How Traffic Violations and Citations Are Handled in Virginia
In Virginia, if you are caught violating traffic laws, a law enforcement officer will issue you a citation on behalf of the Virginia court system. However, if you are pulled over and issued a traffic ticket, you have several options.
If you want to pay the ticket, the address and other contact information of the local Virginia court that is overseeing your traffic violation will be included on the citation. You can mail in your fine payment to the local Virginia court that is overseeing your traffic violation. Your citation may or may not disclose the amount you actually owe, so if you need to find out, you can contact the local Virginia county clerk’s office. Most Virginia courts will also offer you a chance to pay in person or online with a credit card. You will also need the copy of your traffic violation citation on hand when paying by any method. Keep in mind that when you pay the fine for your traffic violation, you are admitting guilt and the violation will eventually end up on your Virginia driving record.
You may also want to dispute the charges, or appear in court to plead guilty to see if you can have your charges reduced or dismissed. If this is the case, your traffic ticket will include a date for you to appear and discuss your traffic violation with the Virginia court. While not always the case, Virginia courts do have the power to reduce or dismiss your ticket, should the judge feel the circumstances warrant such discretion. The court’s decision will undoubtedly rest on your previous Virginia driving record and the circumstances surrounding your most recent ticket. However, one of the best ways to amend for your poor driving decisions is to participate in a Virginia online driver improvement program, like the one offered through www.gototrafficschool.com.
If you pay the fine, plead guilty or are convicted the Virginia court handling your traffic ticket will notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”). The Virginia DMV, upon receiving notification of your conviction, will attach the traffic violation to your Virginia driving record. The length of time that your traffic violation stays on your Virginia driving record depends on the severity of the violation, and can be lengthened if that violation results in a suspension of your Virginia driving privileges.
Demerit Points and Common Traffic Violations in Virginia
The Virginia DMV Point System allows the Virginia DMV to track the driving habits of Virginia drivers and prevent unsafe drivers from remaining on the roads. In addition, the Virginia DMV also keeps track of your safe driving habits, and will reward you for long periods of time in which you avoid traffic accidents and traffic violations. The Virginia DMV Points System consists of three point violations, four point violations, and six point violations, which are applied against your Virginia driving record for every traffic violation you incur. These demerit points last for two years on your Virginia driving record from the date of your conviction. Some common examples include:
• Speeding by less than 10 mph (3 points)
• Improper u-turns (3 points)
• Failure to obtain a Virginia driver’s license (3 points)
• Speeding between 10-20 mph (4 points)
• Failure to yield (4 points)
• Tailgating (4 points)
• Failure to obey traffic signals (4 points)
• Speeding by more than 20 mph (6 points)
• Reckless driving (6 points)
• DUI’s (6 points)
• Driving after being labeled a “habitual offender” (6 points)
How Safe Driving Points Can Benefit You in Virginia
The Virginia DMV offsets these demerit points by issuing “safe driving points” to Virginia drivers for each year they avoid traffic violations or license suspensions. You can accumulate up to five safe driving points that will negate demerit points that you incur against your Virginia driving record, although the underlying violations will still remain on your record. You can also earn safe driving points by enrolling in a Virginia online traffic school, such as the driver improvement program offered by www.gototrafficschool.com, which has been authorized by Virginia courts and the Virginia DMV to satisfy Virginia’s safe driving points criteria.
Driving Privileges Suspension in Virginia
Demerit points can add up quickly on your Virginia driving record and, depending on your age, may result in required additional safe driver training or a loss of your Virginia driving privileges for some time.
How Traffic Violations Can Significantly Affect Young Drivers
If you’re under 18, also known as a Juvenile Driver, and commit any traffic violation that results in points landing on your Virginia driving record, you will have to complete a Virginia driver improvement course within 90 days of being found guilty, or your Virginia driving privileges will be suspended until you complete the driver improvement program. If you commit two point-related traffic violations before your 18th birthday, your Virginia driving privileges will be suspended, regardless of your overall Virginia driving record. After a third violation, the Virginia DMV will revoke your license until you reach 18, or for a calendar year, whichever is longer.
If you are a juvenile driver, or under the age of 20, and have been ordered to enroll in a Virginia traffic school or driver improvement clinic, you must attend an in-person class; online programs will not satisfy your requirements for having your Virginia driving privileges fully reinstated.
Demerit Points Can Affect Driving Privileges For Adult Drivers in Virginia
For Virginia adult drivers, your driving privileges can be suspended if you accumulate too many demerit points against your Virginia driving record. Earning eight points in a year or twelve points in two years will result in a written warning from the Virginia DMV, cautioning you to improve your driving habits.
