Mecklenburg County Traffic Lawyer
Traffic violations do not sound like serious criminal offenses, but the consequences of a traffic violation can have numerous long-term negative effects. Many people cited for traffic offenses believe the best approach is to pay a fine and forget the situation.
However, a Mecklenburg County traffic lawyer could show you why that is often not the most cost-effective solution. A dedicated criminal lawyer who understands how to defend against alleged violations could help protect your rights and your driving privileges in an economical manner.
Why You Should Seek Legal Advice Before Paying a Fine
It is important to remember that paying a fine constitutes an admission of guilt. While the driver may forget the incident after paying a fine, the government will not. Having a guilty plea on record can make a driver look like a habitual offender if the driver is stopped again.
In addition, insurance companies will not soon forget traffic citations either. Offenses such as speeding could cause insurance rates to increase for years. An experienced Mecklenburg County lawyer could evaluate a situation to determine whether it makes sense to fight charges rather than pay a fine for a traffic offense.
Common Traffic Offenses in Mecklenburg County
Some traffic offenses receive more attention from law enforcement personnel than others, and these are often the offenses with the most serious consequences. Traffic offenses frequently charged in Mecklenburg County include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Failure to yield right of way
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Aggressive driving
In many cases, these offenses may be treated as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the situation. Circumstances such as injuries, extreme violations, or prior convictions are aggravating factors likely to increase the severity of a traffic offense. A skilled lawyer in Mecklenburg County could look for evidence to indicate either that a driver did not commit the traffic violation charged or that the aggravating factors alleged do not apply.
Penalties for Traffic Offenses
In addition to the criminal penalties such as fines and terms of incarceration, those charged with traffic offenses also need to be aware of administrative penalties which could take away driving privileges. A traffic lawyer in Mecklenburg County could work to help a driver obtain a restricted license if the state Department of Motor Vehicles revokes the driver’s license.
Va. Code 46.2-868 specifies that reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In most cases, those convicted may be sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine as high as $2,500. When reckless driving causes the death of another person, and the driver had no license because of a moving violation, the offense will be treated as a Class 6 felony, and the maximum sentence increases to five years of imprisonment.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an offense that carries mandatory minimum fines that start at $250 and increase for subsequent violations or in situations where a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is far above the legal limit. These factors also trigger mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment. The “look back” period for prior offenses is ten years, so any convictions during the prior ten years may be used to increase the penalties. Someone convicted of three offenses within ten years can be treated as guilty of a Class 6 felony.
All drivers are aware that those stopped for driving in excess of the speed limit will be required to pay a fine and have points assessed against their record which could affect driving privileges and raise insurance rates. In addition, driving more than 20 miles over the speed limit or more than 80 miles per hour is considered reckless driving and may be penalized accordingly.
Let a Mecklenburg County Traffic Attorney Assist You
Not all traffic offenses carry criminal penalties, but that does not mean they should be taken lightly. Accumulated violations can cause driving privileges to be suspended or revoked, so it is wise to consider the implications before taking any action that could be construed as an admission of guilt.
A Mecklenburg County traffic lawyer could help you determine the right strategy for your situation. For a free consultation, call now.