Virginia Traffic Violations
Traffic violations in Virginia can be criminal offenses, either felony or misdemeanor, or traffic infractions.
Traffic infractions typically are offenses which involve simple rule of the road violations and include offenses such as: exceeding the speed limit, failure to obey lane markings, failure to obey traffic signals, failure to obey roadway signage. Such traffic infractions in Virginia are punishable by a fine of not more than $250.00 except for the offense of Improper Driving which is punishable by a maximum penalty of $500.00.
Traffic Criminal Misdemeanors are criminal offenses of a more serious nature with a punishment range varying from a fine of up to $2500.00 to up to 12 months in jail. Typical traffic violations which are catagorized as misdemeanors include offenses such as: driving under the influence, driving without a valid license, driving on a suspended or revoked license, reckless driving, aggressive driving, eluding law enforcement, and leaving the scene of an accident,
Traffic Criminal Felonies are criminal offenses with a punishment range varying from 1 year to up to 20 years in prison. Such offenses are very serious in nature and include offenses such as: vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving attended property with injury or property damage in excess of $1000.00, third or subsequent offense driving while intoxicated and eluding law enforcement while endangering others.
Virginia has a Uniform Demerit Point System, codified as Virginia Code § 46.2-492, by which the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles assigns points to violations of the traffic laws based upon the severity of the offense and the potential hazardous exposure to other users of the highways and streets. The greater number of points assigned to the offense the more serious said offense is viewed.
- Serious traffic offenses such as driving while intoxicated in violation of § 18.2-266, persons under age twenty-one driving after illegally consuming alcohol in violation of § 18.2-266.1, reckless driving in violation of § 46.2-852, speeding twenty or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit, racing in violation of § 46.2-865, and other serious traffic offenses as the Commissioner may designate, shall be assigned six demerit points.
- Relatively serious traffic offenses such as failure to yield the right-of-way in violation of §§ 46.2-820 through 46.2-823, speeding between ten and nineteen miles per hour above the posted speed limit, following too closely in violation of § 46.2-816, failure to stop when entering a highway in violation of § 46.2-863, aggressive driving in violation of § 46.2-868.1 and other relatively serious traffic offenses as the Commissioner may designate, shall be assigned four demerit points.
- Traffic offenses of a less serious nature such as improper driving in violation of § 46.2-869, speeding between one and nine miles per hour above the posted speed limit, improper passing in violation of § 46.2-838, failure to obey a highway sign in violation of § 46.2-830 and other offenses of a less serious nature as the Commissioner may designate, shall be assigned three demerit points.
When a person is convicted of two or more traffic offenses committed on a single occasion, he shall be assessed points for one offense only and if the offenses involved have different point values, he shall be assessed points for the offense having the greater point value.
Furthermore with respect to rapid point accumulation it is important to note that: Whenever the operating record of any person shows an accumulation of at least eighteen demerit points based on convictions, or findings of not innocent in the case of a juvenile, for traffic violations committed within any twelve consecutive months, or at least twenty-four demerit points based on convictions, or findings of not innocent in the case of a juvenile, for traffic violations committed within any twenty-four consecutive months, respectively, the Commissioner shall suspend the person's license or licenses for a period of ninety days and thereafter until he attends and satisfactorily completes a driver improvement clinic. At the end of this suspension period, the person shall be placed on probation.