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Old 05-05-2007, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Manchester Township, NJ
397 posts, read 1,065,344 times
Reputation: 196

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I know there is another thread about this but I wanted to bring it up again because it is very confusing to me about what is going on in Virginia re: fines, jail terms, etc.

Last night I googled quite a few websites regarding traffic tickets in Virginia and the extremely harsh way of dealing with offenders. I have (knock on wood) not gotten any tickets whatsoever except for one when I had just gotten my license and didn't yield at a yield sign.

But I am appalled at the way Virginia handles its ticketing system and how easily the term "reckless driving" can be applied to any number of situations. I'm not an advocate of speeding in any way, and believe that people who go 80+ mph are a hazard to us all. But I've read--and here Virginia residents can really help me out--that people can be ticketed and fined, sometimes very heavily, for going even 1 mile over the limit. The websites stated that this is especially prevalent in the smaller towns, which depend on traffic fines to make up for the inability to raise more money via property taxes. One site even insinuated that the sheriffs in some of these small towns get a kickback from the total amount of fines collected.

It mentioned that if you do not live in the vicinity or are from out-of-state, the officer will deal as harshly as he/she wants to with you.

Also, another stated that if one receives 3 speeding tickets within 10 years (!) that person is considered a "habitual offender" and subject to prison, loss of license, car etc.

With so many reckless driving offenses for what many other states would consider just a ticketing offense, it seems easy to get a criminal record with its awful repercussions in most areas of your life. This is insane. I'm all for tickets given for good reasons, and people mandated to take driving classes etc. (DUI of course should be dealt with harshly). But from what I've read I am even afraid to go visit the state!

I also noticed an extreme proliferation of lawyers all over the internet in Virginia to help people who get a ticket, even for speeding 5-10 miles over the limit. It seems that unless you hire a lawyer, you are just letting the judge treat you as harshly as possible. I know of instances where there does seem to be situations set up deliberately so that both the court system and lawyers profit (this is all over the country; I've found out a lot about what can go on in the bankruptcy system), so this is nothing new. It is just the amount of lawyer advertising and even some news websites telling people who get a ticket in Virginia to automatically hire a lawyer.

You can see how this can be upsetting as it not only smacks of Big Brother but also can brand an average citizen who just happens to not notice he/she is going somewhat over the speed limit (we all have done this, I'm sure) as a criminal.

Can someone please clarify this for me? As stated, I am all for safe driving, but to make average folks almost into Americas Most Wanted seems to be way out in left field.

Sorry for the long post but I am very perplexed over this. Hubby and I are looking forward to taking some of the scenic drives people have mentioned here but worrying if a trooper is hanging around the next curve ready to turn us into felons would sure suck the joy out of things quickly!
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:35 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,346,592 times
Reputation: 9919
As a trucker who lives in Ohio but has run Virginia a fair amount, I understand your frustration with the potential for fines/imprisonment and all that. My feelings, after about 1 million acident-free miles and no speeding tickets, is that municipalities and states are after more and more revenue all the time (Heck, an out-of-state truck is nothing but a huge ATM for some jurisdictions...) The best advice I have is speed reasonably (5 mph over on interstates usually puts you "under the radar"; Sorry for the pun!) There are plenty of "bad actors" going faster than that for the cops to pull over. Check your lights every now and then, too Especially license plate and brake lights. (That way they won't have "probable cause" to stop you) I truly believe that most people pulled over "looked" like they were speeding; in the left lane, contant lane changes, etc. If you can camouflage your speed a little better, that's most of the battle won, IMHO. Best of luck!
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:41 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,376,156 times
Reputation: 4002
There are still a number of speed-traps, usually in small towns, around the state. The people there would just rather that you pay in fines what they would otherwise have to pay in taxes. In fairness, this used to be the case everywhere, and some other areas have simply cleaned things up a little quicker than Virginia. Reckless in VA is a different matter, because it's a criminal offense. 20-over-the-limit or 80-anywhere will get you one of those, and they are no fun at all. This is really just the (perhaps misguided) legislature saying, hey, we're serious about this...stop speeding! But once you're hit, you are in the soup. At that point, you need a lawyer (which is why there are so many of them), because someone is going to have to deal with either the prosecutor or the judge, and neither one of them will work with defendants. At the end of the day, most people get off with an extreme amount of hassle and much less actual punishment than what the law prescribes, but this is, all in all, just a really good thing never to be involved with, so don't do 80 or 20-over.

Since you mentioned them, btw, DUI's really are a racket. That's become more like speed-trap money there, only they are about $6,000 a pop instead of a couple of percent of that...
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Old 05-05-2007, 02:20 PM
 
1,229 posts, read 3,153,888 times
Reputation: 286
I never break any rules, so I never got any tickets, been driving since I was 16... I have no idea what Va ticketst would be like, but I am guessing its like anywhere else, break the law, pay up.
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Old 05-05-2007, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Manchester Township, NJ
397 posts, read 1,065,344 times
Reputation: 196
Default I Didn't Either, But

Quote:
Originally Posted by PghPaNative View Post
I never break any rules, so I never got any tickets, been driving since I was 16... I have no idea what Va ticketst would be like, but I am guessing its like anywhere else, break the law, pay up.
I think it a gross overreacting to the fact that if you inadvertently forget one time to use a turn signal that now you have been changed into a criminal. If drivers in NJ were deemed "reckless" for this and maybe not coming to a full stop at a yield sign in the middle of nowhere, the state would not have any budget deficits. NJ might have a lot wrong with it, but it isn't so quick to turn an oversight into a criminal act. We have our share of reckless drivers and I do my share of cursing at them, but if you read what is defined as reckless in VA, it's way out there.

