Speeding Tickets and What They Mean for You in Virginia
A recent study found that 42 million speeding tickets are written in America per year. Speeding is dangerous as it leads to auto collisions and auto accidents. It’s important to know your rights and options if you want to challenge a speeding ticket in court.
Can You Fight a Speeding Ticket in Court?
Yes, you can always fight a speeding ticket in court if you feel the ticket, and thereby the fine is unjust. Before you go to court, make sure you hire a lawyer. A lawyer will know the right way to argue your case to get the best outcome. Be sure to hire not just any lawyer but a traffic lawyer. Traffic lawyers specialize in traffic litigation, generally defending traffic violations and road citations. They’ll be able to help you reduce your fine or get the charge dismissed altogether.
As for the cost, most traffic lawyers aren’t that expensive. Since they operate on a flare rate, you know how much you must pay for their entire services upfront. Most traffic lawyers will cost anywhere between $500 to 2500 depending on the severity of the accusation.
What Happens to Your License When You Receive a Ticket?
When you receive a speeding ticket, demerit points are automatically put on your license. How many points you receive depends on how fast you were caught speeding. Here’s how the demerit point system works:
- 3 points: Driving 1 to 9 MPH over the speed limit is 3 demerit points.
- 4 points: Driving 10 to 19 MPH over the speed limit is 4 demerit points.
- 6 points: Driving 20 MPH or above the speed limit is 6 demerit points.
The demerit points will stay on your record for five years but can be removed after two years or sooner with safe driving classes. However, the actual conviction will stay on your record for five to eleven years, depending on the speed you were going.
Potential Fines Involved
Yes, you’re required to pay a fine when you receive a speeding ticket. In fact, the amount will be printed on the ticket, that way there’s no confusion about the amount you must pay. Just keep in mind that Virginia takes speeding very seriously, so the fines are often large. If you’re driving 20 MPH over the speed limit, you can be charged with reckless driving. If it’s your first offense, you’ll only be charged with a misdemeanor and pay a $350 fine. However, if the reckless driving involves driving on a revoked license for certain reasons of if there is a death as a result, you may be charged with a felony. In addition to the actual fine, Virginia courts add an extra $64 fee to each traffic violation. Your fines are due within 40 days of your conviction. If you fail to pay within those 40 days, one of three things could happen: you could be charged interest; your ticket may be sent to collections; a judge may order your arrest. Make sure you pay your fines within a timely manner, or you may face harsher charges. Reckless driving can also result in a jail sentence.
Will Your Insurance Go Up After Receiving a Ticket?
Auto insurance companies look at your driving record to determine your premium. Demerit points on your record from a speeding ticket can certainly impact your insurance rates. However, that doesn’t mean your insurance will be increased forever. In fact, how much your rate increases depends on several factors, such as your insurance, your payment period, and your overall charge. For example, if you pay every month, you’ll see a larger increase in your rates vs. a person who pays every six months. That’s because the auto company will update your record faster, so they’ll see the demerit points and know that you’re more of a driving risk. However, if you pay every six months, you may have already paid your fines and had the charges reduced. The auto company may still increase your rates but not as much since the ticket happened long ago. Plus, you can even take a safe driving course which will eliminate the points from your record. As a result, your insurance rates will decrease to the amount it was before the speeding ticket.
How Can an Attorney Help You Fight a Ticket?
Your attorney will start by defending your good driving history. He or she will display the years of safe driving and ask the court to be lenient since it’s your first offense. However, if it’s not your first speeding ticket, you’ll have a harder time getting your charge reduced or dismissed.
Your attorney will suggest other ways to argue your case, although recognize that the courts are likely to be harsher on you since this is not your first offense. So go back through your paperwork, and if you have proof of your speed, like on a speed detection app, your attorney can show evidence that the radar gun was defective. You’ll need concrete proof that shows that you were not traveling at the speed indicated on the ticket to override the radar gun. If you don’t have proof, your attorney might argue that you didn’t know you were speeding or had to speed due to an emergency. These are just a few of the possible defenses your attorney can use to argue your case. Your attorney may suggest you get a calibration of your speedometer or go to driving school.
Speeding Tickets and Potential Jail Time
The possibility of jail time due to speeding tickets is rare, but it can happen. It just depends on the situation at hand. This would only be when the speeding rises to the level of reckless driving. Here’s a tip: when you get a speeding ticket, put a reminder in your phone or on your calendar of any due date you see. Whether it be for a fine or driving class, mark it in a place you know you will look at later.
Can You Lose Your License for Receiving Too Many Tickets?
Yes, you can get your license revoked or suspended if you have too many tickets. After all, driving is a privilege that can be taken away if you don’t adhere to state laws and county regulations. Each ticket you receive will automatically earn you between three and six demerit points on your license. Once you receive 18 demerit points in twelve months, your license will be suspended. However, there are other ways your license could get suspended. For instance, if you fail to pay for your speeding ticket or don’t complete your court-ordered DIP clinic, your license will automatically be suspended until you complete those tasks.
Got a Speeding Ticket? Hire a Lawyer Today
A speeding ticket is a financial burden no one wants to deal with. However, if you don’t pay the ticket, the fine will increase, and you could possibly face jail time. Instead, fight the ticket in court with a traffic lawyer by your side. A traffic lawyer will help you craft a defense so you can get your charge dismissed or reduced at the very least. That way, your auto insurance rates won’t increase, and you won’t receive points on your driver’s license.
Here at the Decker Law Firm, we are dedicated to delivering our clients the best possible result. For over fifty years, we have helped clients with a variety of issues such as reckless driving, truck accidents, and more. For more information about a speeding offense, contact us today.