Posted by: Christine Johnson | June 28, 2007

Don’t Speed in Virginia!

At least not as long as you’re a resident, anyway.

I got this email from a friend, but I’d also heard it on the news.

To all of you lead feet out there (or anyone who’s ever made a turn without signaling), effective July 1 in our wonderful Commonwealth of Virginia, any traffic ticket, with the exception of regular speeding, will carry heavy civil penalties (yes, this is a new charge) in addition to the fine and court costs you will have to pay. We’re talking THOUSANDS of dollars.
Everyone needs to check out the New Virginia Code § 46.2-206.1
Here are just a few tidbits…………
Driving on a suspended or revoked permit – Civil penalty $750.00 + the court cost & fines
Reckless Driving – Civil penalty $1,050.00 + the court cost & fines

DUI – 1st offense – Civil penalty $2,250.00 + the court cost & fines

Failure to give proper turn signal – Civil penalty $1,050.00 + the court cost & fines

Leaving the scene of an accident – Civil penalty $3,000.00 + the court cost & fines

This link (pdf) lists the offenses and how much each civil penalty is.
This page talks about it as well.

And, just in case you aren’t thinking of going to that second link, let me give you a sample of what it says. Perhaps then you’ll feel motivated.

Virginia motorists convicted of minor traffic violations will face a new, multi-year tax beginning July 1. Led by state Delegate David B. Albo (R-Springfield), lawmakers slipped a driver responsibility tax into a larger transportation funding bill signed by Governor Tim Kaine (D) in April. Albo, a senior partner in the Albo & Oblon, LLP traffic law firm, can expect to see a significant increase in business as motorists seek to protect their wallet from traffic tickets that come with assessments of up to $3000 in addition to an annual point tax that tops out at $700 a year for as long as the points remain.

The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue,” the new law states. (Virginia Code 46.2-206.1)

Driving as little as 15 MPH over the limit on an interstate highway now brings six license demerit points, a fine of up to $2500, up to one year in jail, and a new mandatory $1050 tax. The law also imposes an additional annual fee of up to $100 if a prior conviction leaves the motorist with a balance of eight demerit points, plus $75 for each additional point (up to $700 a year). The conviction in this example remains on the record for five years.

Other six-point convictions include “failing to give a proper signal,” “passing a school bus” or “driving with an obstructed view.” The same $1050 assessment applies, but the conviction remains on the record for eleven years. [emphasis added – ed.]

To be fair, Albo’s law firm is not just a traffic law firm. According to their site (link above):

Albo & Oblon is one of Virginia’s 55 largest law firms and regularly practices in all of the following practice areas:

Employment Law
Business Law and Civil Litigation
Government Contracts Law
Criminal Law in Virginia and D.C.
Serious Traffic Law (such as DUI/DWI) in Virginia and D.C.

All I can say is that I’ll have to be more careful about driving when I’m not using my cruise control. There have been times when I’m just keeping with traffic, and when I look down I can hardly believe the speed I’m going. (And we found that keeping with traffic isn’t always safe. Once Hubby was doing just that near Jacksonville, Florida, and we got nailed with a speeding ticket. And we felt blessed because she didn’t double the fine for it happening in a construction zone, so it was only $150 for going about 8 to 10 over the limit.)

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