Because of its incredible beauty, rich history, and many other attractions, out-of-state visitors choose to come to Virginia on vacation, while passing through on a road trip, or even to conduct business. And, in some cases, when driving through, these individuals may accidentally exceed the speed limit and end up being apprehended by Virginia law enforcement personnel.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is imperative that you don’t simply throw away the ticket, thinking that doing so won’t have dire consequences. Instead, it is in your best interests to learn more about how Virginia treats speeding offenses committed in the state, as well as the specifics of your charge, and to reach out to an attorney immediately to help protect your rights.
How Does the State of Virginia Treat Speeding Charges?
Like many other states throughout the nation, Virginia treats some forms of speeding as nothing more than traffic violations that come with financial penalties. To be sure, Virginia specifies a basic speeding fine of $250, although this can increase significantly if the violation occurred in a school or work zone, as well as depending on the speed of the traveling vehicle, up to a point. If an out-of-state driver receives nothing more than a basic speeding charge, and is not requested to appear in court, then they can simply submit the payment online, or they can retain a Virginia lawyer to contest the ticket for them in court; however, it is important to note that failure to do so within 30 days will lead to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles suspending the driver’s license to operate in the state, and, because Virginia is part of a compact of states, the DMV will pass this information along to the driver’s home state, as well, in order to collect compensation.
Excessive Speeding Can Lead to Criminal Charges
Unfortunately, in many cases, out-of-state drivers who exceed the speed limit by a certain amount will find themselves facing not only points on their license and a hefty fine, but they may also be charged criminally, as well. Under Virginia law, exceeding the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more, or traveling at 80 miles per hour at any time, is considered reckless driving in the state, and can lead to a misdemeanor charge. And pursuant to Virginia law, misdemeanor charges can be punished by up to a $2,500 fine and 12 months in jail.
The Importance of Contacting an Virginia Attorney Immediately
If you are an out-of-state driver who has received a speeding or reckless driving ticket in Virginia, it important that you first understand the specifics of your violation. Your traffic ticket should mention if you are required in court; if not, then the ticket is simply for a traffic violation that requires the payment of a fine, or that you can contest with the help of a skilled Virginia attorney.
If, however, the ticket confirms that you must appear in court, you could be facing charges for reckless driving; in this situation, because reckless driving charges can lead to conviction of a misdemeanor, it is important that you reach out to a skilled Virginia reckless driving attorney as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will likely lead to the issuance of a warrant for your arrest, even if you have returned to your home state.
Let Us Fight Your Charges Today
At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., located in Manassas, Virginia, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have significant experience defending clients who have been charged with speeding and reckless driving, and we are prepared to begin working on your behalf immediately. We will fight aggressively to protect your rights in court to ensure that you avoid any of the penalties associated with a criminal conviction for speeding and reckless driving. If you need help, please call us today at (703) 361-1555 for a consultation on your case or use our convenient contact form.