Are you someone who has been charged with a traffic violation or know someone who has? Do you have questions regarding the different types of violations of laws and what the consequences are? Do you wish to know more about the traffic laws in your state and want to know the repercussions of it all?
If your answer to all these questions is yes, then you have found yourself coming to the right article as here you will get to learn all there is to know regarding traffic violation and how it differs from other crimes out there. So without any further ado, let’s get started.
Understanding individual state laws
Before we dive into what it means to get charged for a traffic violation, let’s talk about the laws themselves. When it comes to traffic laws, every state and country has different laws and penalties.
Some countries/states may charge you higher for any damage done to a specific public property, while in some other states; the charge fee will depend on other factors, such as the severity of the accident and your intentions.
Generally speaking, though, minor incidents that occur on the road, such as running on a stop sign or speeding beyond the road limit, will end you up with a penalty that can be paid by anyone. However, in most states, you might end up going to a traffic law court if an incident has occurred beyond the price of a penalty. You can also visit dui lawyer phoenix.
In the whole United States of America, there are more than 200 million individuals who have a license to drive, and nearly 40 million of them receive a traffic violation. Now you might be wondering what exactly is a traffic violation and how does it differ from other criminals? Well, to answer your question, a traffic violation is any violation of a law that is committed by the individuals who were actively and either consciously or unconsciously made.
One thing to keep in mind is that with a traffic violation, it is given to those with penalties that were in the driving seat of the moving car. This means that other laws such as paperwork, parking, and ticket violation do not fall into this category.
In Virginia, United States, the system of traffic violation works with relation to the point system, which are three points, four points, and six points. Understanding these specific points and their severity of punishment can help you prepare if you were faced with these violations.
The three-point violation is the least severe punishment that is given to an individual and is given on the basis of speeding, improper turning, improper passing, driving without lights, and failing to signal in mandatory cases. The four-point system, on the other hand, includes speeding beyond 10-19 miles per hour beyond the limit, failing to stop for a walking pedestrian, following the front car too closely.
The third and the most severe traffic violation is the six-point violation which is given when an individual is driving under the influence, committing manslaughter, and driving with a revoked/ suspended license.
Civil traffic penalties
It is important to keep in mind that the majority of the traffic violation tickets are given out by law enforcement and so are considered completely civil. Earlier in the article, we talked about the traffic point system, which has categories that depend on the severity of the crime that you committed.
However, a traffic violation can also be given in the form of tickets, and they too have different types that you should be aware of. In most cases, getting a traffic violation ticket will result in the person who was involved in the incident attending a defensive driving school.
If you are someone who has been given a traffic violation ticket for reasons other than committing a serious crime that resulted in someone getting hurt or death, then it is best that you pay the fine before the date of arraignment reaches.
This will automatically end and close the case. If for some reason, you are unable to pay the fine, you may end up having to pay a higher amount after the date and will have to be present under the court.
Criminal traffic violation
If you are someone who has unintentionally committed a traffic violation but is unsure whether it is regarded as a crime or a penalty, it is important that you educate yourself in this matter.
Some of the solid examples of committing a criminal traffic violation are reckless driving, hit and run, careless driving, criminal speeding that puts other vehicles in danger, driving without a valid license, driving under the influence of alcohol/ drug or both, committing a traffic violation in a repeated manner, etc.
Besides having your license being taken away, you may have to not only face prison time, but the history of the crime and its consequent will be written on your profile. If you are someone who wants to get in contact with a traffic violation lawyer in Virginia, then click on the link.
Fighting your case
If, after close inspection and decision, you have been found not guilty of committing a criminal traffic law violation, you have the right to fight for a case. This will ensure that you do not end up paying for the unnecessary damage done before, during, and after the incident.
If you want to fight for the case regarding the issuance of a ticket violation under your name, you could do so by being present in the court or hiring an attorney to do it for you. If you win the case, you will not have to pay any fees, and the incident will not be reported under your name.
Driver improvement course
As we have mentioned earlier in the article that in Virginia, the severity of the incident by an individual is scaled upon the traffic point system. It is worth mentioning that if you are someone who has too many points on their record for a traffic violation, then you may end up having your license revoked as well as given a suspension period.
You may be given a suspension period of 12 months for 18 points and 25 months for 24 points. However, many people do not know this, but there is a system where if you are eligible, you can earn up to five safe points. To do this, you take a driver improvement course which is assigned by the court.
