If you're like most people who drive in this high paced area, you've probably unfortunately received a speeding ticket at some point and responded by grumbling a bit, paying the fine, and moving on with your life. It is certainly true that some speeding tickets are not a big deal and may be best taken care of by simply paying the fine; but there are also times when it may be worth consulting with an attorney to determine the best approach to favorably resolve the traffic violation. Once you pay a speeding ticket, it's the same as entering a guilty plea, and doing so will likely result in demerit points against your DMV record, expensive fines, court costs and may even cause your license to be suspended. In these cases, contacting a Fairfax traffic lawyer could very well be worth it.
Speeding and Points Against Your License
Many people want to know: is it worth fighting a speeding ticket? For most of us, the most important factor in deciding whether to fight a speeding ticket in Fairfax is knowing how many points it carries against your license. The more points you have, the more likely it is that your license will be suspended by DMV. If you have received several speeding offenses and have accumulated points on your license, you may not want to simply pay the fine or appear in court and plead guilty. In these cases, you want to find out how to get a speeding ticket dismissed.
The number of demerit points you receive for any given charge depends on how far above the speed limit you were traveling when you got pulled over. For example, if you were traveling between 1 and 9 miles above the posted speed limit and pay the fine, you will receive a 3-point deduction on your driving record. The offense will also stay on your driving record for 5 years. (I should note that in reality, it is not common to be pulled over for driving at this speed, and if you are, the charges may often resolve favorably in court, and at times, may even be dismissed).
If you get pulled over while driving at 10 to 19 miles per hour above the posted speed limit, you are very likely to get a ticket. If convicted, four points will be deducted from your driving record and will remain on your record five years. Five years can be a long time to go without another speeding offense. If you have a good driving record, even if you were driving 19 mph over the speed limit, a lawyer may be able to reduce your charge to disregarding a highway sign or to a non-moving violation such as defective equipment, or even an infraction that does not carry any demerit points or appear on your driving record, such as Fairfax County Code, failure to pay full time and attention.
If you are caught speeding at 20 or more miles per hour above the posted limit, you'll receive six points against your driving record. Again, this will remain on your record for five years. At these speeds, people are commonly charged with reckless driving by speed (Virginia Code Section 46.2-862) which is a Class 1 misdemeanor and a much more serious offense with criminal punishments. If you are charged with reckless driving, a lawyer can often help reduce the charges, especially if you were not driving much more than 20 mph over the speed limit.
A lawyer will often be able to get a 6-point offense down to fewer points so that it won't impact your insurance rates or your driving record in the same way that a 6-point offense would.
Mitigating Points Against Your License with Safe Points
A good program that exists throughout Virginia is the Safe Points program. Under this program, licensed Virginia drivers who drive for a full calendar year without violations or suspensions can acquire one safe point per year, up to a maximum of five points. This can help mitigate the effects of points you rack up: if you drive safely for four years and then get a speeding ticket worth four points, you'll be at zero.
If you are worried about the number of points you have on your license and are approaching suspension, taking a Virginia approved driver improvement course will allow you to earn five safe driving points. Sometimes by taking a driver improvement course before going to court, you can get a reduced charge. If you wait to attend a clinic until a judge orders you to, you may not be eligible to receive the safe driving points. The driver improvement program may be taken only one time every 2 years to receive the 5 positive points on your Virginia driving record.
When a Lawyer Can Help
If you have a clean driving record and it's your first speeding ticket (or your first in some time), paying your fine may be a perfectly good option. If, however, you know you are approaching suspension, are worried about your insurance rates being so high as to be unaffordable or are concerned about your ability to drive for your job or you know you routinely drive fast and just have a heavy foot, working with a traffic lawyer in Fairfax can help. During a consultation you can find out more about how to get a speeding ticket reduced.
John Kassabian has more than 25 years' experience fighting for the rights of Fairfax residents and may be able to help you, too.
Contact Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. today at 703-750-3622.