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DUI, Reckless Driving, and Other Traffic Tickets in Hampton Roads

Traffic Violations are not offenses that should be taken lightly; many traffic violations carry misdemeanor or felony penalties, which can result in a serious fine and jail time. There are also many side effects of a traffic violation conviction that can adversely affect your life including loss of license, loss of employment, loss of security clearance, and loss of housing.

If you have been arrested or cited with any serious traffic offense, the attorneys at Harding, Harding, & Harding can help you to secure a positive result.  With offices located in Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, we defend men, women and minors all over Hampton Roads. If you or a loved one is charged with a DUI, reckless driving, speeding, or other traffic violations, call one of our conveniently located offices for a free consultation.

Traffic Violation Information

Levels of traffic Violations:

In regards to motor vehicle violations, the Virginia Code has broken up the violations into three groups:

1. Infractions: are generally punishable in the same manner as a Class 4 misdemeanor, which is a fine of not more than $250.

2. Misdemeanors: there are 4 classes of misdemeanors, with class 1 being the most serious, which are punishable by confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500.

3. Felonies: there are 6 classes of felonies, class 1 being the most severe, but all felonies are serious and carry the possibility of extended periods of jail time, large fines, and other major forms of punishment.

Uniform Demerit Point System

Demerit points are accumulated when you are convicted of a traffic offense, the amount of points accumulated varies from 3 to 6 points per offense. If you accumulate 12 points in a 12 month period of time, or 9 points if you are under 18, you shall be directed to take a driver improvement clinic, and will be placed on probation for six months. If you accumulate additional demerit points while on probation, your license will be suspended for a period of 45-90 days depending on the amount of additional demerit points assigned for the traffic violation.  Note: If 18 demerit points are accumulated or 12 points if you are under 18, in a 24 month period the above sanctions apply.

Traffic Violations in Virginia

  1. Driving While Intoxicated (DUI): In Virginia any person operating a motorized vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher will be charged with driving under the influence. You can also be charged under Virginia law if operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence of narcotics.  In Virginia, drivers under 21 are subject to a stricter standard, and will be in violation of the law if their BAC is 0.02 or higher while driving.  Penalties for a DUI vary depending on factors such as BAC, number of times person has committed crime, and damage to person or property caused by driver.  The First DUI offense is generally punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $250, a 12 month license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, an alcohol education and treatment program requirement, assignment of six Demerit points, and for those person’s who’s BAC is .15 or above, but less than .20, they must serve 5 days in jail, if their BAC is .20 or greater, they must serve 10 days in jail.

 

  1. Speeding tickets:  Speeding tickets are generally punishable by a fine and demerit points which can add up and cause you serious problems down the road. Below are some factors which will be used to determine how many demerit points will be assigned, and how large the fine will be.
    1. Being convicted on a speeding ticket between one and nine miles per hour above the posted speed limit will result in three demerit points. 
    2. Being convicted on a speeding ticket between ten and nineteen miles per hour above the posted speed limit will result in in four demerit points. 
    3. Driving a motor vehicle in excess of a maximum speed limit established specifically for a highway work zone is punishable by a fine of not more than $500.
    4. Any person operating any motor vehicle in excess of a maximum speed limit established specifically for a school crossing zone shall be guilty of a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $250.
  2. Reckless Driving: Reckless Driving is committed when a person drives a vehicle “on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person” regardless of the posted speed limit.  Generally any person convicted of reckless driving will be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor, with the risk of a 10 day to 6 month license suspension and the assignment of six demerit points. Reckless driving includes: improper driving, improper control or faulty brakes, passing when view is obstructed, car overloaded, passing two vehicles abreast, two vehicles driving side by side in one lane, passing at an intersection or railroad grade crossing, passing a stopped school bus, failing to give proper signals, driving too fast for traffic conditions, exceeding the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or driving over 80 miles per hour, failure to yield right of way, racing, and not yielding to stationary emergency vehicles.
  3. Aggressive Driving: To be guilty of aggressive driving you must violate one or more of the violations listed in the statute, such as, following too closely, and not driving on right side of road, combined with either being a hazard to another person or intending to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person. Aggressive driving is generally punished as a class 2 misdemeanor; however, aggressive driving with the intent to injure another person shall be punished as a class 1 misdemeanor. The court may also require you to attend an aggressive driving program.
  4. Attempt to Elude an Officer: Attempting to elude an officer, or willfully disregarding the officer, after the officer has signaled you to stop, is generally punished as a class 2 misdemeanor. Virginia code section 46.2-817.
  5. Hit-and-Run: If you know that you have been involved in an accident, no matter what the cause, and a person is killed or injured or attended property is damaged, you have a duty to report your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to a law-enforcement officer, or to the other capable person involved in the accident. Generally any person convicted of this violation will be guilty of a class 5 felony if the accident results in injury or the death of a person, or causes more than $1000 of damage to property, or a class 1 misdemeanor if the accident results in damage of $1000 or less to property.  
  6. Unlicensed Driving: Driving without a license is illegal in Virginia; there are three categories of unlicensed driving, 1. driving without an issued License, a class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense and class 1 misdemeanors for second or subsequent convictions. 2. Driving without carrying your license, a traffic infraction, and 3. Driving on a suspended or revoked license, a class 1 misdemeanor, however, third or subsequent offenses within a 10- year time period results in a mandatory minimum confinement of 10 days in jail. Driving on a suspended or revoked license requires a license suspension for as long as the license was originally suspended or if the license was indefinitely suspended; the suspension is extended by an additional period not to exceed 90 days.
  7. Driving a Commercial Vehicle while Disqualified: Any person who drives a commercial motor vehicle while their privilege to do so has been suspended or revoked or who has been disqualified from doing so, will generally be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, or a class 1 misdemeanor for a second or any subsequent offense. Virginia Code section 46.2-341.21

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