Traffic Offenses Lawyer in Hanover County, VA
Have you been ticketed or charged with a traffic infraction in Hanover County, Virginia? If so, you could be facing severe penalties with immediate and long-term consequences. Depending on the charges, you could lose your ability to drive, owe hundreds of dollars in fines, or even serve time.
When you’re up against serious traffic charges, it’s easy to feel panicked and overwhelmed. But you don’t have to go through this alone. Attorney Samantha Upton is proud to stand up for drivers in Hanover County traffic cases. Contact us online or call Upton Law, PLLC, today for a free initial consultation and learn how Samantha can help you throughout the legal process.
What Are Traffic Offenses in Hanover County?
Some of the most common types of violations that are considered traffic offenses in Hanover County include:
- Reckless driving – Driving more than 85 mph, speeding more than 20 mph above posted speed limits, driving too fast for conditions, racing, passing a school bus or emergency vehicle, driving or passing two vehicles abreast, etc.
- Speeding – Driving 1-9 mph, 10-14 mph, 15-19 mph, or 20 mph above posted speed limits or impeding traffic with especially slow speeds
- Improper passing or driving – Improper passing on the right, changing course after signaling intent, failing to yield to overtaking vehicles, improper stopping on highways, improper turns, improper U-turns, improper left-hand turns on red, driving on sidewalks, etc.
- Failure to stop or yield – Failure to stop for emergency vehicles, failure to stop for pedestrians, failure to yield the right-of-way, failure to yield while turning left, failure to yield to funeral processions, etc.
- Driving under the influence – Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, driving after illegally consuming alcohol, driving with a license that has been suspended or revoked for DUI, refusing a blood or breathalyzer test, etc.
- Licensing offenses – Driving without a license, learner’s permit violations, allowing unlicensed persons to drive, driving with a license that has been suspended or revoked, etc.
- Vehicular assault or manslaughter – Vehicular assault, involuntary vehicular manslaughter, or aggravated vehicular manslaughter
- Failure to stop or report – Failure to stop at the scene of a crash resulting in injury, death, or $1,000 or more in property damage or failure to report a crash
- Operating an unsafe vehicle – Driving a vehicle that is unsafe or not equipped as required under Virginia law, driving a vehicle with equipment that is not properly adjusted or in good repair, driving without proper lights or with excessive lights, failure to dim headlights, etc.
- Electronic device-related offenses – Driving with a TV screen in view of the driver, driving while using earphones, or driving while using a handheld communications device
- Other offenses – Attempting to elude law enforcement, disregarding law enforcement signals, failure to obey traffic signals, driving the wrong way on a one-way road, HOV violations, etc.
Hanover County Misdemeanor Traffic Violations
The majority of traffic offenses in Hanover County are considered “infractions,” which are simply public order violations that do not count as criminal offenses. Common types of infractions include failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, failing to yield, or following too closely. Infractions may result in demerit points and fines, but the consequences will go away eventually.
In some cases, though, more serious traffic violations are considered criminal offenses. Common types of misdemeanor traffic offenses include reckless driving and driving with a suspended license. In addition to demerit points and fines, misdemeanor convictions can result in license suspension, jail time, and a criminal record.
When Your Traffic Offense Could Become a Felony
Certain especially serious traffic violations are considered felony crimes under Virginia law. Examples of felony traffic offenses include repeat DUI offenses and vehicular manslaughter. Penalties for a felony conviction may include prison time in a state correctional facility.
The Virginia DMV assigns drivers demerit points for unsafe driving behaviors. You receive demerit points when the courts notify the DMV that you have been convicted of a traffic violation. This includes convictions for traffic violations in other states. Demerit points remain on your driving record for two years.
The number of demerit points you receive is based on the severity of the offense, so points can accumulate quickly. If you receive 12 demerit points in a single year or 18 points within two years, you will be required to attend a driver improvement course. If you receive 18 demerit points in a single year or 24 points within two years, the DMV can suspend your license for up to 90 days.
Length of Time on Your Record
Like the number of demerit points you receive, the length of time a traffic conviction remains on your record is based on the severity of the offense. If your license is revoked or suspended due to a conviction, the offense could stay on your record even longer than usual.
In general, traffic offenses can remain on your record for the following time periods:
- Three years – For relatively minor offenses, such as operating an unsafe vehicle, driving without a license, improper or unsafe passing, failure to yield, HOV violations, and electronic device violations.
- Five years – For more serious offenses, such as driving above posted speed limits, impeding traffic with slow speed, emergency vehicle violations that result in property damage or injury, aggressive driving offenses, and texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
- Eleven years – For the most serious offenses, such as reckless driving, most DUI offenses, vehicular assault or manslaughter, driving with a suspended or revoked license, emergency vehicle violations that result in death, and failure to stop for a crash resulting in injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage.
- Permanently – If you are a commercial driver, most traffic offenses committed while driving a commercial motor vehicle remain on your record permanently.
Importance of a Hanover County Traffic Offenses Lawyer
If you received a speeding ticket or another traffic ticket, you may be tempted to simply pay the fine and move on. However, you should know that doing so would amount to a guilty plea for the alleged offense, which could have a serious impact on your record.
The potential consequences of many traffic offense convictions can affect your driving privileges, your employment opportunities, your finances, and your freedom. When the stakes are this high, it pays to have a knowledgeable local attorney who can defend your rights in Hanover traffic court.
Talk to Our Experienced Hanover County Defense Lawyer Today
If you’re facing a court date for traffic tickets in Hanover County, Virginia, don’t hesitate to contact attorney Samantha Upton for assistance with your case. Upton Law, PLLC, can help with speeding tickets, DUIs, primary and secondary traffic offenses, and more. Get your free consultation now.