Traffic Violation Penalties in Chesapeake

Traffic violation penalties in Chesapeake can be severe and even include jail time, depending on the violation. Even when the offense does not carry criminal penalties like jail, you could face a hefty fine, points on your license, potentially higher insurance rates, and other consequences.

Pleading guilty and paying the fine might seem like the simplest response, but talking to a lawyer first is usually worthwhile. The attorneys at Parks Zeigler, PLLC can suggest defenses that might be effective in your situation.

Penalties Depend on the Seriousness of the Offense

There are multiple different types of traffic offenses in Chesapeake, and the penalties you face depend on the severity of the charge. Traffic infractions are the least serious type of traffic violation. An officer who believes you have committed an infraction is likely to write you a ticket. Some traffic violations result in criminal charges, and when an officer believes you have committed a criminal traffic offense, you may be arrested and held in jail until your arraignment.


Most infractions are simple moving violations like going through a red light, following too closely, or speeding. A traffic ticket will list the fine the driver must pay if they enter a guilty plea. When someone is found guilty in court, the judge may impose a different fine, up to $250.

Criminal Misdemeanors

Some traffic violations are misdemeanor offenses, the least serious of the criminal traffic crimes. Speeding more than ten miles per hour over the speed limit, first or second-time DUI or DWI, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended or revoked license are misdemeanors. A conviction or guilty plea results in a criminal record.

Penalties for misdemeanor convictions can include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Maximum penalties are more likely when the accused has prior traffic convictions.

Criminal Felonies

Felony traffic crimes include a third DUI within ten years, vehicular homicide, and failing to report an accident where someone was injured or killed. Someone convicted on a felony charge faces prison time, hefty fines, and probation after serving their prison sentence. In addition, a convicted felon loses the right to vote, serve on a jury, and possess firearms.

There are six classes of felonies, but most traffic felonies are Class 5 or Class 6. According to the Code of Virginia § 18.2-10, the penalty upon conviction of a Class 6 felony is a prison sentence of one to five years and a $2500 fine. For a Class 5 penalty, the potential prison sentence is one to ten years, and the fine is the same.

Violations Lead to Administrative Actions

When someone pleads guilty to a traffic violation or is convicted in Chesapeake court, they face consequences besides criminal penalties. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also takes action in response. The DMV actions can lead to higher insurance rates and considerable expense and inconvenience.

Misdemeanors usually result in the DMV adding points—sometimes called demerits—to a driver’s license. Most misdemeanor convictions result in three or four demerits and felony convictions usually result in six demerits. Demerits for misdemeanors typically remain on a driver’s record for two years, but felony demerits can remain on your record for as long as 11 years.

The DMV also can suspend or revoke a driver’s license after a conviction. Our attorneys can explain whether you risk suspension or revocation in your specific case.

Fight Chesapeake Traffic Violation Penalties With Parks Zeigler, PLLC

Traffic violation penalties in Chesapeake can be severe and have lingering consequences. It is foolish to take a traffic offense lightly or try to handle it yourself.

When jail time is a possibility, it is essential to work with an experienced legal professional. Even in less serious cases, engaging an attorney is usually a cost-effective option.

The attorneys at Parks Zeigler, PLLC are skilled at obtaining favorable results for people facing traffic charges. Reach out today to find out how we can help you.

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With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

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