What Are the Most Common Traffic Violations?
Every year, Virginia police officers issue thousands of tickets for traffic offenses. Traffic offenses can range from failing to wear a seat belt to committing a hit-and-run. 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 about your options.
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.
Improper Turns or Maneuvers
You may receive a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, an improper turn or an improper pass in Virginia if you break traffic laws or roadway rules. 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.
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.
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 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.
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 DUI 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.
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.
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.