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Prince William County Improper Lane Change

Northern Virginia is a very congested area and Improper or Erratic Lane Change charges are very common in Prince William County.  Sometimes known as "failure to obey lane markings," a conviction for Improper Lane Charge is 4 demerit points on the DMV record and will remain on the driving record for 3 years.  There is a maximum $250 fine (though the Virginia Statute calls for a fine of $100).  If you wish to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and options, please give us a call at 703-273-4100 or use the contact form below.

 § 46.2-804:  Traffic Highway Lanes in Prince William County

Virginia Code §46.2-804 requires that motorists maintain their lane at all times.  We have all had other drivers come into our lane unexpectedly which can be a very scary experience.  Unsafe lane changes in Prince William County are ticketed in many cases where there was an accident or in road rage incidents.  The specifics of the unsafe lane change law are as follows:

  1. Whenever a vehicle is driving slower than the speed of traffic, the driver must be in the far right lane unless they are overtaking and passing another vehicle or preparing to make a left turn.
  2. All vehicles must be driven within the lane as nearly as practicable and cannot be moved from that lane until safe to do so.  46.2-804(2) is the most common charge under this statute (this section).  Most of the time there is no problem staying within the lane.  However, the issue of making a safe lane change is a frequent charge in Prince William County because there is so much area traffic.  In many cases, when a person feels it is safe to switch lanes, another vehicle quickly emerges in that area due to the amount of motorists on the road which can result in accidents or close calls.
  3. On a three-lane highway, the center lane cannot be used by drivers unless the driver is passing another vehicle or is preparing for a left turn.  However, markings or traffic signs can change this rule allowing all motorists to use the center lane.
  4. This section refers to state and local authorities designating right lanes for slow-moving vehicles and trucks.  This section is not charged very often.
  5. When a highway is marked with double lines and one line is solid while the other line is broken, a vehicle cannot be driven to the left of the line if the closest line is solid.  There is an exception where a vehicle can turn left if entering or leaving a road or entrance or to pass a bicyclist, skateboarder, or scooter (to be done safely).  
  6. If the highway is marked with double solid yellow lines, a vehicle cannot be driven to the left of the line unless turning left or to pass a bicycle, skateboard, or scooter.
  7. A highway marked with double white lines cannot be crossed by a vehicle in any case.

We regularly appear in the Prince William County General District Court for improper lane change charges and can help.  We handle all Prince William County localities including the City of Manassas, Manassas Park, Town of Occoquan, Town of Dumfries, and Town of Haymarket.  In many cases we can get the charged dismissed with completion of traffic school if the client has a clean driving record.  In other cases, we can negotiate a reduction of the charge in order to help avoid insurance rate increases or a loss of DMV demerit points.  Even if you have general questions, do not hesitate to reach out and our traffic lawyer would be happy to speak.

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We will not “sugar coat.” We will tell you exactly what you are facing and will give you the best and worst case scenarios. We are not here to scare you or to pull the wool over your eyes. We find many people calling us for a simple case where they have spoken to other lawyers and are now afraid. However, after speaking with those people and getting the facts, many times there is nothing to fear. We will tell you how things look and we will tell you the truth because we want happy clients. That’s you!

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