It's a very exciting time for many teenagers when they first get their provisional driver's license. Driving a car for the first time on their own after obtaining a driver's license without adult supervision represents a sense of liberty and freedom for many teenagers. However, when teenagers are first learning how to drive, they can often make unfortunate mistakes. This may be caused by inexperience, nervousness, excitement, forgetting what the highway rules are, overconfidence, or an incomplete grasp of traffic laws. In any case, juveniles who commit traffic offenses can still receive tickets or charges. If your child has received a ticket for a traffic offense, you may wish to simply pay it off and move on to other pressing obligations in your life. However, paying off a ticket admits guilt. This can harm your child's driving record-even after they reach adulthood, increase insurance rates and can lead to license suspension.
It is wise to employ the help of a skilled traffic offense attorney to assure your child's record stays clear, that their penalties are reduced or diminished, and their driver's license is preserved. The traffic defense attorneys at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., have a wealth of experience in juvenile traffic offenses and are prepared to build the strongest case possible to help your child.
What Are Some Common Juvenile Traffic Offenses?
Juvenile traffic offenses are quite common. Since the age of accountability in the state of Virginia is 18, the state does not penalize juvenile drivers as highly as they do adult drivers. However, many juvenile traffic offenses are still taken seriously. Here are some of the most common juvenile traffic offenses juveniles are charged or ticketed with:
- No valid operator's license
- Driving on a suspended operator's license
- Hit and run
- Passenger restriction violations
- Running a red light
- Texting while driving
- Reckless driving
- Failure to signal a turn of lane change
- Failure to stop for a school bus or emergency vehicle
- Failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead (tailgating)
- Failure to obey traffic signals and signs
- Failure to yield
- Failure to keep vehicle under proper control
- Losing control of the vehicle
- Curfew violations
- Unauthorized or non-permissible lights
Penalties for Juvenile Traffic Offenses
Penalties for juvenile traffic offenses tend to be less severe than adult traffic offenses. However, your child is not off the hook if they are charged and convicted of a traffic offense. If found guilty, your child will be required to abide by the court's decision in addition to the Virginia Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) likely tacking administrative action against your child's driving privileges
If your child is under the age of 18 and is convicted of a first demerit point traffic offense (or a safety belt or child restraint violation), they will be required to attend and satisfactorily complete a driver improvement clinic. If the driver improvement clinic is not completed within 90 days, the juvenile's license will be suspended by the DMV until the driver improvement clinic is completed. If a second demerit point (or a child safety belt or child restraint violation) conviction is had when you are under the age of 18, the DMV will suspend your driver's license for 90 days. If you have no other means of transportation, you may petition the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (with additionally appropriate documents) for restricted driving privileges. If a third demerit point (or a safety belt or child restraint violation) conviction for a traffic violation is committed when you are under the age of 18, DMV will revoke your permit or driver's license for 1 year or until you reach the age of 18, whichever is longer.
DMV will access 5 safe driving points to your Virginia driving record if you voluntarily complete a DMV driver improvement seminar. The 5 safe driving points will not be awarded to you by DMV if the driver improvement clinic attendance is required by DMV or if ordered by the court.
Penalties and driver's license suspension increase for more series misdemeanor-traffic related offenses. Upon conviction of driving while intoxicated or driving a commercial vehicle while intoxicated, the court has the authority to impose more significant and lasting sentencing options for juveniles under Virginia Code Sections 18.2-270, 18.2-270.1, 18.2-271 and 18.2-271.1.
In addition to possible confinement in the juvenile detention center, in the case of a DUI/DWI or refusal convictions, where a juvenile is at 13 years of age at the time of the offense, the court will deny the juvenile a driver's license. In addition, to any other penalty authorized by Virginia Code Section 16.1-278.9, where the conviction is one of DUI/DWI and the juvenile was transporting another person 17 years of age or younger, the court is required to impose an additional minimum fine of $500.00 and not more than $1,000.000, and order community service as provided in Virginia Code Section 18.2-270. The juvenile will also be placed on terms and conditions of probation with the court and will be referred to the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP), in accordance with Virginia Code Section 18.2-271.1, unless after evaluation, the assessment for VASAP indicates that VASAP intervention is not appropriate for the juvenile, and only after the court finds good cause shown, will the court decline to order the juvenile to participate in VASAP. Additionally, there are fees for VASAP of which the juvenile will be required to timely pay, unless the fee is reduced or waived by the court. Failure to pay the VASAP fee may result in the court revoking VASAP participation, further suspension of driver's license and possible imposition of confinement.
How to Defend Against Juvenile Traffic Offenses
The traffic offense attorneys at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., can advise you on the appropriate legal approach concerning your child's traffic offense or traffic misdemeanor related offense. Pre-trial diver improvement seminars, performance of community service hours, records of high school grades, extracurricular activities and vehicular speedometer calibrations are just a few methods that may be used that may lead to juvenile traffic offenses being reduced or even dismissed. It may be necessary to fight the more serious offenses to avoid confinement in the juvenile detention center, high fines, being placed on probation, license suspension, increase insurance fees, and to avoid further damage to your child's criminal and traffic record. We can advise, provide you with a clear understanding and help you come to a decision that is in the best interest of your child; to include vigorously defending your child's charge at trial.
Don't Wait, Create a Strong Case With Kassabian & Kassabian, PLC Today!
If your child has been charged with juvenile traffic offenses or a more series misdemeanor related traffic charge, there are ways to lessen their penalties and ensure their mistakes don't follow them into adulthood. Do not automatically admit guilt by paying the ticket and court costs, only to have your child suffer from penalties and demerit points. You should consult with an experienced traffic defense attorney to begin building your case as soon as possible. Attorney John Kassabian has a depth of experience handling juvenile traffic offenses and series traffic related misdemeanor crimes.
As a former prosecutor for both Fairfax County and Prince William County, John Kassabian understands how juvenile traffic offense are presented, tried, analyzed by prosecutors, viewed by the court, and he knows how to defend against them. He will review all details of your case and work in your child's best interest to have their traffic offenses and misdemeanor traffic related crimes diminished or dismissed, with an eye on keeping your child's record clear.
Don't let your child's traffic offense mistake follow them into adulthood. Contact Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., today at (703) 750-3622.