Fight Traffic Ticket in VirginiaPage OverviewSUMMARY: How to Fight a Virginia Traffic Ticket
To fight your VA traffic ticket, you must plead "not guilty" in court. Your traffic ticket summons should have a hearing date listed. If there is no hearing date scheduled, contact the relevant traffic court. Check your Virginia traffic ticket for further instructions.
If you recently received a traffic ticket in Virginia, you will need to submit one of the following pleas by the date listed on your traffic citation: guilty or not guilty. Failing to either pay or contest your ticket could result in a suspended driver's license. If you've misplaced your VA ticket altogether, visit our page on lost Virginia traffic tickets.
- 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 Point Reduction (DELETED 12/22/2014) (DELETED 12/22/2014) (DELETED 1/30/2015) (DELETED 1/30/2015)
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Paying your Traffic 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 pointsPoint Reduction (DELETED 12/22/2014) (DELETED 12/22/2014) (DELETED 1/30/2015) (DELETED 1/30/2015)
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In Virginia, you have the option to dispute the charges by appearing in court on the day listed on your summons. The law enforcement officer who ticketed you will also be present as every officer who writes traffic tickets has a certain day per month to appear before the judge.
Keep in mind when you contest a VA traffic ticket, you aren't guaranteed lesser charges or dismissal. In fact, if the judge finds you guilty, the traffic conviction will add 3 points, 4 points or 6 points (per violation) to your driving record. However, as a Virginia resident, you have a couple options to reduce demerit points.
NOTE: You might also consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney to help you navigate the Virginia traffic court system.
Pleading Guilty in VA
Pleading guilty is another alternative, which entails paying the traffic ticket. The conviction means additional points on your Virginia driving record and possibly an increase in your auto insurance rate. For full details on the steps you need to take, visit our VA traffic ticket payment page.
Avoid Further Penalties
Don't ignore your traffic ticket in Virginia as this 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 a driver's license suspension and a debt sent to collections. Being unable to make your court date is not a valid excuse. Instead, you may want to consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney to appear for you.
Locate the Virginia State Court
Your Virginia court summons should include court's 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.
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 is 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 Virginia traffic laws.
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 prepared, and possibly even practice your testimony before showing up to traffic court. If you've requested the court to subpoena specific witnesses, it's a good idea to write down and rehearse your lineup of questions.
You'll need to organize the facts of your case to prepare to dispute your VA 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 traffic ticket but instead will likely still have to pay court fees of some sort (and 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."
Be sure the state record of your points is accurate by checking your VA driving record. Do this periodically to ensure that the demerit points you see on file are valid―especially if you got a traffic ticket (moving violation) or completed a driver improvement clinic.
The perils of additional points are increased auto insurance rates and getting one step closer to a driver's license suspension. To clean up your Virginia driving record, you may want to look into taking a defensive driving course.
Inquire with your auto insurance company on how the violation will affect your rates if you're found guilty. Since traffic offense convictions add demerit points to your VA 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.Other Topics in This Section