What Are the Types of Traffic Tickets?
Virginia has virtually hundreds of traffic laws you must obey as a driver. It is your responsibility to know what you can and cannot do behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Driving prudently and reasonably is your duty of care to others on the road. If you breach this duty of care by violating a roadway rule, you could receive a traffic ticket for committing a moving violation.
The most well-known type of moving violation in Virginia is the speeding ticket. You could receive a speeding ticket if a law enforcement officer catches you exceeding the posted speed limit on a roadway. You may also be guilty of speeding if you were driving too fast for dangerous conditions, such as in rain or sleet. If a prudent driver would have been driving slower, an officer could cite you for speeding. You could also receive a traffic ticket for driving too slowly if it impedes the flow of traffic.
Reckless driving refers to failing to operate a motor vehicle in a prudent and responsible way. Specifically, it is the infraction of knowingly putting others’ lives in danger. You could receive a ticket for reckless driving if caught racing, speeding above 80 miles per hour or significantly above the speed limit, passing an emergency vehicle or school bus, or driving a vehicle with faulty brakes. You could also face a reckless driving charge for driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are two similar charges you could face if you operate a motor vehicle after imbibing in drugs and/or alcohol in Virginia. DUI/DWI are serious crimes with matching penalties. Legally, you can be guilty of driving drunk if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above 0.08%. An officer could cite you for DUI with a lesser BAC, however, if your driving ability appears impaired. Driving with intoxicating drugs in your system is also a crime in Virginia, even if they are prescription medications.
Distracted Driving or Cellphone Violations
Distracted driving traffic tickets are common in Virginia. This is one of the most frequent mistakes drivers make. In 2018, 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in the US (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). It is against the law in Virginia to use a handheld device to send or read texts while driving. You could receive a traffic ticket for violating this law, along with a fine of $100 to $500. Distracted driving may also lead to a reckless driving ticket if the distraction made you break a roadway rule.
Other Moving and Nonmoving Violations
Police officers in Virginia could cite you for many other moving violations. A moving violation can occur after any broken law, traffic offense or breach of the driver’s duty of care. Different moving violations will have different penalties depending on their severity and the circumstances.
- Illegal U-turns
- Improper turns
- Following too closely
- Improper passing
- Unsafe lane changes
- Unsafe merges
You could also receive a ticket for a non-moving traffic violation. These violations include parking illegally, parking in a handicapped spot without a permit, using a vehicle that does not have working lights, violating a window tint law and driving without a valid vehicle registration. Non-moving violations can come with similar penalties as moving violations: fines, points against your driving record and a requirement to repair the issue.
How Do You Fight a Traffic Ticket in Virginia?
Hefty fines, demerit points on your driving record, driver’s license suspension, penalties from your insurance company, and even an arrest and jail time are possible repercussions from a traffic ticket. Fighting a ticket with help from a Richmond speeding ticket lawyer could reduce the charges and consequences you face. A traffic ticket attorney in Virginia can represent you during a hearing and help you negotiate a resolution.