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Receiving a traffic ticket is always frustrating, but you might not initially realize that even minor infractions can result in damaging short- and long-term consequences. When a traffic incident involves a more serious offense, you can potentially face misdemeanor or felony charges. These offenses can result in significant jail time, exorbitant fines, skyrocketing insurance rates, and the loss of your license.
Our Manassas traffic lawyers at Dischley Law, PLLC can defend you in both misdemeanor and felony traffic cases. Our team is familiar with how these cases are adjudicated in Virginia and can work with you to develop an effective legal strategy. We are committed to protecting your future and will do everything possible to protect your driving record.
How Traffic Offenses Work in Virginia
When an officer issues you a traffic ticket in the state of Virginia, you are technically being charged with a crime. For many infractions, the matter can be resolved by paying a fine, but doing so is tantamount to pleading guilty. Repeated offenses or an accumulation of tickets can result in more substantial charges, higher insurance rates, and the eventual suspension or revocation of your license.
How Long Do Points Stay On Your Driving Record?
If you are “convicted” in a traffic case, which occurs any time you “admit” guilt by paying a fine, points are assigned to your license and driving record. These points remain on your license on a rolling 2-year basis. Depending on the nature of the infraction, the convictions themselves can stay on your record for over a decade. Should you accumulate too many points and convictions over too short a time, you can face a license suspension and other more serious charges.
Whether you consider a traffic ticket “serious” or not, you should always consider your complete legal options before paying a fine and pleading guilty. A Manassas traffic attorney from our team can help you explore your defense options, no matter the severity of the offense.
Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses in Virginia
More serious traffic offenses can be charged as misdemeanors in the state of Virginia. This means that you could potentially face time in prison, license suspensions, and more costly fines. A conviction will also go on your criminal record.
What Is a Misdemeanor Traffic Violation?
- First offense DUIs. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious violation that will likely be aggressively prosecuted. A conviction can result in a license suspension of up to 90 days, fines up to $2,500, up to one year of jail time. Repeated DUI offenses result in harsher punishments, and a third offense will generally lead to a felony charge.
- Reckless driving. This offense encompasses a variety of dangerous behaviors, including speeding 20 mph over the posted speed limit or over 80 mph in any situation. Motorists can also be charged with reckless driving in situations where they improperly pass an emergency vehicle, fail to observe adverse weather conditions, or engage in street racing. Penalties include up to a year of jail time, a maximum of $2,500 in fines, and a license suspension of up to 1 year.
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license. First and second offenses for driving with a nonvalid license can result in up to a year in jail, up to $2,500 fines, and additional license restrictions. A third offense will also mandate 10 days in jail in addition to these penalties.
Felony Traffic Offenses in Virginia
Some especially severe traffic offenses can be charged as a felony, meaning you could be sentenced to multiple years in prison.
Traffic Offenses That Can Be Charged as Felonies in Virginia Include:
- Third offense DUIs. Multiple DUI convictions will result in increasingly harsh penalties, with a third offense typically leading to felony charges. A felony DUI charge will mandate 3 to 6 months in prison, a fine of $1,000, and a driver’s license suspension of 3 years. You could face even more aggressive penalties if a felony DUI led to someone else’s injuries or death.
- Vehicular homicide. If your negligent actions behind the wheel unintentionally result in someone else’s death, you can face felony charges for vehicular manslaughter. A conviction will result in up to 10 years of jail time and fines of up to $2,500. If the court determines the driver’s conduct was especially egregious in its negligence, your charges can be enhanced to aggravated vehicular manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted.
- Hit and run incidents that cause serious injuries. Fleeing the scene of an accident is always a crime, but if the incident causes substantial injuries or death, you can face felony hit and run charges. Penalties include prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to $2,500.
No matter what type of charges you are facing, our Manassas traffic attorneys at Dischley Law, PLLC are prepared to give you the vigorous defense that you need. After reviewing the facts of your case, our team can work to get your charges dismissed or reduced. We have a complete understanding of the relevant laws and can leverage our knowledge to assist you.
“I chose Dischley Law in part because they are a Veteran-owned firm, but also because of their competitive fees and the compassion they demonstrated as I described my case during the consultation”- C.G.
“After receiving a Reckless Driving summons in Fairfax, VA, I contacted a number of lawyers. I found my conversation with Dischley Law to be the most helpful and comforting.”- R.M.
“You will not find a more caring and proactive attorney in your search for effective representation. David gets right to the heart of the case, finds the defenses, and presents them at the right time.”- J.M.
Responsive. Assertive. Accomplished.
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