Traffic Ticket FAQ in Virginia

What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in Virginia?

Start by deciding how you will plead―guilty or not guilty―and then take proper action before the court date listed on your Virginia traffic ticket. If you fail to act in time, the court could suspend your driver's license and eventually report the past due amount to a collections.

If you decide to plead guilty, learn more on paying a traffic ticket. In many cases, drivers have the convenient option to pay online. If you decide to plead not guilty and contest the traffic ticket, visit our page on fighting your traffic ticket. Get the facts of pleading not guilty as soon as possible in case you need to subpoena any witnesses.

How can I get a Virginia traffic ticket dismissed?

VA doesn't dismiss traffic tickets. Instead, it offers "safe driving points" to offset any demerit points you might have accumulated on your driving record. If you hold a valid Virginia driver's license, can earn safe points in two ways:

  • Driving for 1 calendar year without any violations or suspensions
  • Completing a state-approved driver improvement clinic

The highest balance of safe driver points you can accumulate is 5 points. You can earn these 5 safe driving points every 2 years by completing a driver improvement clinic. See our page on Defensive Driving for more details.

What if I have a Virginia CDL and get a traffic ticket?

The procedures for handling traffic tickets are the same for Virginia commercial drivers as they are for those with a regular license; Virginia CDL holders must pay the fines or fight the traffic ticket by the court date listed on the citation. If convicted, then you must also notify your employer of any traffic violations. This is the case no matter what type of vehicle you were driving. Keep in mind parking tickets don't count.

For more on traffic violations and penalties for CDL drivers, refer to our page on traffic ticket fines and penalties and the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual.

What if I am younger than 18 and get a traffic ticket in Virginia?

First decide how you want to plead. This means you will either plead guilty and pay the fines or contest the traffic ticket in court. Just be sure you take action on or before the court date listed on your citation. If you are under 18 years old and you mail in the citation you must have the section titled "“PROCEDURE IF MOTORIST IS A JUVENILE." signed by your parent or guardian and notarized.

Traffic offense convictions result in the following penalties:

  • First conviction―You must complete a driver safety clinic within 90 days or else the DMV will suspend your driving privilege until you complete the course and pay a reinstatement fee.
  • Second conviction―The DMV will suspend your driving privilege for 90 days.
  • Third conviction―The DMV will revoke your driving privilege for 1 year (or until your turn 18 years old, whichever is longer).

Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a Virginia traffic ticket I got while riding?

If the traffic ticket resulted in additional demerit points on your driving record, you can earn “safe driving points."

Can I take a traffic school or defensive driving course to reduce the number of Virginia driver's license points on my driving record?

Yes. Completing a state-approved Driver Improvement Clinic will earn you 5 safe driving points to offset set any demerit points that resulted from a traffic ticket. You can also earn these safe points by driving for 1 calendar year without any violations or suspensions. To learn more, visit our page on Virginia point reduction.

Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?

Because points on your driving record affect your driving privileges and your auto insurance rates, consider checking your driving record periodically. It's especially wise to do so after getting a traffic ticket, completing a Driver Improvement Clinic or to see if the state reduced your demerit points after you drove without any violations or suspensions. Rather be safe and ensure the state's record is accurate than be sorry.

What is the cost of my Virginia traffic ticket?

Traffic ticket fines vary by offense You'll find this amount on your actual citation. If your ticket doesn't include the exact amount owed, contact the court through the Virginia Courts Case Information site. You could also try contacting the local Virginia law enforcement agency that issued your citation or the Virginia State Police. If you've misplaced your traffic citation, go to out page on tracking down lost traffic tickets.

How many points will I get if convicted?

Demerit point assignments vary by offense. Depending on the severity of the traffic law you broke, you'll receive a varying amount of points following a conviction. Consult our page on VA traffic ticket fines and penalties for more on this.

How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?

First try using the Virginia Courts Case Information site. Then if you don't have any luck, consult our page on lost traffic tickets.

When is it a good idea to hire a Virginia traffic ticket attorney?

If you decide to fight your traffic ticket, consider consulting a traffic ticket lawyer well versed in Virginia traffic laws and familiar with traffic court. You might also check with the court if you can have an attorney stand in for you should you have difficulty making your court date. Most will allow you to retain counsel to appear for you.

How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my Virginia driver's license?

If you acquire 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months, the VA DMV will suspend your driving privilege and require you to complete a driver improvement clinic. Keep in mind that you can reduce your driving record points before it comes time for such a penalty. Learn more about the VA traffic ticket penalties and the state's point system.

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