Attorney Yeargan represents clients in traffic cases in the Virginia General District Courts, Circuit Courts and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts. Typical types of traffic cases include reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, failure to obey a highway sign, hit and run, driving without a license and driving after forfeiture of license. Traffic offenses in Virginia may be non-criminal traffic infractions or criminal charges, depending on the severity of the summons.
Read the Ticket You Receive Carefully
It is important to get legal advice about the ticket you receive. The Virginia Uniform Summons a driver is given at a traffic stop often does not fully describe the charge, how it was determined, or the possible penalties. For instance, a Summons may have a hand-written abbreviation of "R.D." on the law section filled out by the officer. This does not explain that the charge is actually a misdemeanor Reckless Driving summons that can result in a permanent criminal conviction and possible jail time or license suspension.
Or the ticket may say "S/R", meaning Stationary Radar. The average driver is unaware that this describes the method of speed observation. He or she is at a disadvantage when deciding how to defend the ticket. For this reason, Attorney Yeargan advises all drivers who are issued tickets in Virginia to call a lawyer and ask for clarification of the charge.
The ticket will list a Virginia Code Section that the officer alleges was violated. The listed Code Section can tell you if the charge is a misdemeanor (criminal offense) or traffic infraction (non-criminal offense). The ticket (Virginia Uniform Summons) may be issued on a white computer printout or a yellow hand-written paper. The white computer printout will list the charged Virginia code section directly under the court date at the top of the page. The yellow Summons will list the code section that the driver allegedly violated on the left hand side of the yellow ticket in the middle of the page. If the code section lists §46.2-852 or §46.2-862, for example, the ticket is for a misdemeanor Reckless Driving charge. The ticket will be for a traffic infraction of Speeding (non-criminal) if the ticket lists the code section as §46.2-870 or §46.2-878.
If the Summons is unclear or you can't decipher the hand-writing, you may check your case in the statewide directory for the correct court date or description of the charge. Please click here on the Virginia Court Case Information database. You will need to enter your name as it appears on the ticket and enter the correct county where you were charged. Contact an attorney if you still have questions about the charge or your court date!
Voluntary Court Appearance or Mandatory Court Appearance?
Traffic infractions in Virginia are pre-payable and the person charged is not required to attend court. The Virginia Uniform Summons will state under the signature line that "you may avoid coming to court only if this block is checked and all instructions on defendant's copy are followed." The block is checked for a traffic infraction and it may be paid by mail or online. You may plead guilty by sending in the Summons and paying the fine and court costs. You will then receive a conviction and points on your driving record.
However, you do not have to do that. You have the right to appear in court to challenge the ticket, or hire an attorney to appear in court on your behalf. This may help you avoid a conviction or significantly reduce the charge. Getting the charge reduced may avoid high fines, a blemish on your driving record, points, and insurance hikes. The attorney can appear in court on your behalf so you do not need to take time off work. This law firm drafts an authorization form for you to sign, allowing the attorney to resolve the case on your behalf.
If the block on the Summons is not checked, that means the charge is a misdemeanor level criminal offense. You must appear in court and/or have an attorney represent you for the offense. Examples of this include Driving on a Suspended License, Reckless Driving, No Valid Operator's License, Hit and Run, Driving Outside Restrictions on a Restricted License, and Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance. These charges may result in criminal convictions, jail time and/or license suspension. Do not ignore these tickets! Failure to attend court may result in you being found guilty in your absence or a warrant being issued for your physical arrest for Failure to Appear. If you have any doubt about what type of ticket you received, contact a traffic lawyer for a free consultation and he or she will tell you what to do.
Failure to Appear on a misdemeanor charge is a Class One misdemeanor under Virginia law. Virginia Code §19.2-128 makes it unlawful to willfully fail to appear on a criminal offense and it is punishable by zero to twelve months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00. Pay attention to your court date and time so that you do not miss the appearance! If you do have a problem attending court, request a continuance ahead of time by asking the clerk to delay the date. Or hire an attorney to manage the case and request a continuance.
Attorney Yeargan regularly gets calls from people who miss their misdemeanor level court date and a capias or warrant for their arrest has been issued. They are panicking and do not want to be arrested at their home or work. The law office advises them to immediately file a Motion to Vacate the Bench Warrant or Capias with the court to remove the Failure to Appear charge and set the original underlying offense (like Reckless Driving) for a new trial date. Do not delay, the sooner the motion is filed the higher the likelihood that it will be granted by the judge. The law office can help with this procedure if you are in this situation. Attorney Yeargan has helped numerous clients vacate a Capias Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Benefits of Hiring a Traffic Lawyer for Traffic Infractions and Misdemeanors
An experienced traffic lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed or reduced to a traffic infraction level offense. This can save you points on your license, criminal convictions, license suspensions, increased insurance rates, high fines, and even jail time. Dismissal or nolle prosequi of a charge makes you eligible for expungement of the case from the record and helps you keep a clean history.
In most cases the attorney can appear on your behalf with a signed authorization form, so you do not need to take off work to come to court! The service is done on a reasonable, flat fee basis so that your costs are contained within budget. It is a good idea to consult with a local lawyer to get a free, initial consultation about your case. This helps you understand the cost/benefit analysis associated with hiring a lawyer and what can be done to help your situation.
The Commonwealth of Virginia aggressively prosecutes individuals who drive over eighty-five (85) miles an hour or speed twenty (20) miles or more over the limit with reckless driving. This is considered a Class One Misdemeanor and can result in imposition of a jail sentence and/or suspension of one's drivers license. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol is also a Class One Misdemeanor and may result in a jail sentence, loss of license, enrollment in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program and/or fines.
Types of Cases Successfully Handled by the Law Firm
Attorney Yeargan has successfully defended thousands of individuals from traffic charges in Virginia. He has 21 years of experience in criminal and traffic matters. For more information on specific types of cases managed, review the following informational pages:
- Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License in Virginia
- Driving Without a License in Virginia
- Speeding Ticket Defense
- Following Too Closely
- First-time DUI in Virginia
- Second DUI in Virginia
- Third DUI in Virginia
- Felony DUI in Virginia
- Eluding Police in Virginia
- Reckless Driving Defense Strategies
- Virginia Reckless Driving Laws
- Virginia Reckless Driving Penalties
- Traffic Violation Expungement
- Failure to Appear on Traffic Misdemeanors
Contact a Fairfax County and Prince William County Traffic Defense Lawyer Today
It is important to have competent counsel to avoid the pitfalls of the traffic court system. Please contact Mr. Yeargan to schedule a free, initial appointment by calling or sending an online message to discuss the impact of your pending charge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He regularly appears in traffic and criminal courts throughout the state, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County (including Dumfries, Quantico, Occoquan, Haymarket, Woodbridge, Manassas), the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Warren County, Stafford County, Caroline County, the Northern Neck areas of Westmoreland and King George, New Kent County, Henrico County, the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and other areas.
Attorney Yeargan can often appear in court on behalf of a client so that they do not need to take off work. His goal in handling traffic charges is to get the ticket dismissed or significantly reduced to a lesser offense. This helps the client avoid serious traffic convictions, points on the driving record, and increased insurance rates.