When you receive a traffic ticket, you have two options available to you: admit guilt and pay the fines or bring the matter to court and fight the infraction before a judge. If you do not pay the traffic ticket, you could face numerous consequences that can impact your financial security, your life, and your freedom. Ignoring traffic tickets in Virginia is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly.
Before you choose to ignore your ticket, seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney at Driving Defense Law. Our team has the knowledge necessary to navigate your case and successfully reduce your charges. To learn more about how we can defend your rights and minimize the consequences of your traffic violation, consider connecting with us today at (757) 929-0335.
What Are the Consequences of Ignoring Traffic Tickets in Virginia?
There are a variety of reasons why a traffic ticket may go ignored. Perhaps you believe the ticket you received was not justified and feel that ignoring it will make it go away. Maybe you do not have the extra money to pay the fines associated with the ticket and want to wait until you are in a better financial position. In other cases, you may simply forget about the traffic ticket, leading you to accidentally ignore it altogether.
Regardless of the reason, ignoring traffic tickets can have serious consequences. This is true of out-of-state tickets as well, although it is a common traffic ticket myth that you do not need to take action after receiving a ticket in another state. The following are three of the most noteworthy consequences that you may face if you ignore a traffic ticket in the state of Virginia.
Increased Fines for the Traffic Ticket
Traffic violations are a major source of revenue for city and state governments. Ignoring a ticket or making a late payment on a ticket can trigger additional costs. The amount that a person must pay after initially ignoring a ticket can vary depending on the type of traffic violation that they incurred.
Most traffic citations include instructions for how to pay the ticket and a contact number for additional details or questions. If you communicate in advance about your inability to pay the ticket you may have other options for recourse, such as a payment plan. Failure to communicate is akin to ignoring the ticket, causing fines to increase greatly over time.
Your Account Will Go to Collections
If you do not agree upon a payment plan with the court or pay the fines for your traffic ticket within 90 days of your court date, your account will be sent to collections. Collections agencies are third party companies that are responsible for collecting overdue debts. They will relentlessly attempt to contact you until your traffic ticket debt is paid. Unfortunately, there are numerous consequences of your ticket going to collections, including:
- Lowering your credit score. Your payment history makes up a substantial portion of your credit score, so having your account in collections can have a long-lasting harmful effect on your credit report.
- Making it difficult to take out loans and credit cards. Creditors will look at your credit report to assess your financial habits and determine if you are fit to take out a new line of credit. Having an account in collections demonstrates that you may not be reliable to pay back debts on time.
- Being sued. If you fail to pay back your debt altogether, you can be sued by the debt collector.
Ignoring traffic tickets can have resounding impacts far beyond what you can imagine. If you ignore your ticket for long enough, your financial wellbeing can suffer immensely. This further underscores the importance of seeking legal assistance before choosing to ignore your ticket. An experienced traffic ticket defense attorney at Driving Defense Law will help you navigate your options to avoid the long-term consequences of ignoring your ticket.
A Judge May Issue a Warrant for Your Arrest
On all Virginia traffic tickets, there is a small checkbox next to a sentence that states:
- “You may avoid coming to court only if this block is checked and all instructions on the defendant’s copy are followed.”
If this box is checked by the police officer, you have the option of paying your ticket ahead of time and avoiding a court hearing. It should be noted that in doing so, you are essentially admitting guilt and agreeing to accrue points on your license. If this box is left empty, however, you are legally required to attend the court hearing.
Typically, this indicates that you have been charged with a criminal misdemeanor rather than a minor traffic offense. Ignoring traffic tickets for misdemeanor offenses can have implications far behind mere fines and the other hidden costs of traffic tickets such as increased insurance rates and reduced employment opportunities. Indeed, failing to acknowledge these tickets can have a considerable impact on your life and future.
If you do not attend your court hearing for a misdemeanor charge, you may face jail time. In traffic infraction cases, the judge will likely try you in your absence and issue a fine. In misdemeanor cases, however, the judge will not do this. Instead, you will be charged with “failure to appear,” which is a separate misdemeanor charge in Virginia. Then, the judge will likely issue a warrant for your arrest, which authorizes the police to take you into custody at any time.
Considering Ignoring Your Traffic Ticket? Contact an Experienced Attorney at Driving Defense Law Instead
Traffic tickets can be frustrating and inconvenient. While it may be tempting to ignore the ticket, doing so can have serious consequences on your life, your financial well-being, and your future. If you are considering ignoring a traffic ticket in Virginia, consider scheduling a free case evaluation with our team instead.
At Driving Defense Law, we are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and minimizing the negative impact of their ticket using proven traffic ticket defense strategies. We will zealously advocate for your interests, working diligently to ensure that your charges are reduced or dismissed altogether. To learn more, consider calling or texting us at (757) 929-0335 today.