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, at the discretion of the officer.
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 a Virginia Uniform Summons is not an admission of guilt to the charge. It is merely a recognizance to appear in court or address the charges. An attorney can appear in court on your behalf! All the client needs to do is sign an Authorization Form allowing the Attorney to appear in court and make an agreement to dispose of the case.
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 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 thirty (30) days to pay your fine and court costs. You can ask for an extension of that deadline to ninety (90) days. 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.
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. Once the Court receives an original certificate of course completion, the case is dismissed. Prince William County, for instance, participates in this program. Fairfax County does not participate in this program.
In counties where the deferral program is not available, Attorney Yeargan negotiates with the prosecutor 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. However, Speeding may still be reduced to non-moving violations like Defective Equipment and Sleeping on a Shoulder.
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. 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 the case get dismissed or significantly reduced to a lesser offense!
Contact Attorney Yeargan Today fora Free Consultation
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 charges reasonable flat fees to handle traffic infractions in the General District Courts. The law office has flexible hours and is available to meet on weekends.