What Happens in Virginia Stays in Virginia—Right?
Out-of-state drivers who receive a ticket for a traffic offense while traveling through Virginia might think that a conviction in Virginia will have no effect on their driver’s license back in their home state. Think again.
Virginia is a member of two agreements among most of the states and the District of Columbia (specifically the Driver License Compact and the Nonresident Violator Compact) to share information concerning people convicted of traffic offenses. The technical name for this type of agreement is “reciprocity.” If you are convicted of a traffic offense in Virginia, the Virginia DMV will likely contact your state’s motor vehicle authority to report the conviction.
How Can a Virginia Traffic Conviction Affect My North Carolina (or Other State’s) Driver’s License?
For residents of certain states, this information sharing can have harsh consequences. For example, the reckless driving laws are much tougher in North Carolina than in Virginia. In North Carolina, a conviction for driving 15 mph above the posted speed limit is a Class 3 misdemeanor, and doing so while traveling 55 mph or faster results in a 30-day license suspension. So, even though you might only be convicted of regular speeding in Virginia, a conviction for going 70 mph in a 55-mph zone in Virginia could result in a 30-day suspension of driving privileges for a North Carolina driver once the conviction is reported back to North Carolina.
That’s just one example of what can happen with something as simple as a speeding ticket. You don’t need us to know that more serious offenses like DUI carry more serious penalties, possibly including even jail time. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), being convicted of any traffic offense can impact your ability to obtain gainful employment, even if you drove to Virginia in a personal car on your personal time.
And don’t forget about all the ordinary ways that a traffic conviction can affect you. For one thing, information about your traffic conviction will be reported to your insurance company. Your insurance company will only be too happy to raise your auto insurance premiums, possibly for years to come.
Our Traffic Lawyers Are Experienced in Helping Out-of-State Drivers Like You
Instead of driving all the way back to Virginia to plead your case with a judge that you’ve never seen before, let one of the competent traffic lawyers at Hawthorne & Hawthorne defend you. Our lawyers are familiar with the local courts and local court practices, including the courts in Amelia County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Brunswick County, Campbell County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Dinwiddie County, Halifax County, Lunenburg County, Mecklenburg County, Nottoway County, and Prince Edward County. Although no lawyer can ever guarantee the outcome of your case, our lawyers can help you determine what each judge is (or is not) likely to rule in your case because we appear in front of those judges on a regular basis. That local knowledge enables us to negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf in the most advantageous way possible.
And, all that aside, there’s the nuisance factor. Many of our clients prefer to hire an attorney simply so that they don’t have to drive back to Virginia to appear in court. Think about it. Once you take off from work (especially if you are out of vacation time or don’t receive paid vacation), pay for a babysitter, and have your car guzzle gasoline while you drive for hours, representing yourself in court is not as cheap as it might seem at first.
The conclusion is clear: If you are an out-of-state driver charged with a traffic offense in Southside Virginia, contact one of our traffic lawyers to schedule your consultation today!