Anyone who drives for long enough around Northern Virginia has a good chance of getting a traffic ticket. This is especially the case in Prince William County, which is very commuter-heavy given its close proximity to Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, and Charlottesville. Police officers frequently monitor I-96, I-66, and other roads and highways in Prince William County for all types of infractions.
For most motorists, a single ticket is not the end of the world. However, if you rack up several tickets, the situation can become much more serious. Traffic tickets—particularly unpaid or multiple tickets—can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. And some traffic tickets are actually criminal violations, meaning you’ll have a criminal record if you are convicted. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, our Prince William County traffic violations lawyer aggressively fights for his client’s right to keep their license. With more than a decade of experience personally handling a wide range of Virginia DUIs and other citations, we’ve helped countless clients stay on the road.
Types of Traffic Violations and the Point System
When you pay a ticket or are convicted of a traffic offense, the court notifies the DMV. The DMV then adds demerit points to your record based on the seriousness of the violation. If you get too many points within a certain time period, the DMV suspends your driver’s license. Some violations also result in a separate license suspension, which runs consecutively to any suspension imposed by the DMV.
Virginia law breaks down traffic citations into 3-point, 4-point, and 6-point offenses.
- Speeding (1-9 mph over the posted speed limit);
- Improper turns and U-turns;
- Driving without a license;
- Using a cellphone while driving;
- Making a prohibited turn at a red light;
- Stopping on the highway; and
- Evading a traffic control device.
For any of these violations, the DMV adds three points to your driving record.
- Speeding (10-19 mph over the posted speed limit);
- Disobeying a traffic signal;
- Following too closely;
- Failure to yield the right-of-way; and
- Passing a stopped school bus.
For any of these offenses, the DMV adds four points to your record.
- Excessive speeding (20+ mph over the posted speed limit);
- Driving on a suspended license;
- Fleeing the scene of an accident; and
- Reckless driving.
The number of points that lead to a driver’s license suspension also depends on your age.
Adults Over 18
The DMW requires anyone who gets more than 12 demerit points in 12 months or 18 demerit points in 24 months to take a driving improvement clinic. However, the DMV also requires an 18 or 19-year-old driver convicted of any demerit-point offense to complete a driver improvement clinic. If an adult driver does not take the course within 90 days, the DMV will suspend their license. Additionally, the DMV will suspend your license if you accrue 18 demerit points within 12 months or 24 demerit points within 24 months.
Drivers Under 18 Years Old
To avoid suspension of their driver’s license, the DMV requires any driver under the age of 18 to take a driver improvement course within 90 days of getting a demerit-point violation. Upon a second citation, the DMV will suspend a minor’s driver’s license for 90 days. A third violation results in a one-year revocation, or until the driver turns 18, whichever is longer.
How Long Will a Traffic Ticket Stay on My Record?
When it comes to traffic tickets and demerit points, there are two essential timelines you should know about. The first is how long the demerit points stay on your record. All demerit points, regardless of the underlying offense, stay on your record for two years from the date of the offense. However, the traffic citation will remain on your driving record for three, five, or eleven years, depending on the seriousness of the offense. For those with a commercial driver’s license, some citations remain on a driver’s record forever.
Do Traffic Citations Automatically Result in a License Suspension?
Drivers convicted of certain traffic violations are subject to a license suspension in addition to any suspension imposed by the DMV for accruing too many demerit points. These offenses include:
- Any felony while using a vehicle;
- Any motor-vehicle-related drug offense;
- Causing a DUI accident;
- Driving on a DUI-suspended license;
- Fleeing or eluding police.
- Hit and run accident;
- Making a false statement to the DMV; and
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from an accident
In other words, in addition to any administrative suspension that the DMV imposes on your driving privileges—the judge may further suspend your license upon conviction in criminal court for these offenses. Given the seriousness of what’s at stake, anyone facing a traffic violation should reach out to a Prince William County traffic violations attorney for guidance.
Speak with an Experienced Prince William County Traffic Violations Attorney at the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone
If police wrote you a traffic ticket and you are worried about what it may mean for your driving privileges, we can help. Attorney Michael Pignone is a local Virginia traffic ticket and DUI charges lawyer who has represented clients from all walks of life for over a decade. He also has experience prosecuting traffic offenses, which gives him unique insight into how to best defend against even the toughest cases.
Our experienced legal practitioner also handles other types of cases, including: