Q: My 17-year-old son was cited for a curfew violation for driving after midnight, but he was only late because of a flat tire. What can we do?
A: As a rule, curfew violations by teen drivers rank low on the list of state police priorities when they're patrolling Virginia's roads and highways. Generally, if a 16- or 17-year old has a good excuse, and hasn't been caught out on the road too late (say, at 12:30 AM rather than at 3:30 AM), a sympathetic officer may let him off with a warning. There are cases, though, when an officer goes “by the book” and issues a citation no matter what the circumstances. And, in the case of your son, the police officer may have believed that he was being served an excuse—since teens have been known to make things up every now and then!
With the help of an experienced lawyer, though, it's fairly easy to present exonerating evidence to a traffic-court judge or administrator and avoid the worst penalty for a curfew violation, which is suspension of the culprit's license until he or she turns 18. Often it's not necessary to present any evidence at all, on the condition that the responsible teen, and his parents, take the matter seriously; it serves the interests of justice to have the case dropped with a warning. Your testimony or written statement can be an important part of this process, since it might convince the authorities that your son wasn't deliberately violating curfew, and doesn't deserve to be punished. Questions? Call the experienced traffic attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC for a free consultation!