Once you reach twelve points in a year, or 18 in two years, your license will be suspended unless you successfully complete a Virginia traditional or online driver improvement program within 90 days. Those younger adults, under 20 years of age, must participate in this program in person. If you accumulate 18 points in a year or 24 points in two years, your Virginia driving privileges will be suspended for three months, minimum. You will also have to participate in a Virginia driver improvement program as part of your reinstatement. Once you have satisfied these requirements, the Virginia DMV will place you on six months of driving probation, and allow you to resume driving in Virginia during that time.
How Driver Improvement and Traffic School Can Benefit You in Virginia
By attending an online Virginia driver improvement course or Virginia online traffic school before your Virginia driving privileges are suspended, you can receive valuable safe driving points on your record. You can enroll in a Virginia online traffic school or online driver improvement clinic once every two years and receive five safe driving points on your record, which will be used to offset any demerit points you receive. While, generally, your successful completion of a Virginia online driver improvement program will not also remove a traffic violation from your record, a Virginia court may be willing to dismiss the traffic violation altogether if you receive specific permission by the Virginia court that is handling your recent traffic violation. It is recommended that you speak with the court prior to enrolling to find out if you can qualify.
If you enroll in a Virginia online traffic school or online driver improvement program, like the class offered through www.gototrafficschool.com, you must take and pass a “final exam” with a score of 80%. You can re-take the final exam once per day, as many times as necessary, until you pass. Virginia requires that students' final exams be proctored, meaning that you will need to take the final exam through our website on a computer at a public facility with internet access, like your local UPS store. These stores charge a per-minute fee for internet access, and the exam usually takes 10-30 minutes to complete, so you’ll have an additional $5 or so in internet usage fees. If you fail the exam, you can re-take it the next day and still receive full credit for the course.
Gotottrafficschool.com will provide you with a list of testing locations to choose from when you are ready to take the final exam. You can call us at 1-888-329-7069 if you need help finding a testing site near you. When you arrive at the proctor site, tell an employee you are there for the GoToTrafficSchool.com final exam. The employee should verify your identity by checking your photo ID, and then will give you an access code. You can then log on to the course as usual, and click on "exam" in the syllabus. When the next screen comes up, choose the proctor location you are at from the scroll down menu, and enter the access code you were given. You will then be able to start the exam.
Once you have passed the exam, gototrafficschool.com will automatically send your certificate of completion to the Virginia DMV and your safe driving points will be added. If you are participating in the Virginia online traffic school to have a ticket dismissed from or reduced on your traffic record, you may need to contact the Virginia court directly and provide them with your completion certificate.
A Clean Driving Record in Virginia
Attending a Virginia online traffic school like gototrafficschool.com will not only provide you with valuable safe driving points, and possibly help you avoid a traffic violation from ending up on your Virginia driving record altogether, but can teach you important safe driving habits and defensive driving techniques that can keep you out of avoidable accidents and traffic violations in the future.
Completion of a Virginia online traffic school like gototrafficschool.com can also lower your insurance premiums. For an additional $5, gototrafficschool.com can send your insurance company a certificate of completion of your online driver improvement course, which will significantly help reduce your “insurance points.” These points are used by your Virginia insurance company, independent of the Virginia DMV’s point system, to determine your insurance rates. Successful completion of a Virginia online traffic school program can help lower those rates.
Mature and Juvenile Drivers Can Get Insurance Discounts in Virginia
Enrollment in the gototrafficschool.com driver improvement course may even qualify you for an insurance discount. Virginia mature driver (those drivers over age 55) and Virginia juvenile drivers, (those drivers under the age of 20) often experience higher insurance premiums based on these age groups’ tendency to end up in avoidable traffic accidents. By enrolling in a Virginia online traffic school or online driver improvement program like the one offered by gototrafficschool.com, your insurance carrier may be willing to offer you a safe driver discount, based on the notion that you are taking steps to ensure you do not have accidents or that you are not needlessly violating traffic laws. If you would like to know more about these opportunities, you should contact your auto insurance carrier today.
Approved Classroom Traffic Schools in Virginia
The Virginia DMV has also approved a long list of traditional, classroom-setting traffic schools for you to participate in, organized by “districts,” should you wish to attend a Virginia driver improvement program in person. For more information on the following classrooms, you can review them online or contact your local Virginia DMV office. Below is a list of all brick-and-mortar locations:
Big Stone Gap
North Fairfax District
South Fairfax District