Moving vs. non-moving violation
In most cases, a ticket is issued to an individual under his/ her name for reasons that go beyond the limits of laws. For instance, if you are someone who has violated a law that requires you to stop completely two to three meters away from a walking pedestrian, but you failed to do so. In this case, you will be issued a traffic violation ticket and will be asked to pay the fees or be present in the court for future analysis and discussion.
Many people out there do not know this, but there are two types of violations, moving and non-moving. In a moving traffic violation, you get a ticket for breaking the law while the vehicle you are in was in motion, such as running a red light, changing unnecessary lanes without signals, speeding.
On the other hand, non-moving violations and its penalty are given to those whose vehicle is not in action. For instance, the vehicle is parked in the wrong direction, such as in front of a fire hydrant, crosswalk, or having a car with broken headlights, etc.
Reducing traffic violation charges
Although not many people focus on this, it is something that can be done if you are determined and confident enough. There are several ways you could reduce the charges made against you for breaking traffic laws.
One of the most common ways is to demand a trial. In this case, the prosecutor will present details and evidence that relate to the time and location of the incident.
If you have presented with solid reasoning, justifications to questions by the judge, and relevant evidence, you may be granted reduced charges. Another thing that could be done is to have the speed reduced.
For instance, if a case has been charged with speeding of 90mph when the speed limit is 80mph, your attorney could ask the prosecutor to reduce the speed limit up to 89 in a 90mph zone.
Under strict circumstances, you may have your license to drive being permanently suspended. Some of the most common cases where this might occur are if you have been found guilty of driving under the influence, failed to pay the traffic ticket fee multiple times, performed reckless driving, failed to file a report of the incident, street racing, and much more.
If, for any reason, you have been caught driving while having a suspended license, you could fall under the serious offense list, which will result in large fines and even imprisonment.
Driving under the influence
By far, one of the most severe punishments that are received in the form of traffic violations is for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Any intoxicating substance that inhibits a person’s ability to properly manage a vehicle is considered extremely dangerous to not only the individual itself but also to other people on the road.
In many states, the punishment given is a suspension of license and, in some cases, 1 – 3 days spent in jail if the violation is committed for the first time. The maximum penalty given is 6 months in jail and having a permanent record of DUI in the license report.
Leaving the scene of the incident
Another traffic violation besides having tickets is to leave/ disappear from the scene of the incident. This is taken as proof of your mistake in front of the judge and can result in harsh punishments, which include large fines.
If a motor vehicle incident occurs, the law in many states requires the driver to give the following information; driver’s name/ address, valid driver’s license. If, for some reason, you have caused an incident but are required to move away from the scene due to personal reasons, you may leave a note of your information so that the authority can contact you for the damage caused on any public or personal property.
As mentioned before, if you leave a scene of the incident, you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and will be charged with jail time of up to two years, depending on the severity of the case. If the accident resulted in serious physical injury to another individual, you would be charged with a felony.
The first offense usually is around 500 to 1000 dollars, as well as up to 2 years in jail. On the other hand, if the accident results in injury, which causes the death of any person, the fine is much larger, and jail time varies from 5 to 10 years in prison. If the point system is used in states such as Virginia, then besides having a fine jail time, you would be assessed up to 8 points.
Mistake of fact
If you are charged with a traffic violation and are present in front of a judge at a court, you can use the mistake of fact by convincing the judge of your honest mistake. In this case, you not only have to show remorse but also accept the charges made against you. If the judge sees your honest intentions and mistakes, he/she may call it a “mistake of fact.”
This is a way to show that it was an honest mistake and that you had no intention of breaking the law. Some of the places where this could apply are failing to stop at a red signal as the sign was hidden/ broken/ was covered with dust/ rain etc., or failure to stop at a pedestrian signal as you could not clearly see the lines or the sign.
Lastly, if you believe that you have made an honest mistake or that your mistake was unavoidable due to external factors such as wind/ harsh weather/ crowd etc., then you have the option to go for a trial.
These trials will take your case to court for a certain amount of time, and this option falls under the constitutional rights under the law. Before going for a trial, make sure that you have all the necessary documents and evidence, such as the nature of charges made against you, a copy of your identity/ license, etc.
Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of what it means if you have been charged with a traffic violation and the different types of violation of laws. Although the overall process may seem difficult, there are ways you could fight to eliminate the need to pay the unnecessary fines or face the repercussions.