When a Virginia traffic ticket is issued, motorists generally have the option to pay driving fines or contest the matter in court. By submitting a VA traffic tickets payment, drivers automatically waive their right to a hearing and admit their guilt. If they believe they are innocent, motorists may prepare a traffic ticket defense and dismiss their charges. Learn more about traffic citations in Virginia by reading the below sections:
- Fighting a Virginia ticket
- Paying a Virginia ticket
- Lost tickets in Virginia
- Virginia fines and penalties
- Points in Virginia
- How tickets affect a Virginia driver's license
- Virginia car insurance fines and violations
Fighting a Virginia Ticket
The procedure of contesting a traffic citation in Virginia is generally more complex than paying traffic tickets online or via other available methods. If you decide to fight traffic tickets, consult your ticket for the exact steps. Typically, motorists fighting traffic tickets will need to enter a plea of "not guilty" to the corresponding court (the VA district or circuit court handling their case). Once they do so, a trial before a judge or jury may be scheduled. In order to prepare a successful VA traffic ticket defense, you will need to gather and present any relevant evidence or contact any witnesses. Consider hiring an attorney to represent you in court to increase your chances of successfully defending your case. You may hire one online by sending in an image of your ticket and providing a few lines of related information. If found guilty, be prepared to submit the allotted fines and costs, and face additional penalties, including negative points on your driving record.
Paying a Virginia Ticket
The deadline to pay driving tickets in VA will depend on whether you need to make a pre-court or post-court payment. Drivers who choose to submit a pre-court traffic tickets payment plead guilty to their charges and waive their right to a court hearing. Post-court ticket violation payments cannot be provided on your trial date. Instead, you must submit them within 30 days after your court date to avoid being penalized. Depending on the court handling your case, you may be able to arrange payment via the internet, by mail or in person. For more information, access the "How to Pay Traffic Tickets" page.
Lost Tickets in Virginia
Details listed on VA traffic citations are generally necessary to dispute traffic tickets or provide payment for the set fines. Such details mainly include the ticket number, deadlines and total amounts. Drivers who have lost their traffic ticket may obtain the information via the state's online case information system. Drivers may also contact the Virginia traffic violation court handling their case, if they are not able to retrieve all the necessary details via the online provider.
Virginia Fines and Penalties
Virginia traffic ticket fees generally vary depending on the county of residence and type of the offense committed. The total amount of your VA traffic tickets payment may include the base fine, additional court costs and surcharges, and it is usually listed on your citation. The following list outlines several pre-payable traffic fines in Henrico County, VA:
- Failure to obey stop sign - $30
- Failure to yield right of way - $30
- Failure to provide driving license or registration - $10
Note: You can always contact your presiding court to check the exact amount due. If you do not want to pay a fee, your only option is to have your ticket dismissed by successfully challenging it in court. To achieve this, you may need to hire legal representation, which you can do online.
Points in Virginia
If you fail to beat a traffic ticket in Virginia, you will incur negative points on your driving record. Once you have been convicted of a specific traffic violation, the VA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) places the conviction against your report and assigns you driving points which vary based on the severity of the offense. Virginia traffic violations are generally assigned three, four and six points. Examples of several traffic offenses and the corresponding penalties are included in the following list:
- Improper passing or driving - 3 points.
- Driving/riding on sidewalk - 3 points.
- Failure to yield right-of-way - 4 points.
- Failure to yield when turning left - 4 points.
- Reckless driving - 6 points.
Note: Motorists may be able to earn safe driving points which offset demerit points by completing a driver improvement clinic.
How Tickets Affect a Virginia Drivers License
Traffic citations in VA generally result in administrative actions against your privilege to drive. If you fail to provide your allotted VA ticket violation payment in due time, for instance, your credential may be suspended for a specific period of time. In case of several traffic violations which result in an excess of negative points on your driving record, the same penalty may apply as well. Adult motorists who accrue 18 penalty points within a 12-month period or 24 points within 24 months will be issued a suspended driver's license and may be required to complete a traffic school course.
Virginia Car Insurance Fines and Violations
If you were unable to challenge speeding tickets or other types of citations or simply decided to pay traffic citations in Virginia, be prepared for the possibility of receiving higher insurance premiums. Also, note that each conviction of a traffic violation in Virginia may result in points placed against your insurance record, which are different from DMV demerit points. You may be able to earn an insurance discount by graduating from a driver improvement course, in addition to acquiring safe driving points.