Virginia Traffic & DUI Law
Few people living in York County, Virginia Beach or other communities in Hampton Roads can afford to lose their driving privileges. The fines associated with traffic violations can hurt, but the points the department of motor vehicles adds to an offender’s driving record can quickly result in a license suspension as can a DUI conviction. The respected attorneys at Riley Law, PLLC have an outstanding record of success defending motorists charged with traffic offenses and alcohol- and drug-related driving offenses.
Common Traffic Infractions
Although they are not crimes, the fines people pay as penalties for the following traffic offenses can quickly add up:
- Burned out headlights, taillight or other equipment violations
- Following too closely
- Failing to stop at a red traffic light
- Stop sign violations
- Making a right turn on a red light without coming to a complete stop
There are other traffic violations people commit and do not realize they are misdemeanors or felonies until they are stopped by the police. Common examples of traffic offenses that are serious crimes include:
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Driving without a license
- Failing to stop when order by a police officer
- Leaving the scene of an accident
People traveling through Chesapeake or Isle of Wight County who get pulled over for speeding might be shocked when the police officer charges them with the crime of reckless driving. Virginia is one of the few states in which driving at speeds in excess of 20 mph over the posted speed limit can result in a reckless driving charge.
Penalties for Traffic Violations and the Virginia DMV Point System
The penalty for traffic infractions that are not misdemeanors or felonies is usually the payment of a fine. Most traffic tickets can be disposed of by sending the fine to the court without ever actually appearing in front of a judge. The reason motorists should consult with knowledgeable defense lawyers before pleading guilty is the effect of the point system administered by the department of motor vehicles.
The Virginia point system is more complex than systems in other states. The essence of the system is that it imposes points on a motorist’s driving record for each moving violation. Too many points accumulated during a 12-month period could trigger action by the department of motor vehicles. The department can require completion of driver improvement classes. Eighteen points accumulated during a 12-month period result in suspension of a motorist’s license.
The best way to avoid suspensions for too many demerit points is to retain an attorney to fight traffic infractions instead of automatically pleading guilty and paying the fines. One strategy is to negotiate or plea bargain to get the infraction amended to a violation for which points are not assessed.
Virginia DUI Defense
It is a long-held principle of law that an arrest is not a conviction, but Virginia allows a police officer to keep the license of a driver arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is because the commonwealth automatically suspends the license of motorists arrested for a DUI. Even if the charges are later dismissed or a driver is not convicted after trial, the fact remains that he or she has been forced to be without a license based solely on an arrest.
A motorist with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher is considered to be driving under the influence. A first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine and loss of driving privileges for one year. A second offense results in the loss of driving privileges for three years, so having competent legal representation when charged with a drug- or alcohol-related driving offense is crucial.
Experienced Traffic & DUI Offense Legal Representation in Hampton Roads
Traffic infractions and DUI charges can affect the ability of people to get to and from work by taking away their license to drive. The dedicated traffic defense attorneys at Riley Law, PLLC know how to get results and are passionate advocates for their clients. Contact them today at 757-251-3888 to schedule a consultation.