What You Need To Know About Traffic Offenses
The first thing to determine when you are charged with a motor vehicle offense is to determine whether you are charged with a transportation infraction or a criminal offense. Criminal offenses go on both your criminal record and driving record forever and cannot be removed once you are convicted. For Virginia drivers, from Arlington to Fairfax, VA, motor infractions appear only on your driving record and they disappear after a 3 to 11 years.
When you are facing a criminal motor charge such as Reckless Driving, Driving with a Suspended License or DUI/DWI, your potential penalties are far greater than a simple fine. For this reason, finding a reliable traffic attorney in Arlington, VA is priority. If convicted, you may spend time in jail and have your driver’s license suspended or revoked.
Additionally, the motor vehicle court judge and the Virginia DMV are able to suspend or restrict a person’s right to drive in certain circumstances. If you are found guilty of multiple motor vehicle violations within 12 months, there is a possibility that you may accrue too many demerit points on your driver’s license. In such a case, the DMV of your current city, Fairfax, VA or beyond, may administratively suspend or restrict your privilege to drive.
Before you go to traffic court or prepay a fine, always consult an attorney to determine whether the court or the DMV may take away your license. We can help no matter if you live in Fairfax, VA or surrounding cities. A reliable traffic attorney in Fairfax, VA can help you sort out your next step. It is important that you do not plead guilty or no contest to a charge or prepay a ticket without understanding the potential consequences. Every case is unique and the attorneys at Bugg Law Firm, PLLC will work with you to develop the best strategy for your specific case. We understand that finding a traffic lawyer in Fairfax, VA is a simple move when you trust Bugg Law Firm, PLLC. Together, we will explore and analyze possible defense strategies to help you maintain your driving privileges and protect you from a criminal record.
If you have been charged with a motor vehicle offense, the attorneys at Bugg Law Firm, PLLC will provide a free, confidential evaluation of your case. Please call (703) 552-2462 to schedule an appointment today.
If you are charged with reckless driving, you face a misdemeanor charge punishable by driver’s license suspension, large fines, and even jail time. It doesn’t matter if you live in Fairfax, VA or Arlington; the charges can be the same. Acts considered to be reckless driving include:
- Speeding in excess of 20 mph above the posted limit or in excess of 80 mph regardless of the posted limit
- Aggressive Driving weaving in and out of other vehicles or across lanes
- Drag Racing
- Failure to Yield failing to yield at a motor vehicle signs, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
- Passing Illegally passing on a curve, passing a stopped school bus, passing two vehicles abreast
- Driving with Faulty Brakes
As a Class I Misdemeanor, a reckless driving conviction carries the potential for harsh penalties, such as a maximum fine of $2,500, a jail term of up to one year, and a six month suspension of the driver’s license. Reckless driving also brings administrative penalties including six points against the driving record, and may cause a driver to be required to carry high-risk insurance with costly premiums. In addition to these penalties, this misdemeanor may have an impact on your personal life, such as having affecting your ability to find or keep a job, or obtain or retain a security clearance.
Driving Under The Influence (DUI) & Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
A DUI/DWI charge is very serious and must be handled with care. If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI, you face serious penalties. Even on the first offense, DUI/DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by fines of up to $2,500, a one-year suspension of the driver’s license, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, participation in Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP), and up to one year in jail. Additionally, you may be required to purchase costly high-risk auto insurance.
If it is not your first DUI/DWI offense, the potential ramifications for a conviction become much more severe. As of July 1, 2013, Virginia DUI/DWI offenses now carry the following penalties:
- First offense: Mandatory $250 fine and driver’s license suspension for one year.
- Second offense within ten years of prior offense: Mandatory, minimum 10-day jail term (in addition to fines and license suspensions).
- Second offense within five years of prior offense: Mandatory, minimum 20-day jail term (in addition to fines and license suspensions).
- Third offense (DUI/DWI felony): Prosecution as a class 6 felony. Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine. Mandatory indefinite driver’s license revocation. If a Virginia motorist’s license has already been revoked for a first or second DUI offense conviction and the offender then receives another DUI/DWI, the revocation period will run consecutively with the existing revocation period.
- Third offense within ten years of prior offense: Mandatory minimum 90-day jail term, and permanent forfeiture of your vehicle (if you are the sole owner) (in addition to fines and license suspensions).
- Third offense within five years of prior offense: Mandatory minimum six-month jail term (in addition to fines and license suspensions).
- Fourth or subsequent offense: Mandatory minimum one-year jail term (in addition to fines and license suspensions).
Additionally, all motorists are prosecuted if law enforcement finds them to have a blood alcohol level (BAC) over the legal limit (.08%), but motorists with exceptionally-high BAC levels will receive additional penalties under Virginia law, including:
- BAC between .15% and .20% at the time of arrest: Mandatory minimum five-day jail term in addition to all other penalties for a first offense; mandatory, minimum 10-day jail term in addition to all other penalties for a second offense within 10 years.
- BAC of .20% or higher at the time of arrest: Mandatory minimum 10-day jail term in addition to all other penalties for a first offense.
In addition to the above penalties set out by the Virginia legislature, a DUI conviction can also complicate one’s life, hindering your chances of finding or keeping a job, obtaining or retaining a security clearance or your ability to obtain a loan.
Driving On A Suspended/Revoked License
If you are convicted of driving on a suspended license, driving on a revoked license or driving without a valid license, you may have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines, fees and court costs. From Arlington to Fairfax, VA, these convictions are the same. You may also be sentenced to jail for up to 12 months, have your vehicle impounded, lose your restricted license and have your license suspension extended.
Hit-And-Run Or Leaving The Scene Of An Accident
While many people associate the term hit-and-run with serious auto accidents, most hit-and-run allegations don’t involve any injuries. The best step for you to take is by hiring a traffic lawyer in Arlington, VA. Many Virginia drivers are charged with leaving the scene of an accident when a minor collision or bump has occurred. For drivers throughout Virginia, from Fairfax, VA to Arlington, the charges are equal. This charge can be a felony or misdemeanor. It can also involve a license suspension or jail time. Factors such as whether anyone was injured, the amount of property damage, whether the damaged property was attended or not, and whether you were the driver or passenger in the vehicle can all affect the outcome.