It seems to be a bit more then just paying a fine. If they had stopped at "20 miles or above" the speed limit and showing what can only be termed as road rage or gross impatience, then that would make sense. But to be so picky is hard to comprehend.
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Old 05-05-2007, 05:04 PM
 
5,598 posts, read 17,369,364 times
Reputation: 4732
In most states it isn't against the law not to come to a full stop at a yield sign. In Viginia it's against the law? In other words, you actually have to stop at a yield sign??

Why then don't they just put up a stop sign in place of a yield sign?

That's an awfully sneaky way to get revenue from out of staters that don't know that law. If I were traveling through Virginia and came to a yield sign and saw that nobody was coming, I'd proceed without stopping. I'd then get a ticket and a fine and possibly get chared with reckless driving. I don't think that's fair but how many other out of staters would know you have to stop at a yield sign in VA?

That's just dirty!

Thanks for informing those of us not from VA.

--'rocco
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Old 05-05-2007, 07:21 PM
 
1,229 posts, read 3,153,888 times
Reputation: 286
I had no idea VA was like this or other places, but honestly I am not surprised at all, its the direction this country is taking lately, and has been for sometime, just wasn't as visible as it has been lately here....
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Old 05-05-2007, 08:34 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,376,156 times
Reputation: 4002
Quote:
Originally Posted by DecayingAngel View Post
If drivers in NJ were deemed "reckless" for this and maybe not coming to a full stop at a yield sign in the middle of nowhere, the state would not have any budget deficits. NJ might have a lot wrong with it, but it isn't so quick to turn an oversight into a criminal act.
I grew up in NJ and still have a residence there, though I actually live now in VA. From my experience, there is little difference in either the drivers or the enforcement of traffic laws between the two states, except for the enforcement of limit-plus-20 and 80-anywhere reckless citations in VA. Here as an FYI is a list of other violations that can be charged as reckless driving in VA...

-- driving in a manner so as to endanger life, limb or property
(applies on all roads and driveways and parking lots open to the public)
-- passing a stopped school bus
-- passing a moving emergency vehicle
-- engaging in a race
-- failure to maintain control of a vehicle
-- driving with faulty brakes
-- driving too fast for conditions, regardless of posted limit
-- passing on a curve or at the crest of a grade
-- driving with a load that obstructs front or side visibility
-- passing at a railroad crossing
-- failure to use adequate and timely turn signals
-- failure to stop before entering a highway unless a yield sign is present
-- failure to yield when entering a highway when a yield sign is present
-- passing two vehicles abreast
-- driving two abreast in a single lane

So, there you go. The legislature asks that you do not do any of those things in Virginia. If you do them anyway, you could be charged with reckless driving.
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Manchester Township, NJ
397 posts, read 1,065,344 times
Reputation: 196
Default Sorry, I Wasn't Clear...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scirocco22 View Post
In most states it isn't against the law not to come to a full stop at a yield sign. In Viginia it's against the law? In other words, you actually have to stop at a yield sign??

Why then don't they just put up a stop sign in place of a yield sign?

That's an awfully sneaky way to get revenue from out of staters that don't know that law. If I were traveling through Virginia and came to a yield sign and saw that nobody was coming, I'd proceed without stopping. I'd then get a ticket and a fine and possibly get chared with reckless driving. I don't think that's fair but how many other out of staters would know you have to stop at a yield sign in VA?

That's just dirty!

Thanks for informing those of us not from VA.

--'rocco
I apologize, I meant that you must come to a full stop at a yield sign IF their is oncoming traffic. Otherwise, you slow down and look to see if anyone is coming.

Sorry about that...I've been out in the sun too long.
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Old 05-06-2007, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Yorktown, VA
50 posts, read 192,092 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
As a trucker who lives in Ohio but has run Virginia a fair amount, I understand your frustration with the potential for fines/imprisonment and all that. My feelings, after about 1 million acident-free miles and no speeding tickets, is that municipalities and states are after more and more revenue all the time (Heck, an out-of-state truck is nothing but a huge ATM for some jurisdictions...) The best advice I have is speed reasonably (5 mph over on interstates usually puts you "under the radar"; Sorry for the pun!) There are plenty of "bad actors" going faster than that for the cops to pull over. Check your lights every now and then, too Especially license plate and brake lights. (That way they won't have "probable cause" to stop you) I truly believe that most people pulled over "looked" like they were speeding; in the left lane, contant lane changes, etc. If you can camouflage your speed a little better, that's most of the battle won, IMHO. Best of luck!
I completely agree with Crew Chief. My wife and I have been driving all over Virginia for over 35 years now and neither of us have ever gotten a ticket. Well, there was one for an expired inspection sticker. We usually keep up with the flow of traffic and just generally drive conservatively and safely. The number of "bad actors" is increasing I think, and the police have no problem finding them - as they should. I only wish they'd tag more of 'em.
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