A traffic ticket can be intimidating, especially in Virginia. The point system ensures that the issue doesn’t go away even if you prepay your ticket. But it does not have to be completely difficult to navigate.
Virginia ticket fines are pre-determined by Virginia Traffic Law Codes. You’ll find the code listed on your ticket! In fact, we’ll show you the common codes below.
In general, the base fee will depend on how many miles you were going over the speed limit, and where. While it is not a perfect science, you can expect your fee to be:
You need to account for court fees, which average around $64 plus more for each additional charge. If you pay your fees and fines with a credit or debit card, there is also a 4% convenience fee.
If you fail to appear in court, you could accrue an additional fee if you do not have a good reason for your absence.
If you hire an attorney, costs will vary depending on their personal fees.
Some Districts have a community service program where you can do volunteer work in exchange for some of your fines and penalties. You can look up your Virginia court district’s fee policies on their website.
A traffic ticket does not just affect your pocketbook. Here are a few other things a bad driving history can complicate for you in the future.
Whenever you are convicted of a driving violation, the courts will assign you a number of demerit points based on the type of violation. These points stay on your record for years! If you accumulate too many points, your license will be suspended or revoked.
Your driving record can work against you when it comes time for renewal. Insurance companies take the demerit points on your driving record into account, which can raise your premiums.
If you have a job that revolves around driving, you could be let go. Either because the company sees you as a hazard or because the insurance premiums they have to pay raise too high. In some instances, the type of convictions on your driving record can also bar you from employment. For example, some companies will not hire or maintain an employee with a felony on their record.
Every time you get a fine or a ticket, the DMV assigns you points on your record. The amount is affected by how fast you go, along with other factors. Most violations stay on your record for 3-11 years, a few even stay on your permanent record! Here are the general guidelines below:
If you accumulate a certain number of points in a time frame, or you commit certain traffic violations, you have your license suspended or revoked. It can also come with other penalties!
Virginia outlines their penalty system on page 27 of their DMV Driver’s Handbook. The penalties will vary depending on your age.
If you are under 18, your penalties are based on the number of times you violated Virginia traffic laws in total. If you are convicted of a demerit point violation, or failure to use safety belts, you have 90 days to complete a driver improvement clinic. If you fail to do so, your licence will be suspended until you complete the course and pay a reinstatement fee.
On your second violation, the DMV will suspend your driving privileges for 90 days. If you are caught a third time, your driving privileges will be completely revoked for one year or until you turn 18, whichever is longer.
If you are between 18 and 19, you will need to undergo a Driver Improvement Clinic the first time you are convicted of a seatbelt or demerit point worthy violation. After that, the system for people over 18 applies.
If you collect 12 points in 12 months, or 18 points in 24 months, you will be required to take a Driver Improvement Clinic course within 90 days. If you do not complete the course in the time frame, your driving privileges will be suspended.
If you accumulate 18 points in a year, or 24 points in two years, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for 90 days and you will have to complete a Driver Improvement Course.
There are two ways to remove the points- though the convictions will stay on their record for three to eleven years, depending on the severity.
Every April, the DMV will give a safe point if you drive the whole year without accidents and violations. You can accumulate up to five safe points in this manner.
You can earn up to five safe driver points by taking a Driver Safety Course. You are not guaranteed these points if the court orders you to take the course. Even if you are allowed to accumulate points, you have to present the court papers to the Driver’s safety clinic for it to count.
Out of state visitors are treated differently by Virginia. Rather than assigning points, they outsource your judgement to your home state. They will handle it depending on the severity of the issue according to the law where your license is from.
The first thing you should do is look at the price on the ticket (it should be clearly stated) and the charges. In most cases, you can pay the fine online or by mail, but this will be the equivalent of pleading guilty to the charge. In addition, you are not allowed to pre-pay if the charge is for reckless driving.
If you do not believe that you are guilty of the violation on your ticket, you can plead not guilty and defend your claim in court. You can find more details on the Virginia State Court Website. If you decide to dispute, you should hire a traffic ticket attorney to help represent you in court.
Speeding ticket fines in Virginia can be nerve wracking, and they have long-lasting repercussions if you accumulate too many points. But if you practice safe driving, you will vastly reduce the chances that you will need to deal with one!
The best defense against a Virginia traffic ticket is knowing your road laws inside and out. Check out our summarized Virginia DMV guide and practice tests for regular refreshers! We’ll help you keep up to date on the latest laws and safety guidelines.