Types of Traffic Offenses in Culpeper
The code of Virginia is filled with violations that are considered traffic offenses. Such offenses range from minor violations, such as speeding or highway sign violations, all the way up through and including more serious violations like reckless driving or driving under the influence, which can be felonies. An experienced traffic attorney can help navigate Culpeper traffic offenses and avoid serious consequences.
Categories of Offenses
Culpeper traffic offenses are lumped into two different categories: traffic infractions and traffic misdemeanors. A traffic infraction is punishable only by a monetary fine. If an individual is convicted of an infraction, the court cannot suspend his or her license or sentence him or her jail. A traffic misdemeanor, on the other hand, is punishable by a number of sentencing options, including license suspension, a fine of up to $2,500.00, and, for more serious traffic misdemeanors, jail time.
Misdemeanor traffic offenses include reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license, and hit and run. These are the four main categories of misdemeanors that one finds under Virginia Law based upon traffic conduct.
If a person is convicted of a traffic misdemeanor in General District Court, and the court suspends his or her license as a result of that conviction, then that person has the absolute right to appeal that decision to the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which he or she was originally charged. If a person has his or her license suspended by an administrator at the DMV, he or she is entitled to an administrative hearing with the DMV to challenge that administrator’s suspension.
There are some circumstances in which a Culpeper traffic offense might be considered a felony traffic offense, and they are almost always related to driving while intoxicated. If an individual is charged and convicted of a third offense of driving while intoxicated within 10 years, such an offense is considered a felony in Virginia. Any subsequent driving while intoxicated offense, beyond a third offense, is considered a felony in Virginia.
Another significant type of felony in Virginia is a hit and run. Some hit and runs are considered misdemeanors while others are considered felonies. Though it is generally very rare that a hit and run will be considered a felony, such a classification will occur if the accident results in the injury or death of another person, or if the accident results in more than $1,000 in property damage. Hit and runs that involve neither injury nor serious property damage are considered misdemeanors.
Severity of Traffic Charges
A traffic offense can be a serious thing in Virginia. The most notable offense that one might not think is serious, but which can have significant consequences, is reckless driving by speed. If a person is driving in Virginia in excess of 80 miles an hour or 20 miles an hour over the speed limit, he or she can be charged with reckless driving. In Virginia, this offense is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is a very serious offense.
Contacting a Culpeper Traffic Offense Attorney
If a person is charged with a serious Culpeper traffic offense like a misdemeanor, a lawyer can play an integral role in plea negotiations with the government that may reduce the charge to an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor. This is important as, in Virginia, an infraction is considered far less serious and is punishable only by a fine, while a misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500.00 fine. In this way, a traffic lawyer can help to increase the likelihood that an individual who has been charged with a misdemeanor will have that charge reduced to an infraction.
This is important as, in Virginia, an infraction is considered far less serious and is punishable only by a fine, while a misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500.00 fine. In this way, a traffic lawyer can help to increase the likelihood that an individual who has been charged with a misdemeanor will have that charge reduced to an infraction.
Generally speaking, the manner with which a criminal lawyer will approach the defense of a traffic charge will first involve examining what the government will be able to prove in the case and how it will obtain the necessary evidence to establish such proof. Once the lawyer knows what the evidence will be and from what source it will come, he or she can look for ways to discredit the evidence or make it inadmissible in court.