Traffic Lawyers in Northern Virginia
The highly-rated DUI and traffic lawyers at Livesay & Myers, P.C. represent clients in Fairfax, Manassas, Prince William, Leesburg, Loudoun, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford and all across Northern Virginia.
Our attorneys have years of experience in aggressively defending clients against charges of reckless driving, speeding, driving on a revoked or suspended license, texting while driving, aggressive driving, DUI-DWI, and other traffic law offenses in Northern Virginia. We can help you identify and exploit any weaknesses in the government’s charges against you, and minimize the potential impact on your driving record or criminal record.
Traffic Offenses in Northern Virginia
Virginia is very tough on traffic offenses, much more so than most of its neighbors. Sure, as in most other states, DUIs and “hit and runs” are criminal misdemeanors in Virginia. However, Virginia has also made many other traffic violations misdemeanors—meaning that a conviction for any of those traffic offenses will give you a criminal record and the possibility of a jail sentence or a license suspension. This should be of particular concern to the many D.C. area residents who have security clearances. Courts and prosecutors in Northern Virginia take these offenses seriously, with Commonwealth Attorney’s offices routinely seeking jail time on traffic-related misdemeanors.
In addition, the Virginia DMV assesses points to drivers based on convictions. Offenses carry either three, four or six points depending on their severity. Most traffic misdemeanors (DUI, reckless driving, driving suspended, etc.) carry six points, whereas most of the three and four point offenses are traffic infractions. Just two or three offenses in a short time period can cause serious license issues: regardless of what the court does, the DMV will suspend the license of anyone who accumulates 18 points in a 12-month period or 24 points in a 24-month period. Even before that happens, the DMV requires anyone who accumulates 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months to complete a driver improvement class. If you’re on probation with the DMV, even a three point offense will cause a license suspension. The DMV also reports these offenses to insurance companies, so any points offense can cause an increase in insurance premiums. For out-of-state drivers, the Virginia DMV will report any violation to your home state and your home state will assess points depending on their policies.
Representing Yourself in Court. Many people are under the false impression that all they need to do to get out of a ticket is to go to court, have a good record and apologize to the judge. Unfortunately, while this approach may result in a reduced fine, you will likely still have the conviction and points. Judges in Northern Virginia rarely grant reductions absent an agreement with either the Commonwealth Attorney or police officer. The reason for this is simple: the courts in Northern Virginia are some of the busiest in the state, and judges often view their discretion in such matters as rather limited—and think it would be unfair to other drivers if they were to grant a reduction to one and not all. This leaves negotiation with the Commonwealth Attorney’s office as the only viable option, and many Northern Virginian prosecutors are frankly hesitant to speak with non-represented parties if they don’t outright refuse to do so. This means that there is very little you can do to help yourself if you’re not represented.
Why Hire an Attorney to Fight a Traffic Ticket?
The most common question people have upon receiving a traffic ticket is whether there is anything an attorney can do for them. As stated above, certain traffic violations are actually misdemeanor criminal offenses in Virginia, meaning conviction will give you a criminal record and the possibility of a jail sentence or a license suspension. These traffic offense include: speeding 20 mph over the limit, speeding over 80 mph, driving on a suspended license, driving with no license, aggressive driving and attempting to elude the police, to name a few. If you’re charged with one of those traffic offenses, an attorney can help you avoid jail, license suspensions, and large fines. In certain cases, we can help you avoid a misdemeanor conviction by negotiating a reduction in the charge to an infraction and a lesser points offense.
Even if your matter is a lesser traffic offense, we can often secure a reduction to avoid any points on your license or impact on your insurance. Often, we can have your appearance waived—saving you money in both travel costs and missed time from work.
The biggest benefit to hiring an experienced traffic attorney is that they know the law, your jurisdiction, your judge, your Commonwealth Attorney, and what is likely to happen to someone in court with your record and offense. A good traffic lawyer will know the defenses available to any charge and the steps that can be taken to mitigate consequences in each jurisdiction. Even within Northern Virginia, jurisdictions have different rules and procedures when it comes to traffic offenses; for example, Fairfax County doesn’t allow drivers to go to driver improvement to secure a reduction after their court date, Arlington has a court-approved driver improvement program, and in Alexandria, the prosecution only gets involved with misdemeanors. Some Commonwealth Attorney’s offices have differing policies on how they handle reckless driving and accident cases. Some localities have county code violations that they will reduce charges to, resulting in no points. Knowing all of the options available to drivers in the jurisdiction of your traffic ticket is essential for getting the best result possible.
Why Should You Pay an Attorney Instead of Just Paying the Fine? If you prepay a ticket, you are admitting guilt. That means you get the conviction, the points, and the fine/costs without getting any benefit or your day in court. For some people, the short-term cost seems favored towards just paying the fine; however, the long-term costs of insurance increases and the future consequences of having a less-than-perfect driving record if you pick up another ticket can far exceed the cost of hiring a traffic attorney. In addition to appearing on your behalf at court, an attorney can review your driving record and give you advice on how to improve it outside of court alone. Your traffic lawyer should be willing to discuss your matter with you and answer any questions you may have about your case or record. Be careful of hiring the cheapest attorney as well—make sure you’re comfortable with your traffic attorney and that they can adequately prepare you for what will happen at court and afterwards.
Are There Any Traffic Cases Where You Don’t Need an Attorney? There are a few traffic matters in which it simply isn’t cost-effective or there isn’t much an attorney can do for you absent taking the matter to trial. These are non-points offenses such as defective equipment, expired registration and HOV first offenses, or civil matters such as minor toll violations and red-light cameras.
So in What Cases Should You Hire an Attorney? You definitely should hire an attorney to represent you if:
- You have been charged with any traffic misdemeanor such as: DUI/DWI, hit and run, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, no operator’s license, aggressive driving, eluding the police, etc.;
- You hold a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and you have been charged with any moving violation; or
- You have been charged with a traffic infraction that is a moving violation and you’re concerned with either your DMV points balance or insurance costs.
Our Traffic Lawyers
Livesay & Myers, P.C. has a team of experienced traffic defense attorneys in Northern Virginia. Be sure to read our client reviews, then review the profiles of each of our traffic lawyers to find the one who is the best fit for you.
Free Consultation. If you have been charged with a traffic offense in Northern Virginia, contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys today. Each of our offices are open Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–5:30 pm; during off-hours please send us an email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.