Juvenile Traffic Violations in Virginia: Not Just Kiddie Court Anymore
When your child receives a Virginia traffic violation, you may understandably be upset. And when the violation is serious enough to require a court date, you may begin to panic. Don’t. There are reasonable steps you can take to protect your child’s criminal or traffic record.
Step One: Know What You Are Up Against
In Virginia, a juvenile is defined as any child under the age of 18. Virginia laws have changed concerning juvenile offenses. Today’s juvenile court is not the “kiddie court” of yesteryear. It is a court with real laws, real repercussions, and very real punishments.
Spotsylvania juvenile traffic violations are all handled in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. While most traffic offenses are classified as “infractions” and may be prepaid with no court appearance, keep in mind that prepayment waives your right to a trial. It may also result in points on the driver’s license, the requirement to take a mandatory driver’s improvement class, and could result in loss of driving privileges if too many points are accumulated.
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Step Two: Prepare Yourself and Your Child by Knowing the Law
More serious violations will require a court appearance. When this happens, it is a good idea to get some legal advice – and the sooner the better. Generally, you will be required to appear in Virginia juvenile court for all of the same violations as adults do, as well as for and some additional, age dependent violations. Some of these are:
- Driving Under the Influence: Beginning in July 2011, the Virginia penalties for an underage (under 21) DUI were upgraded to include a permanent class one misdemeanor, a one-year license suspension, and either a $500 fine or 50 hours of community service.
- Reckless Driving: This is a very serious offense that could result in harsh penalties. Penalties handed down are often just as serious as DUI penalties. Charges can be brought for offenses like speeding 20 mph or more over the limit.
- Driving Without an Operator’s License: The first time, this violation is a Class 2 misdemeanor; the second time, it is a Class 1, which is permanent.
- Driving on Suspended License: In Virginia, a juvenile’s license is much more likely to be suspended than an adult’s. Risks include the possibility of a further suspension or even a revoked license.
- Failure to Keep the Vehicle in Control: The penalties for this violation will vary depending on the result of the infraction. For instance, if an accident involving injuries or death occurs, the minor driver may face very serious additional charges.
- Violation of Curfew: Minors are not allowed to drive between midnight and 4:00 a.m., except in a few cases.
- Operating a Vehicle While Texting: Distracted driver laws are being made all over the country. In Virginia, juvenile drivers are restricted from using any kind of cell phone or other communications device while driving unless there is a driver emergency or if the vehicle is lawfully stopped and parked.
- Violation of Passenger Restrictions: Virginia minors may carry only one passenger under age 18 for the first year of driving; after that, they may carry no more than three. These restrictions do not apply to family members.
Step Three: Get Help from the Best Virginia Traffic Law Defense
At Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC, we know you need to find some peace of mind when your child faces the unknown. By hiring “Jeh” Hicks to represent you, you can have this peace of mind and know that you are doing the right thing for your family.
Jeh Hicks is a seasoned Virginia court litigator who is willing to think outside the box and be creative in your defense. Call toll free today at (888) 783-9701 to schedule a free consultation. Don’t wait until it is too late to protect your child’s driving record, driving privileges and even possibly his or her criminal record. Put a professional in your corner.
Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC serves Virginia clients in Spotsylvania County, Caroline County, Stafford County, the city of Fredericksburg, Louisa County, Culpeper County, Hanover County, Essex County, King George County, and Madison County.