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Traffic Law

Respected Criminal Defense Lawyers Helping Virginia Drivers Keep Their Licenses Through Aggressive Advocacy

A single traffic ticket may not seem like a big deal; however, if you received multiple traffic violations or were cited for an especially serious offense, you could be looking at more than just a suspended license. Virginia is one of those states that handle certain traffic offenses as criminal matters, meaning you could end up in jail. At Robinson Law, PLLC, our Fairfax traffic lawyers regularly defend drivers in all types of cases involving traffic violations, helping them keep their licenses.

Northern Virginia: A Terrible Place To Drive

Survey after survey shows that D.C.-area residents have one of the worst commutes in the country, if not the worst. And, Fairfax County, Virginia, might be ground zero for the most difficult stretch of road in the entire metropolitan area. Have you ever been on I-66 during rush hour? Then you know how it can quickly become a parking lot.

Many other roads in Fairfax County get clogged with cars on a regular basis, including the Beltway’s western loop, Routes 50 and 267, 28 and 29, and the Fairfax County Parkway. All of these routes create conditions where it’s easy to incur a traffic violation.

Here are several ways that traffic tickets can be earned in regions where roadways are especially choked:

  • You can end up far behind the intersection in a line of cars, then get to the intersection right when the light turns red – and you are already far past the solid white line.
  • You move slowly for miles, then have a breakaway and are in a hurry. Before you know it, you are in a pack of speeding cars, all exceeding the posted limit. You may feel as though you have to speed to avoid being a hazard.
  • You know that if you wait through another light in heavy traffic, you will be late for an important meeting. So, you fail to stop completely before making a right turn on red.

In any of these cases, you’re looking at a traffic ticket. If it’s your only ticket, maybe paying for it isn’t a problem. However, if you have several other tickets on your record you may be looking at a suspended license – or worse.

Accepting The Ticket Vs. Fighting It

When you are stopped and receive a ticket from a patrol officer, or you have one mailed to you after a camera snaps a photo of your license plate at an intersection, a natural tendency is to pay the fine and move on. However, don’t forget that mistakes are sometimes made in reading speeds. In addition, law enforcement officers can also make mistakes in the procedure they are supposed to follow.

Before you pay your fine or admit guilt at a hearing, contact a Fairfax traffic defense lawyer and find out if you have a chance at getting your charge and sentence/fine reduced. This could be extremely important if you have had other violations on your record and face a loss of driving privileges or jail time.

Driving On A Suspended License In Virginia

In cases of reckless driving convictions, the court suspends taking your license for up to 6-months. For a DWI/DUI conviction, the court may suspend your license for up to one year. Unfortunately, most of us have responsibilities like family, work, school, etc. – and we need to drive in order to live our lives.

For many, there is no other way but to risk it and drive on a suspended license. This is very true in northern Virginia because so many people are not from this area, as they have relocated from somewhere else. Thus, they have no family in the area and do not yet have a large network of friends to help them out.

When a person’s license is suspended by a court, they are required to sign a document acknowledging that their license is suspended. In other cases, a person may not lose their license because of what happens in court, but they subsequently fail to pay their court costs. This happens a lot in minor traffic infraction cases such as speeding. In that case, and by operation of law, their license is suspended – even if the judge did not take it on the day of court. In Virginia, you have 30-days to pay your fines and court costs in the event you are found guilty of any traffic infraction. After 30-days you will receive a letter from the DMV indicating you are suspended.

Penalties For Driving On A Suspended License In Fairfax And Northern Virginia

Driving on a suspended license is not only a traffic violation in Virginia – it’s also a crime. More specifically, driving on a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by

  • Up to 1 year in jail,
  • A fine of up to $2500, and
  • An additional term of suspension equal to the period of time for which your license = was initially suspended.

However, if this is your 3rd offense for driving on a suspended license, the punishment includes a mandatory 10-day period of incarceration.

Loss Of License Because Of DUI, DWI And Refusal In Virginia

In DWI, DUI and refusal cases in Fairfax and northern Virginia, a person loses their ability to drive for one year. Often, the person receives a restricted license by the court. That license permits the person to drive during specified times and only to specified places.

If you are caught driving outside of their restrictions, you are considered to be driving on a suspended license. There is a specific code section for this situation – §18.2-272. §18.2-272 applies to driving on a suspended license when the license was suspended due to a DWI/DUI conviction. The penalties in this code section are much harsher than those found in §46.2-301. If found guilty, you will have your license revoked for 12 months, and jail time is very possible – even on a first-offense. It will almost assuredly trigger a probation violation with respect to the underlying DWI or DUI charge.

Penalties For Driving On DUI Suspended Licenses In Fairfax And Northern Virginia

Driving on a DUI-suspended license is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The punishment for driving after your license was suspended following a DUI conviction is more severe than other types of driving on a suspended licenses charges, and includes:

  • Up to one year in jail,
  • A fine of up to $2,500, and
  • Mandatory license revocation for one year (you will not be eligible for a restricted license).

Given the seriousness of these punishments, it is essential to reach out to a traffic violations attorney as soon as you learn of the charges against you.

Is Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In Virginia A Misdemeanor Or Felony?

Leaving the scene of an accident or a “hit and run” may be either a misdemeanor or felony offense in Virginia. If the total damage to the vehicle is under $1000, the crime is classified as a misdemeanor. However, if the accident resulted in $1000 or more in damage, leaving the scene of the accident is a felony. Additionally, if any injury or death occurs, leaving the scene is automatically a felony offense. Either way, it would be in your best interest to speak with a criminal lawyer for hit-and-run charges in Fairfax northern Virginia right away.

There Are Four General Categories For A Hit-And-Run Charge In Virginia:

Attended Vehicle Causing Property Damage of Less than $1000

A hit and run involving a car that is either occupied or in which the owner is in the immediate vicinity is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment includes:

  • A maximum of 12 months in jail,
  • A six-month license suspension, and
  • A $2500 fine.

Attended Vehicle Causing Property Damage or More than $1000 or Injury/Death

A hit and run that causes serious injury or death to another person is a Class 6 felony. So is a hit and run involving more than $1,000 in property damage to an attended vehicle. The punishment includes:

  • A maximum of five years in jail,
  • A six-month license suspension, and
  • A $2500 fine.

Unattended Property Damage of Less than $250

A hit-and-run accident causing less than $250 in damage to an unoccupied and unattended vehicle is a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250.

Unattended Property Damage of More than $250

A hit-and-run accident causing more than $250 in damage to an unoccupied and unattended vehicle is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250.

  • A maximum of 12 months in jail,
  • A six-month license suspension, and
  • A $2500 fine.

Consult With An Experienced Fairfax Traffic Violations Attorney Before Paying Your Ticket

If you recently got a ticket or were cited for driving on a suspended license, don’t make the mistake of paying the ticket without looking into it. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we offer all prospective clients a free consultation. During this consultation, we will review your citation and determine if we think we can beat it. Even if a ticket can’t be beat, there is also the chance we can reduce the penalty you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 703-542-3616. You can also connect with us through our online form.