The Bar of Proof Is Low for Juveniles Charged With Distracted Driving

Usually, when police officers in Virginia issue a traffic citation, they have to follow a strict protocol: using a radar gun to detect speeding drivers, say, or having “probable cause” (such as seeing the vehicle swerve down the street) to pull over a motorist for a breathalyzer test.

However, this same high standard doesn't apply to all traffic offenses in Virginia. For example, it's possible for a motorist to be issued a ticket for distracted driving at the whim of a passing police officer. (Technically, this violation is known as “failure to pay full time and attention.”) All that's necessary is for the officer to glimpse you behind the wheel of your car, not paying attention to the road ahead but performing some other task, such as fiddling with the dials of a CD player or twisting around and talking to a passenger in the back seat.

Statistics aren't available, but if you're a juvenile driver in Virginia, you're probably more likely to be issued a distracted-driving ticket than an older motorist would be. The police tend to be more suspicious of inexperienced teenage drivers, and some officers will avail themselves of any opportunity to cite these drivers for not having their eyes fixed on the traffic ahead. What's more, a charge of distracted driving can be very hard to defend, since it basically comes down to your word against the officer's—and if the officer says you were changing radio stations when you should have had your eyes on the road, that's the story the traffic-court judge is likely to believe. Questions? Call 888-783-9701 and talk with an experienced Virginia traffic attorney at Jarrell Hicks & Waldman for a free consultation.

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