Virginia Texting While Driving Laws
In Virginia, it is against the law and a serious offense to text and drive. For the first offense of texting and driving, there is a $125 fine, while repeat offenders face a $250 fine. In many instances, having a cell phone in your hand while operating a vehicle is enough to get you convicted. Virginia’s texting while driving laws are broad and could stain your driving record.
To prevent legal issues or having points added to your driving record, it is pertinent to know the full scope of your state’s handheld communication device regulations. This article will give a brief overview of how Virginia defines and punishes texting while driving and what you can do if you have been convicted of it. Learn more from our Virginia distracted driving attorneys.
Staying Safe and Legal with Virginia’s Handheld Cellphone Ban
Virginia is cracking down on distracted driving with its expanded 2021 hands-free law. This makes it illegal to physically hold a phone while driving – no calling, texting, emailing, or even looking at texts. The ban even applies when you are stopped at lights. To remain safe and comply with Virginia’s texting while driving law, hands must stay on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.
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How to Legally Operate Your Phone While Driving in Virginia
You can still make calls via Bluetooth, voice commands, or mounted phones. Just ensure at least one ear is free to hear hazards. However, there are limited emergency exceptions for first responders to utilize their phones. Otherwise, avoid handheld phones or risk penalties for this commonwealth offense, including fines up to $250, and demerit points jeopardizing your license.
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How Texting While Driving is Proven in Virginia
Did you know that distracted driving doubles the chances of being in a car accident? Virginia’s texting while operating a vehicle statutes were designed to keep motorists, pedestrians, and workers safe. So, Virginia police officers have to be vigilant and employ various methods to determine if a driver was illegally interacting with a handheld phone prior to being pulled over.
Proving the violation is key to issuing citations that hold up in court. Ways officers establish texting or handheld phone use include:
- Direct observation: Officers nearby or following your vehicle may directly see phone use. This provides solid probable cause for a stop.
- Driver admission: Many drivers voluntarily admit to texting or phone use when questioned after being pulled over. This constitutes firm proof.
- Witness statements: Other motorists or passengers who observed the violation can provide eyewitness accounts.
- Phone records: Officers may request phone records showing activity at the time of the incident. Text timestamps are hard evidence.
- Dashcam video: Squad car dash cams providing visual proof of phone use assists citations.
- Circumstantial evidence: Erratic driving, like swerving within a lane, can hint at distraction.
Don’t count on getting off on a technicality. Savvy officers use every method possible to confirm texting violations. The lesson is to avoid handheld phone use altogether to keep your focus where it should be – on driving safely.
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You Were Convicted of Texting While Driving in Virginia; Now What?
Getting pulled over and ticketed for illegally texting or holding your phone while driving can be unnerving. But understanding the next steps can help minimize the impact on your license. Here’s what to expect after breaking the texting-while-driving law in Virginia:
- Fine payment: Traffic fines vary, but expect to pay a fine based on if this is a first or repeat offense. Higher fines apply to repeat offenders or if a ticket is issued in a work zone.
- Demerit points: Expect to receive three demerit points minimum on your VA license, more if an aggravated offense. Points stay active for two years.
- Increased insurance rates:Texting tickets can increase your auto insurance premiums, especially for young drivers. Expect substantial hikes.
- Impact on license: Enough points can trigger a license suspension. Attend traffic school to reduce points quickly before they accumulate.
- Court costs: You’ll pay court fees and processing costs added onto your traffic fine.
While an expensive lesson, a texting conviction doesn’t have to ruin your driving record long-term. Be proactive about hands-free driving, take a safety course, and keep insurance rates in check with safe habits. The financial and license impacts pass with time.
Compensation that Distracted Driving Victims Are Eligible to Receive
In Virginia, if a distracted driver causes an accident, the victims are eligible to receive compensation through legal assistance with a personal injury claim. A fair settlement will vary depending on the damages caused but is often granted for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of consortium, emotional anguish, and wrongful death, if applicable.
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Discuss Virginia’s Texting While Driving Mandates in Depth in a Free Consultation
Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting yourself against a distracted driver. Virginia’s laws prohibit cell phone use while driving, but if you were involved in a wreck, you have legal options to explore. Contact the Pendleton Law Team today for a risk-free, complimentary case evaluation to learn your legal alternatives from trusted legal advocates at our firm.
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