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  • Fight Traffic Ticket in Virginia

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    Know Your Options

    If you recently got a traffic ticket in Virginia, you have two ways to plead by the court date listed on your citation: guilty or not guilty. Failing to either pay or contest the ticket could result in a suspended driver’s license. If you’ve misplaced it altogether, visit our page on lost UT traffic tickets.

    Pay Ticket
    (Plead Guilty)

    • Pay the fine online, by mail or in court
    • Option to plea bargain penalties in court
    • Incur demerit points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation)
    • Possibly incur increase in auto insurance rates
    • Option to take eight-hour driving improvement clinic to reduce demerit points

    Learn more about
    Paying your Traffic Ticket »

    Fight Ticket
    (Plead Not Guilty)

    • Contest traffic ticket in court
    • Choose to represent yourself during trial or hire an attorney
    • No penalties if found guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees
    • If found guilty, incur demerit points on driving record and possible increase in car insurance rates
    • If found guilty, possible option to take eight-hour driving improvement clinic to reduce demerit points

    Learn more below

    What it Means to Fight Your Traffic Ticket

    You have the option to dispute the charges by appearing in court on the day listed on your summons. On this day only is when the law enforcement officer who ticketed you will also be present. That’s because every officer who writes traffic tickets has one day per month where he’ll also appear before the judge.

    Keep in mind that when you contest a traffic ticket, you aren’t guaranteed lesser charges or dismissal. In fact if the judge finds you guilty, the conviction will add three, four or six points (per violation) to your driving record. But as a Virginia resident, you have two options to reduce demerit points. You might also consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney to help you navigate the VA traffic court system.

    Pleading Guilty

    Pleading guilty is the other alternative. This entails paying the traffic ticket. The conviction means additional points on your driving record and possible an increase in your auto insurance rate. For full details on the steps you need to take, visit our page on VA traffic ticket payment.

    Avoid Further Penalties

    Don’t ignore the ticket; that will cost you more in the long run. Determine how you will plead and then look into the course of action you must take before the date listed on your summons. If you don’t act in time, you could face driver’s license suspension and a debt in your name being sent to collections. Being unable to make the court date is not a valid excuse. Instead you must retain legal counsel to appear for you.

    Notify the Court

    Locate the State Court

    Your Virginia summons should include court contact info and the exact time and date you need to appear. If not, consult the Virginia Courts Case Information site. Take note of this date and location as you might want to subpoena witnesses.

    Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney

    When going before a judge you might feel more comfortable with a legal professional on your side. Talk to a traffic ticket attorney about your case and see if hiring one a sensible route for you and your budget. When finding a traffic ticket lawyer that suits you, be sure this person knows the ins and outs of VA traffic court and has a great handle on Virginia traffic laws.

    Prepare Your Case

    Remember that when you go before the judge to plead not guilty and state your case, the law enforcement officer who cited you will be doing the same. That’s why you were given a specific date and time to appear. Be well prepared, and possibly even practice your testimony before showing up to court. If you’ve requested the court to subpoena specific witnesses, also have your lineup of questions well rehearsed and jotted down.

    Plead Your Case Before a Judge

    Iron out the facts of your case and any uncertainty about the whole process to dispute your traffic ticket. Understand that traffic court can seem intimidating or complicated, but it is still your right to go before a judge to state your case.

    After the judge hears both sides, he’ll render a verdict. If you’re found not guilty and the charges are dropped, you won’t have to pay the ticket but instead will likely still have to pay court fees of some sort (and of course, your attorney fees if applicable). If you are found guilty, the judge will inform you of how to pay the traffic ticket fines, the penalties of your sentence (demerit points, restricted driving privileges, etc.) and whether the court is ordering you to take a driver improvement clinic. If he doesn’t require you to take the course, you could complete one anyway to earn “safe driving points.” Learn more on how to offset demerit points on our page titled VA Point Reduction.

    Check Your Driving Record

    Be sure the state record of your points is accurate by checking your driving record. Do this periodically to ensure that the demerit points you see on file are valid―especially if you got a traffic ticket or completed a driver improvement clinic.

    The perils of additional points are increased auto insurance rates and getting one step closer to driver’s license suspension. To clean up your driving record, check out our page on point reduction.

    Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rates

    Inquire with your auto insurance company on how the violation will affect your rates if you’re found guilty. Because traffic offense convictions add demerit points to your driving record, you could see an increase in your insurance premium the next time you renew your policy. Get ahead of the added expense by shopping online to compare auto insurance rates.