Due to the fact that we all drive it is almost inevitable to be stopped by the police at some point. Prince William County is the second most populous county in Virginia and spans approximately 348 square miles. The Prince William County Parkway, Interstate 66, Interstate 95, Route 28, and Route 29 are some of the major roads that the Prince William County Police routinely patrol and issue traffic tickets. Many traffic tickets carry DMV points which can affect insurance rates, your driving record, certain jobs, and other aspects of your life. We are in court everyday and can help minimize the impact of a traffic ticket. We offer a free consultation and would be happy to speak. Give us a call at 703-273-4100 or use the contact form below.
The Prince William County Traffic Court
The Prince William County General District Court is where Traffic Court is heard. The courthouse is located at 9311 Lee, Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110 and hears cases brought by the police from the following localities: Prince William County, City of Manassas, Manassas Park, Town of Occoquan, Town of Dumfries, and Town of Haymarket. Traffic Court is heard on the second floor of the courthouse. There is a computer docket board on the wall that displays the individual's name and their courtroom number. It is always recommended that anyone charged with an offense arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their scheduled court time so they can find their courtroom and get settled in. It should be noted that the Prince William County Courthouse does not allow cellphones into the courthouse.
When the traffic docket begins most Bailiffs will give a speech before the Judge comes out. Listen carefully because they will provide instructions such as which podium to stand at and how to conduct yourself in the courtroom. When the Judge comes out to begin the court's docket they will take some preliminary matters with lawyers first.
Every traffic case is called by officer. Once your officer's name is called your ears should perk up because your name will be called soon by the Judge. When your name is called, you will want to move towards whichever podium the Judge's Bailiff has indicated and you will either enter a guilty plea, no contest plea, or not guilty plea. A guilty plea means you agree that you are guilty of the offense and the Judge will decide punishment at that time. A no contest plea means you do not agree with your guilt but agree that the police officer has enough evidence to convict had the case gone to trial (a no contest plea is a form of guilty plea). If you enter a not guilty plea, most Judges will ask that you have a seat and they will call your case later in the docket for trial. If the case involves a traffic accident, the Judge will continue the case to a later date for trial so the officer may subpoena any necessary witnesses.
If you have a Prince William County traffic lawyer, your court experience will be different. While the Judge is calling the docket and hearing cases, we will be in the hallway negotiating your case with the prosecutor or town attorney. If we reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor or town attorney, no trial is had. Rather, the plea agreement is simply handed up to the Judge for them to enter it. In the event it appears we will have a trial, the case will be called towards the end of the docket so the court can resolve the quicker matters first.
Common types of Tickets and DMV Points
When you are convicted of a traffic violation, the court notifies the VA DMV. The DMV will assess points according to the severity of the charge as well as any applicable license suspension. We represent individuals charged with most types of traffic tickets and do our best to minimize the charge and its effect on your record. Below are the most common types of traffic tickets we see in Prince William County and corresponding demerit points:
- Speeding 1-9 mph over the posted speed limit
- Improper Lane Change
- Improper Turn
- Improper U-Turn
- Right or Left Turn on Red
- Driving without Lights
- Failure to Obey Highway Sign
- Stopping on a Highway
- Evading Traffic Control Device
- Driving without a License
- Holding a Cellphone While Driving
- Watching Television While Driving
- Speeding 10-19 mph over the posted speed limit
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Following too closely
- Improper signal
- Disregard Crossing Guard
- Passing stopped school bus (non-reckless)
- Failure to obey traffic signal
- Speeding 20 mph or more over the speed limit
- Reckless Driving
- Driving While License Suspended
- Hit and Run
Defenses to Traffic Tickets in Prince William County
The best defense you can have against a traffic ticket is to hire a Prince William County traffic attorney. Judges are primarily tasked with determining guilt or innocence which limits what they can do. Many times, we can negotiate a reduction of your charge with the prosecutor to avoid DMV points that negatively impact your insurance rates and driving record.
We defend traffic tickets in a number of ways and it always starts with your driving record. Depending on your driving record, we may have you take a driver improvement course for purposes of mitigation. In speed cases, we may have you get your vehicle's speedometer calibrated. In an effort to humanize our clients for the court, we may ask that you supply some background information about yourself such as college degrees, professional licenses, or other documentation evidencing your good moral character.
First-Time Traffic Tickets in Prince William County
Unlike some other counties, Prince William County has a "traffic school for dismissal" program in certain cases. If it is your first ticket in Prince William County or you have not had a ticket in the past five years and the charge is not egregious, it is possible to have the charge dismissed so that it does not appear on your driving record. Not all cases qualify for traffic school for dismissal but having a traffic attorney can certainly help look into it and otherwise fight for it.
In other cases, if you do not qualify for traffic school or do not wish to take a class, there are other things we can do to negotiate a reduction of your charge. A favorite of our CDL drivers charged with a traffic ticket in Prince William County is to negotiate for a reduction to defective equipment. Defective equipment is a no-point non-moving violation that is a charge in cases where vehicles have a broken tail light, cracked windshield, or some other minor defect. Our clients simply pay a fine and their DMV points are not affected.
Do you Need to Appear in Court for a Traffic Ticket in Prince William County?
Whether or not you need to appear for traffic court in Prince William County depends on the charge. It also depends on whether or not you have a traffic lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer you will need to appear for court or the Judge will find you guilty in your absence or, worse, issue a bench warrant for your arrest if it is a misdemeanor traffic charge. If you do have a lawyer, in many cases, we can appear for court on your behalf so you don't have to miss work or family obligations. Instead, we handle the court process and call you from the courthouse to let you know how things are going and will keep you updated on your case. In the rare case we run into an issue, we will request a continuance and simply have you appear at the next court date a month or two later with more mitigation or for trial.
We Offer Flat-Fees and a Free Consultation
We have an excellent rapport with the Prince William County courthouse. We have had numerous judge trials and jury trials in Manassas and have worked with the prosecutors for years. Many tickets can be prepaid but prepayment is a guilty plea to the charge. In more serious traffic offenses it is important to have a lawyer you can trust and communicate with. When you call us we will talk about what happened, what result you are seeking, and see what we can do to help. In some cases people are simply looking for guidance on how to navigate the court system themselves and we would be happy to discuss those logistics. If you wish to hire us to handle your case we charge flat-fees in all traffic cases.