What Are the Most Common Traffic Violations?
Every year, Virginia police officers issue thousands of tickets for traffic law violations. Traffic offenses can range from failing to wear a seat belt to committing a hit-and-run. Just about every traffic offense is on the books because they can cause an accident if they’re violated.
Traffic and moving violations are not the same as criminal charges in Virginia. However, they can still result in serious and life-changing penalties, such as driver’s license suspension and jail time. If you receive a ticket for one of these common traffic violations, contact a Richmond traffic violation attorney for legal advice.
Like most states, speeding takes the top spot among the most common traffic violations in Virginia. Speeding is the number one most broken roadway rule in Virginia. Speeding can refer to exceeding posted speed limits as well as driving too fast for conditions. If it is raining or snowing, for instance, you may need to reduce your speed to below the speed limit for safety reasons.
Speeding is also one of the most common causes of car accidents. Speeding took 9,378 lives in the US in 2018 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A traffic ticket for speeding will put three points on your driver’s license in Virginia. If you were traveling over 80 miles per hour or racing, you will receive six points.
Remember that if you get enough points on your driving record, you could be denied driving privileges. If you’re a commercial driver, you could lose the right to drive for a living. In any traffic violation case, we always aim to keep points off your driving record.
Improper Turns or Maneuvers
You may receive a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, an improper turn or an improper pass in Virginia. It is your responsibility to read and obey traffic signs while you drive, including signs that say “No U-Turn.”
You must also use your turn signal and only pass when it is legal, safe and appropriate to do so. Tickets for these violations can lead to three points against your license, as well as fines. This common traffic violation is another major cause of accidents.
Following Too Closely
The more space there is between two cars, the easier it is for the car in the rear to dodge an accident if something unexpected happens. Yet far too many people drive too closely behind the vehicle in front of them.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is some people are afraid another car will slip in between the space and cut them off. This will slow them down. The other reason is that they’re trying to increase gas mileage by taking advantage of the slipstream behind the other car.
Regardless of the reason, it’s still illegal and not worth the risk. If you’re the rear car in a rear-end accident, it’s almost certain you’ll receive this traffic violation on your ticket.
Reckless or Unsafe Driving
If you break roadway rules in a way that endangers the lives of others, you could face more significant fines and penalties as a reckless driver. Reckless driving is the offense of operating a motor vehicle with a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
You could face a reckless driving charge for racing, tailgating, driving aggressively, weaving in and out of traffic, driving the wrong way, or excessively speeding. Reckless driving results in four points against your license, as well as fines and potentially more serious penalties, depending on the infraction.
If you get into an accident while driving recklessly and someone is injured, you could see jail time as well. This is a traffic offense that can get upgraded into a full criminal offense depending on the circumstances.
A driver may only operate a motor vehicle within the scope and parameters of his or her driver’s license. A driver with a Class A driver’s license, for example, cannot operate a motorcycle or a commercial vehicle.
Driving without the correct license, driving incorrectly with a learner’s permit, driving without a license, and driving with a suspended or revoked license are common reasons for traffic tickets in Virginia. License offenses can lead to fines, license suspension and points on your driving record.
For unlicensed drivers, committing a license violation can make it more difficult to get a license later. Remember that in the State of Virginia, it is a privilege to drive on public roads. The state can deny you that privilege by denying you a license.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol is a serious crime in Virginia. In 2016 (the most recent year data is available), 19,925 drivers in Virginia received alcohol-related convictions. There were 7,482 alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in 2016 as well.
You will not face a simple traffic ticket for DUI. Instead, you could face an arrest, thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, probation, driver’s license suspension, mandatory alcohol education courses and other punishments. You will also receive six points against your license.
We want to encourage all readers to always drive sober. Remember that some prescription drugs can make you DUI even if it’s legal for you to take them. Also, even though marijuana is starting to be legalized in Virginia, driving while high is still DUI.
Distracted driving is something almost every driver has been guilty of at some point. Virginia has laws specifically against texting while driving on highways. If caught with a handheld electronic device in your hand, you could face a traffic ticket and fines.
If distracted driving of any kind—including eating, drinking, personal grooming or reading – causes you to drive erratically or break traffic laws, you could also receive a reckless driving citation.
Distracted driving can be just as debilitating as driving under the influence. While they’re not treated the same under the law, the effects can be just as deadly in a crash. Driving while distracted is not the sign of a skilled driver.
Running a Red Light
Another common traffic violation in Virginia is running a red light. Traffic signals control the flow of vehicles on the road so they do not hit each other. We all learn at an early age that we slow down at a yellow light and must stop outside the intersection at a red light.
Yet sometimes we speed up at yellow lights to beat the light. If you misjudge the timing, you could be caught in the intersection at the light change and get hit by another car. This is a sure way to get a traffic ticket.
In worse cases, you may ignore the light completely and run the intersection against the light. This puts you and other drivers in the intersection at a high risk of a crash, one that will almost certainly be your fault.
Get a Traffic Ticket Lawyer
Contact a traffic ticket lawyer in Virginia if you receive any type of violation. Points against your license could add up and lead to suspension or revocation. A lawyer representing you could increase your odds of minimizing the negative repercussions you face.