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What are the penalties for a traffic violation in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | Traffic Violations

Virginia state law is harsh when it comes to traffic violations. Lawmakers took this process seriously, and the state ranked in the top 10 in the nation for worst states for speeding tickets according to Business Insider. The review looked at how state authorities handled both speeding tickets and reckless driving, along with various subcategories of these offenses. These included the amount over the speed limit that resulted in an automatic reckless driving charges and how much speeding tickets can count towards a driver’s license suspension.

How does Virginia handle common traffic violations?

As the top 10 list alludes to above, not very leniently. The state is pretty strict when it comes to these violations. When it comes to reckless driving, defined by Virginia state law as driving a vehicle at a speed or in a manner that could endanger the “life, limb, or property of any person,” a violation can result in a the state finding the driver guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. This is the most serious misdemeanor. It can come with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The fact that this offense can result in jail time for a first offense was one of the reasons Virginia ended up on the top 10 list mentioned above.

The state of Virginia also takes running a stop light seriously. Those who commit this offense can be detained or arrested by a law-enforcement officer who either sees the violation or is messaged and informed of the violation by another law-enforcement officer who observed the driver run the red light. This can also lead to a monetary penalty of $350.

What if I get a traffic ticket?

These tickets can lead to more than just the penalties noted above. They can impact the ability to keep one’s job as it could result in the loss of a commercial driver’s license or flag problems with government security clearance. Drivers do not have to simply accept these tickets. There are situations when the officer may be wrong, and you can fight back. This could result in the reduction of charges. Strategies to fight back will vary depending on the situation but can include providing evidence that challenges the officer’s observations or that the driving style that was under scrutiny was necessary to avoid additional harm.