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Every day, numerous Virginians are ticketed for common traffic violations that may seem trivial but can have profound implications, especially without proper legal representation. Having an attorney help you resolve a traffic violation could mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and significant legal trouble.

Below, we will review the Virginia DMV's point system, common traffic violations, and how an attorney may be able to help you.

Understanding Virginia's DMV Points System

Virginia DMV's points system penalizes violations while also rewarding safe driving. Demerit points typically stay with you for at least two years, and accumulating too many can lead to additional consequences.

Alternatively, you can earn safe driving points for clean years of driving - a maximum of five - which can balance out demerit points. Note: in some cases, attending a court-mandated driver improvement clinic can also provide safe driving points.

Different traffic violations have a different number of points attached to them. More serious offenses have a higher number of demerit points. For example, reckless driving is considered a six-point violation, while improper passing is only a three-point violation.

Examples of six-point violations include:

How Is the DMV Notified of Demerits

Any traffic violation conviction is reported to the DMV and your insurance company by the courts. In addition to adding demerit points to your driving record, this can also cause your insurance rates to skyrocket.

You may also receive demerit points for violations that occur in other states.

Speeding & Reckless Driving

Speeding is one of the most common traffic offenses here in Virginia. The line between a simple ticket and a criminal charge is often surprisingly thin. For example, many don't realize that excessive speeding can escalate to a reckless driving charge.

Points for various speeding and reckless driving-related offenses are as follows:

  • Speeding 1-9mph above the posted speed limit (3 points)
  • Speeding 10-19mph above the posted speed limit (4 points)
  • Failure to stop before entering a highway (4 points)
  • Passing a school bus (6 points)
  • Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle (6 points)
  • Driving too fast for conditions (6 points)
  • Racing (6 points)

Driving on a Suspended License or Without Proper Licensing

Driving on a suspended license is another violation that I see frequently, which can lead to heightened penalties and extended suspension periods. Similarly, the law requires all vehicles on the road to be insured, and failure to comply results in fines and potential suspensions.

Points ascribed for various license-related offenses are as follows:

  • Driving without a license (3 points)
  • Allowing an unlicensed person to drive (3 points)
  • Driving with a suspended, restricted, or revoked license with a blood alcohol content of .02% or more (6 points)
  • Driving with a suspended, restricted, or revoked license due to a previous DUI (6 points)

Why Consulting with an Attorney Matters

"Why do I need an attorney for a traffic ticket?" you might ask. While there are some cases where the answer to this seems obvious, such as those involving DUI charges or which may result in an arrest or license suspension, if this is your first traffic offense, you may be tempted to take the points on your record and move on.

However, an experienced Virginia traffic lawyer like me may be able to help you mitigate the consequences of your traffic violation. From negotiating penalties to representing you in court, the objective is to minimize the impact on your driving record and insurance premiums. And remember, a traffic violation can complicate other legal matters, such as DUI cases, making seasoned legal advice even more crucial.

For help dealing with a traffic charge, contact me, Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law, and schedule a consultation. We can discuss your options.