Driving is a major part of daily life for many Virginians, but it comes with responsibilities.
Misdemeanor traffic violations, though seemingly minor, can have severe consequences for drivers. Understanding the four most common types of these violations is important to navigating the roads safely and responsibly.
1. Reckless driving
Reckless driving is more than just speeding. It involves willful disregard for safety. Exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or driving above 80 mph, regardless of the posted limit, is reckless. Convictions for reckless driving can lead to hefty fines, license suspension and even jail time.
2. Driving under the influence offenses
DUIs are a serious misdemeanor offense. In 2020, law enforcement made 19,167 DUI arrests across the state. Even a first-time offense can result in fines, mandatory alcohol education programs and license suspension. Subsequent offenses carry more severe penalties, making it necessary for drivers to avoid getting behind the wheel while impaired.
3. Hit and run
Leaving the scene of an accident, whether it involves property damage or injury, is a criminal offense. A hit-and-run misdemeanor conviction can lead to fines, license suspension and potential jail time. Drivers involved in accidents should stay at the scene, exchange information and report the incident promptly.
4. Driving on a suspended license
Driving with a suspended license is a common misdemeanor traffic violation that can exacerbate existing penalties. If you have a license suspension for any reason, getting caught driving can result in additional fines, an extension of the suspension period and even imprisonment.
While misdemeanor traffic violations can have a significant impact on one’s daily life and driving rights, the right defense strategy can minimize the impact of them.