Ticket Fines and Penalties in Virginia

Virginia Traffic Ticket Fines and Costs

Virginia traffic ticket fines vary by offense but not location. In other words, getting a traffic ticket for running a red light in Richmond likely costs the same as running one in Virginia Beach.

Your traffic ticket should list the fine amount; if you've misplaced the citation, refer to our page on lost traffic tickets. Failure to pay this fine or contest the ticket in court by the deadline on our ticket results in bail increase in the form of surcharges. Plus, the court could issue a warrant for your arrest.

Additional Fees

If you fail to pay your Virginia traffic ticket within 90 days after your court date, you'll have to pay additional interest. Plus, the court will submit your debt to collections.

Of course your best bet is to pay the citation on time. Make sure the court receives your ticket payment within 90 days after your court date. Otherwise you'll face driver's license suspension for failure to pay. If a “time to pay" or deferred payment agreement has been scheduled, you must pay your VA traffic ticket fines by the agreed upon date.

Auto Insurance Rate Increase

One extra expense you shouldn't overlook is auto insurance rate increases. Most likely after getting convicted of a traffic violation, you'll notice your car insurance premium go up. Be particular mindful at renewal time. To get ahead of rate hike, compare car insurance rates online.

Pay Ticket
(Plead Guilty)

  • Pay the fine online, by mail or in court
  • Option to plea bargain penalties in court
  • Incur 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 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 about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »

Virginia Traffic Ticket Penalties

The state enlists a Driver Improvement Program for Virginia residents. That means if you get convicted of a traffic violation, the court will notify the VA DMV. Then the motor vehicle agency will:

On top of that, the DMV will also keep an eye on your driving record to monitor how many points you accumulate within 12 months and then within 24 months. For more on these demerit points, continue reading.

Virginia Point System

As you read above, convictions added to your driving record result in the DMV assigning 3 points, 4 points, or 6 points to those traffic offenses and moving violations.

After accumulating 8 points in 12 months (or 12 points in 24 months), drivers 18 years old and older will receive an advisory letter cautioning you about the consequences of breaking the law. If you accumulate 12 points in 12 months (or 18 points in 24 months), the state will give you 90 days to complete a driver improvement clinic. Furthermore, if you acquire 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months, the VA DMV will suspend your driving privilege for 90 days.

While demerit points remain your record for the 2 years following your citation date, convictions can stay on even longer. This depends on the severity of the violation. For more on this, consult our page titled Virginia Point System.

VA Driver's License Suspension, Revocation and Disqualification

An accumulation of demerit points resulting from traffic tickets could lead to some significant restrictions on your driving privileges. But that's only one way to get your license yanked. No matter what, it's worth getting the facts on license suspension, revocation and disqualification so you know where you and your driving privileges stand. Here are the differences:

License Suspension―Your privilege to drive has been withdrawn temporarily.
License Revocation―Your privilege to drive has been completely terminated; reapplication is possible after the revocation period ends.
License Disqualification―Your privilege as a commercial driver has been suspended or revoked

The following are just a few reasons the state will suspend your driver's license:

  • Failing to pay court fines and costs for convictions for motor vehicle related or non-motor vehicle related violations.
  • Failing to complete a driver improvement clinic.
  • A court order based on a reckless driving conviction.
  • Excessive accumulation of demerit points related to convictions for traffic violations
  • Failing to satisfy an outstanding judgment related to a motor vehicle crash.

The following are just a few reasons the state will revoke your driver's license:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from driving a motor vehicle.
  • Felony violations in which a motor vehicle was used .
  • Failure to stop and disclose your identity at the scene of a crash .
  • Accumulating 3 points for violations (including safety belt and child restraint violations) committed while under 18 years old.

If you're VA driver's license in suspended, revoked or disqualified, don't get behind the wheel. Driving without a valid license will only prolong the restriction on your driving privileges. When it comes time to reinstate your license, check the state site for full details on license reinstatement requirements.

For more on the specifics surrounding driver's license suspension and revocation and a full list of applicable offenses, consult the Virginia Driver Handbook and our page titled VA Suspended License

Penalties for Drivers Under 18 Years Old

The state keeps a closer eye on drivers younger than 18 years old. In fact, the VA DMV requires you to complete a driver safety clinic if you are convicted of a demerit point violation. This includes safety belt/child restraint violations.

If you are younger than 18 years old, the following penalties apply for demerit point traffic convictions:

  • 1st conviction―As stated above, you must complete a driver safety clinic. You must do so within 90 days or else the DMV will suspend your driving privilege until you complete the course and pay a reinstatement fee.
  • 2nd conviction―The DMV will suspend your driving privilege for 90 days.
  • 3rd conviction―The DMV will revoke your driving privilege for 1 year (or until your turn 18 years old, whichever is longer).

Penalties for Virginia Commercial Drivers

You must notify your employer within 30 days of a traffic violation conviction, regardless of the type of vehicle you were driving.

Major Offenses

You will lose your Virginia CDL for 1 year if convicted of any of the following offenses:

  • Driving any vehicle with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of 0.04%
  • Refusing to submit to a sobriety test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a suspended, revoked or canceled CDL
  • Causing a fatality through negligent driving

Serious Offenses

These violations include:

  • Speeding 15 MPH over the posted speed limit
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper lane changes
  • Following a vehicle too closely
  • Driving a CMV without holding a CDL
  • Driving a CMV without having your CDL in your possession
  • Driving a CMV without the proper CDL endorsement
  • Violating a state law of texting while driving

A 2nd conviction of any combination of these violations (within 3 years) will lead to the loss of your driving privileges for 60 days, or 120 days for a subsequent conviction of any combination of these offenses.

CDL Disqualifications

You CDL will be disqualified for at least 180 days for the following convictions:

  • Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting nonhazardous materials
  • Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, or while driving a vehicle designed to transport 16 passengers or more

For more on traffic ticket penalties for commercial drivers, check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) website and the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual.

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