Most modern vehicles have automatic sensors that will activate the headlights when it starts getting dark. In fact, some vehicles will display headlights when the windshield wipers are activated. Many vehicles, however, either do not have this technology or the driver does not have the automatic sensor turned on. As a result, it is very possible to drive down a highway in Fairfax County without headlights on.
Driving Without Headlights in Virginia is a 3 point offense for DMV purposes and a conviction will remain on your driving record for 3 years. If you wish to fight this ticket or avoid points, hiring a traffic lawyer can help because we can negotiate to a lesser offense that will not result in a loss of DMV points or insurance rate increases.
Driving Without Headlights: §46.2-1030
Virginia Code §46.2-1030 requires the use of headlights from (i) sunset to sunrise, (ii) during times of rain, smoke, fog, snow, sleet, insufficient light, or any other conditions where visibility is reduced to an extent where people or vehicles cannot be clearly discerned at a distance of 500 feet; and (iii) whenever windshield wipers are in use because of fog, rain, sleet, or slow. Headlights do not need to be used when windshield wipers are in use intermittently in misting rain, sleet, or snow.
Among some of the other requirements, it should be noted there is no loss of DMV demerit points if the Driving Without Headlights charge is because of (iii) above. Specifically, if you are using your windshield wipers intermittently during the day because of fog, rain, sleet, or snow, then you are technically still required by law to have your headlights on. However, if you are caught not using them when your windshield wipers are on, it is no points. Just be sure your summons shows you are charged under §46.2-1030(A)(iii) to avoid DMV issuing 3 points on your driving record.
In addition, if you are charged in Fairfax County for Driving Without Headlights, it is important to point out that §46.2-1030(F) requires that no citation be issued if the officer stopped you for driving without headlights simply because your windshield wipers were on (unless you were stopped for another citation). In fact, the officer cannot stop you for it all unless they stop you for some other other violation. The charge should be dismissed by the Judge if the Fairfax County Police Officer stopped you for Driving Without Headlights simply because your windshield wipers were on.
If you have been stopped for Driving Without Headlights in Fairfax County, feel free to give us a call. We offer a free consultation and can help you avoid a loss of points on your driving record. In most cases, we can appear for Court on your behalf so you do not need to miss work or family obligations. We are in Court everyday and would be happy to help.