Manassas Traffic Lawyer
A traffic offense in Virginia is sometimes called a traffic infraction and is a charge which is less than a misdemeanor, meaning a person cannot be imprisoned or sent to jail for a traffic offense. They can, however, have other consequences like fines, points against a person’s license, or even loss of driving privileges. Routine traffic stops can often turn into more serious cases because the police might detect DUI or drug possession or even an unlicensed concealed weapon.
For this reason, if a person is facing a routine traffic stop and they are charged with a traffic offense, they should contact a Manassas criminal lawyer to find out what the consequences of conviction might be, as well as to determine what impact it might have on an individual in particular. A Manassas traffic lawyer can also find out what tactics a person might be able to use to combat the charge.
There are a number of traffic infractions that have the potential to be serious even though they are not criminal offenses. Whether it’s a speeding offense or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, there are a number of things which can carry up to four points and this is particularly problematic for people who are already carrying a number of points through DMV.
Traffic infractions and misdemeanors are actually distinctly different under Virginia law. For example, a traffic infraction can only result in a fine or points added to a person’s license, but a misdemeanor is can potentially carry fines or jail time. Reckless driving, driving without a license, and driving on a suspended license are all things that are criminal offenses, not just infractions.
A traffic offense can also be elevated to the level of a felony if it is classified as a more serious crime. Offenses that are considered felonies include things like a third offense or subsequent DUI offense, vehicular manslaughter, or driving after being declared a habitual offender.
The potential penalties for a traffic infraction can include fines, loss of license via DMV administrative action, and points on a person’s driving record.
If a person’s license gets suspended as a result of a conviction in court, the only way to challenge it is through the trial process itself or to appeal a conviction. If they lost their license or if it was suspended administratively by the DMV, there really is no way to challenge that in Virginia. The DMV is not responsive to the courts and it does not have to follow any order that the court might render.
Virginia has a point system that adds negative points to a driver’s license any time they are convicted of a traffic infraction or traffic misdemeanor or felony. Everyone starts with zero points and every year that they go without any infraction, they are given a point up to a maximum of five. After a conviction, negative points are added, and a person may be administratively suspended by DMV or having to complete a driver improvement class or they may even be on probation with DMV as a result of a large number of points.
Anytime a person has any kind of conviction that is related to driving, they could potentially receive points. These include convictions for reckless driving, DUI, or other things like driving without an operator’s license, driving on a suspended license, as well as a variety of other misdemeanors and infractions under the Virginia Code.
It’s certainly worth talking to a Manassas traffic lawyer if a person is concerned about their points, even if they’re dealing with a minor traffic infraction. While in isolation a traffic infraction may not trigger enough points to have a serious consequence, in some cases it can if a person already has a lot of points, if there’s a CDL, or if they already had negative insurance events which are causing their insurance to be more expensive. An additional conviction can have a further negative impact on all of those situations.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A traffic lawyer in Manassas can always help regardless of what kind of traffic offense has been charged. Just like criminal offenses, traffic offenses have a number of defenses that are available. They can sometimes be beaten because the government’s proof can be challenged and in other cases, there is a mitigation that can be done in order to persuade the prosecutor and even the judge to reduce the charge.
Additionally, a person should hire a Manassas traffic attorney if they are facing traffic charges in Manassas because it’s often the case that these charges can be reduced or even dismissed under the right circumstances. A person should look for an attorney who has experience practicing in the Manassas traffic courts and can help a person to know what affirmative steps they can take to keep their record clean and to avoid being convicted.
A lawyer can defend a person on a criminal violation and can assist them in every phase of the court process, including meeting with the defendant and learning everything about the case such as preparing a defense, appearing within the court, negotiating with the prosecutor and ultimately trying the case if necessary.
The first thing that a person has to deal with when looking at a traffic charge in terms of putting together a defense is to look at what the law actually says and what the elements of proof are in terms of what the government has to show. What defense an attorney will use in a particular case is going to depend on what the government’s proof is.
For example, on a speeding charge, a Manassas traffic lawyer has the ability to challenge the calibrations of the officer’s radar. Whereas, if it were a case regarding failure to yield, there may be a factual challenge as to whether the government can prove all of the factual elements it is required to in order to sustain a conviction.