Virginia Code §46.2-1158 requires that a vehicle registered and driven in Virginia be inspected at least once very 12 months. Any vehicle that fails a safety inspection has 15 days to correct the defect and pass an inspection while being permitted to still drive during that time period. If the vehicle continues to fail an inspection, many people may resort to placing fictitious or unauthorized inspection stickers on their vehicle until they can figure out either how to fix the problem or sell the vehicle. Unfortunately, possessing an unauthorized inspection sticker in Fairfax County is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and speaking with a traffic lawyer would be a good idea. We are in traffic court everyday and can help. Feel free to give us a call or use the contact form below for a free consultation.
Improper Use of an Inspection Sticker
Virginia Code §46.2-1172 criminalizes using or possessing an unauthorized or fictitious inspection sticker. The statute disallows removing an inspection sticker that was issued in connection with a specific vehicle. As noted above, many people may fail a safety inspection and be unable to afford the costs necessary to fix the problem. In some cases, people have multiple vehicles and figure they can simply take a valid inspection sticker off one of their vehicles and place it on the rejected vehicle. In any case, when a police officer stops the individual for an unrelated reason such as speeding or some other traffic offense, it becomes apparent the inspection does not match that vehicle and the additional citation is issued.
An unauthorized inspection charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. While there is a potential jail sentence of up to 12 months with a fine of up to $2500, a Judge is unlikely to sentence an individual to jail barring something unusual. However, you can expect to have the Misdemeanor on your record. In most cases, the Misdemeanor conviction is avoidable.
Hiring an Attorney for your Case
In these cases, our number one priority is to have the charge either reduced or outright dismissed so that our clients avoid a Misdemeanor conviction. In some cases we'll negotiate with the Prosecutor to have the charge reduced to a simple failure to have a vehicle inspection under Virginia Code §46.2-1158 so that it is as if they were simply late in getting their inspection done. This result is also a simple no-point non-moving traffic infraction. In other cases we can negotiate a dismissal of the charge. We can pursue these objectives when we can show proof our clients have complied, fixed the issue, and now possess a valid inspection for the vehicle they were driving when they were stopped. Every now and then a client either cannot get the issue fixed because of cost (or the vehicle just is not worth it) so we'll recommend selling the vehicle and producing the bill of sale for us to use. We will bring in proof to court showing the sale and specifics of the current vehicle they are driving to show it is in compliance (i.e. the client's current vehicle is properly inspected).
We offer free consultations and would be happy to discuss your case. We have handled thousands of cases in the Fairfax County Courthouse and have a very good rapport with the court, prosecutors, and police officers. We consider your case to be our case and your outcome as our outcome.