Lead Counsel independently verifies Traffic Violation attorneys in Charlottesville by conferring with Virginia bar associations and conducting annual reviews to confirm that an attorney practices in their advertised practice areas and possesses a valid bar license for the appropriate jurisdictions.
Traffic violations range from parking tickets to speeding and reckless driving. Failing to pay a traffic ticket can result in additional fines, potential arrest and other expenses such as bail. Those who have many violations risk increased fines and driver license suspension.
To contest any traffic violation you may appear in court on your own behalf, but it is always a good idea to obtain the advice of a Charlottesville lawyer who handles traffic tickets, especially for significant offenses. A lawyer can review your traffic violation case and tell you what options you have. He or she also can advise you of your legal rights, form a defense, and represent you in court.
It may seem like a small matter, but a traffic violation can really affect your life if you don’t get the counsel you deserve to make it right. Finding an attorney experienced in traffic violations may seem like a challenge but many attorneys are ready to help clients who need the advice and advocacy of an experienced lawyer. Ask hard questions and find an attorney who has experience in cases just like yours. The LawInfo directory can help you find verified traffic violation attorneys in Charlottesville.
For lesser violations, you typically do not have to appear in court. You may elect not to contest the violation and pay the fine, which is considered as admitting guilt for the violation. If you choose not to pay the fine, the court assumes that you will be present in court to challenge the violation. However, for more serious traffic violations or repeat violations, Virginia may require you to appear in court and go before a judge.
Most states consider traffic violations as infractions, which constitute an act or omission prohibited by law but don’t rise to the severity level of a criminal offense like a misdemeanor or felony. Since Virginia has its own laws defining crimes, what counts as a traffic violation in one state may be a misdemeanor in another state. Generally, most states consider speeding, running a red light or stop sign, failing to stop or yield, failure to wear a seat belt, expired inspection sticker, failure to have working headlights or brake lights as traffic violations. However, accumulating a number of violations may result in being charged with a criminal offense.
The length a traffic violation stays on your record is generally determined by state. Virginia has its own traffic laws and different requirements provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation. Some less serious offenses may only stay on your record for a limited period of time, such as two to five years. However more serious offenses or repeated traffic violations can lead to longer periods on your record or permanent marks on your record.
Missing a court date, referred to as failing to appear, can be a more serious offense than your original traffic violation. Some courts consider being late to your court date as a failure to appear as well. Each state provides its own additional penalties for failing to appear, but most jurisdictions consider this a separate criminal misdemeanor offense with its own penalties and fines. As a result, a judge may decide to suspend your license, hold you in contempt of court, or issue a warrant for your arrest which may lead to spending time in jail. Failing to appear or being found in contempt of court may stay on your criminal record as well. This makes it critical to appear on time to your court date or work with your attorney to request a new date to appear.
Going to court for a traffic violation can be straightforward but may be a bit more complex for serious violations, those with a negative driving record, or criminal history. You may elect to go to plead your case to the judge by proving your innocence or showing evidence of any mitigating circumstances. For serious offenses or habitual offenders, you may decide to go into court with an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
The process of a traffic violation differs from state to state. Generally, a police officer issues a ticket or citation for a moving violation or a non-moving violation. Depending on the traffic laws in your state and your driving record, you may be facing paying fines or penalties, increased insurance costs, points on your license, traffic school, license suspension or revocation, and potentially appearing in court. After reviewing your ticket, you may decide to pay the fine and admit guilt to the violations or you can contest the ticket in court.
The amount of time you have to pay a traffic violation depends on a few factors. First and foremost, the laws in Virginia dictate the amount of time you have to pay. Generally, tickets or citations for traffic violations state the payment due date on the document itself. Some states may have different fines and payment due dates depending on the type of traffic violation. You may also need to factor in the time the method of payment may take. For instance, paying online may be available up until the due date but state law may require payments in person or mailing a check or money order be processed by a certain date.
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.