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Calculating & Paying Your Virginia Traffic Fines, Costs, and Fees

It is very important to know before hand what costs will be associated with your trip to traffic court. If a Virginia driver does not pay 100% of their fines and court costs on time the Va. DMV will suspend their license until all the fines, costs, and a $120 license reinstatement fee is paid.

For out-of-state drivers your right to driver in Virginia will be suspended and your home state may or may not choose to restrict your driving privileges until the fines, court cost, and license reinstatement fees are all paid.

If you go to traffic court in Virginia and are found guilty of any offense there are going to costs and possibility fines. A driver must pay court costs even if the judge does not give you a fine. Court costs are usually due even if the judge dismisses your case for taking traffic school, community service, or other programs.

At the bare minimum, court costs for a traffic ticket in Virginia General District Court will be $62 for the one offense and $11 for each additional traffic infraction that your were convicted of on the same court date by the same officer. If a driver is tried in their absence for a traffic ticket (i.e. they do not prepay and they do not send an attorney, and they do not show up to court)then there will be an additional $35 “trial in abstencia” fee.

For non-criminal traffic tickets, generally speaking the maximum fine is $250 (The biggest exception is improper driving which is $500). However, if the offense took place in a highway safety corridor, some school or residential zones, or in a construction zone then there is a possibility of the maximum fine being double ($500 for most tickets, $1000 for improper driving).

If a driver is found guilty of a criminal traffic offense, such as reckless driving, DUI, driving on a suspended license, driving without a valid license, ect. then the court costs will be $82 or more.Some crimes, like DUI, have special costs associated. For example: the DUI victims fund, ASAP fees, and Restricted licenses fees.

If you appeal a traffic ticket or criminal traffic offense there will be additional court costs: approximately $150 for most misdemeanors. If a driver asks for a jury in Circuit Court there is an additional court cost of about $400 per day.

Starting in July 2011 the courts now charge 4% service charge for paying with a credit card and a $1 online payment charge if you pay online.

If you cannot pay 100% of your court costs, fines and service fees on the day of your trial contact the court clerk’s officer to discuss payment options. Most courts will grant an extension to pay court costs and fines if certain conditions are met.

However, be careful the process and terms for getting a payment plan or extension vary in each court. GDC is different than circuit court, and one county court is different from the next. Some counties will charge for time extensions. Some courts require a driver to ask the judge for an extension at trial and other courts do it at the clerk’s office. if you may need a payment plan or a payment extension, find out how to get an extension before your trial date.

If your license is suspended because of failure to pay fines and court costs and the amount owed is significant, talk to a local traffic attorney about getting a payment plan. A judge may grant you special permission to drive conditional on making timely monthly payments. This is especially important for drivers who need to drive to work, and need to work to pay off the fines and costs.

Luke Nichols

Spectrum Legal Defense

(703) 383-92222


About Luke Nichols

Luke Nichols practices almost exclusively traffic law in Northern Virginia. His primary practice areas include reckless driving, speeding, DUI/DWI, refusal, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, and driving on a revoked license. Mr. Nichols has represented hundreds of Virginia drivers. You can also connect with Luke on Google+
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