Common Driving offenses in Virginia and Their Consequences
In Virginia there are a variety of traffic offenses for which you can be convicted. Although not an exhaustive, list the following infractions are common throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Running a Red Light/Stop Sign
If you run a red light or a stop sign an officer may detain you if he observed the violation or received notice of the violation through a law officer who witnessed the violation. The officer who observed the violation must provide certain identification of the violation such as the license plate number. A violation of this statute is a fine of no more than $350.
You do not have to be speeding to be charged with reckless driving, although speed may be a factor in the officer’s determination. Reckless driving is the operation of a vehicle in a speed or manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person, including yourself.
A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum punishment of up to twelve months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.
Additionally, if your reckless driving charge was related to the use of a cellphone then the charge must include a mandatory minimum sentence of $250.
Hit and Run
If you are involved in an accident where a person or property is injured you have a duty to stop and report your information and if necessary lend assistance to an injured individual. Failing to do so may result in a Class 5 felony charge if someone is injured or dies because of the hit and run, or if the damage to property exceeds $1000. If the damage to property is less than $1000 it will be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
A class 5 felony carries serious penalties: one to ten years in prison.
Driving Without a License
Driving without a license or while on a suspended license is a Class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense. If it is the second offense, it is bumped up to a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person convicted of driving without a license may have their privilege to drive suspended for up to ninety days.
You can also be convicted of driving on a suspended license. They are several ways in which your license could be suspended: a conviction for reckless driving, a conviction for a DUI, a conviction for a hit and run, certain drug and felony convictions, failure to pay court fines or child support, certain number of DMV points against your license, and failure to complete a court mandated driver safety course. A charge for driving on suspended license is a class 1 misdemeanor, however if you are convicted of your third offense then there is a mandatory jail time of ten days.
Understanding a traffic charge can be difficult. It is important to ensure you know the implications of the charge you are facing. Often people go to court unprepared and the outcome can have a costly effect on their personal life or business. The law offices of Simms Showers LLP in Leesburg have vast experience in dealing with a variety of traffic law violations and the best defenses to these charges. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.