Challenging Points on a License in Virginia 

There are two situations where someone is valid in challenging points on a license in Virginia. If a person carrying a Virginia driver’s license receives a conviction in a different state, the conviction is transferred to Virginia with Virginia assigning the points.  If someone carrying a Maryland license gets a speeding ticket in Virginia, their conviction will be transferred to Maryland, but Maryland will assign the points, not Virginia. This is because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause that a conviction in Virginia has to be honored in Maryland, but because of Maryland’s sovereignty as a state, they are allowed to address those according to their own rules and their own statutes. The Uniform Demerit Point System does not apply to out-of-state licenses. If you want to know more about challenging points on a license in Virginia contact an experienced traffic lawyer today.

Process of Challenging Points

A person does not have the power to challenge the points themselves. The common question everyone asks when they go on their court date, if they are unrepresented, is if they pay the fine will the court still assign the points. The judge does not have the power to make such an arrangement. Once the driver is convicted of the charge, a letter goes out to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), stating their conviction and the DMV assesses the points. It is not up to a judge to change the points and the person cannot challenge the points.

The person would challenge their conviction of the charge. Before the trial date, or on the trial date, any person would be challenging points on a license in Virginia by challenging whether the elements of the charge are met. They could say that the State cannot find them guilty because the elements are not met. If they are found guilty, they can challenge their conviction at that point by an appeal process in the Circuit Court. But again, it is really about appealing or challenging the conviction, not the points. Nobody, including the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys and the Judges, have the power to do that. The points assessed follow automatically after a conviction.

Point Removal Process

There is no process for getting points removed. But, a person can add some Safe Points to their driving record which would change the point balance at the end of the day. Safe points are acquired by taking a Driving Improvement Course which provides five points to the credit on a person’s driving record. If this person were to be convicted of reckless driving, they would end up at minus one. This could be called removing points, but in essence a person is adding safe points to offset his demerit points. A person can do that by taking a Driving Improvement Course that is approved and accredited by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Circumstances Requiring a Driver to Attend Their Hearing

If the hearing is the trial date, the person definitely has to go 100% of the time, unless the offense is pre-payable. If it is one of the lower-level traffic offenses, they are usually pre-payable and a person can pay it ahead of time. By paying the ticket, the person is admitting guilt. If it is a relatively serious offense like a DUI or reckless driving, a person does have to appear for the hearing. Otherwise, there could be a warrant out for a failure to appear on that day.

People should always go to their hearings. It is definitely helpful to show the Court that a person has respect for the charge and the summons that was given to him and that he is there to answer for what happened. Most preferably, the person should have an attorney with him in court, particularly in the most serious charges, because the lawyer is going to know what to do and what to say.

How a Traffic Lawyer Can Help

One way that a Virginia traffic lawyer can help is by challenging the conviction itself. Again, once a conviction takes place, the points follow automatically; no one has control over it. It is always good to catch the charges ahead of time once the person gets the ticket. Before they go to court, they need to find an attorney, especially for the most serious charges. The lawyer will see if there is enough evidence and if the elements are met to find this person guilty to start with. If you want to know more about challenging points on a license in Virginia, contact a lawyer today.

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