularly appears in traffic and criminal courts throughout the state, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County (including Woodbridge, Haymarket, Manassas, Manassas Park), the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Warren County, Greensville County, Shenandoah County, Stafford County, the Northern Neck areas of Westmoreland and King George, New Kent County, Henrico County, the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and other areas. The law office charges reasonable flat fees to handle traffic infractions in the General District Courts and offers flexible hours with weekend appointments.