Top 10 Tips for Fairfax County Traffic Court
This guide is meant to help anyone navigate the busy and crowded Fairfax County traffic court. It is useful for defendants who do not have attorneys as well as those with legal representation.
Consult an AttorneyMany traffic cases in the Fairfax County traffic court have severe consequences, both short and long-term. Some traffic offenses are actually crimes. Convictions for these offenses will remain on your permanent CRIMINAL record. Additionally, some traffic convictions result in suspension of your Virginia driver's license. If you are caught driving after your license has been suspended, that will result in another, more serious charge. It would be wise to consult an attorney to discuss the consequences of your particular case.
Do Not Ignore Your Court DateIf you have a pre-payable traffic ticket, and you do not pay it before the court date, it is assumed that you are going to court to contest your ticket. If you do not show up, you will be tried (and most likely convicted) in your absence. In addition to a fine, you will be responsible for court costs. If you have a case in Fairfax County traffic court which is NOT a pre-payable offense, such as Reckless Driving or DUI, and you do not show up, you will have an additional charge of Failure to Appear and there will likely be a bench warrant out for your arrest.
Arrive EarlyIf you decide to contest your ticket, arrive early. Fairfax County traffic court is very busy. There are hundreds of people on any given day, all with court at the same time. The security line often gets very long. Additionally, make sure you arrive to your court room on time. If you are not in the court room and your name is called, you could be tried and found guilty in your absence or the judge could even issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you arrive late, the judge may or may not hear your case in court that day. Your only recourse is to appeal.
Go to the Right Court RoomIt might sound obvious, but every day defendants go to the wrong court room. Fairfax County traffic court has five court rooms. Sometimes there are more if there are a lot of traffic cases that particular day. Court is always packed with people and moves fast. If you are in the wrong court room, you will likely be tried and found guilty in your absence, or, as stated above, the court might issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
Turn Off Your Cell PhoneThe deputies in the Fairfax County Traffic Court WILL take your cell phone if it goes off during court or if they see you using your phone. You will not be able to get your phone back until the end of the day.
Dress AppropriatelyCourt is not a club. Court is not the beach. You do not need to wear an Armani suit, but dress nicely. It shows respect for the court, the judicial process, and that you are taking your case seriously.
Be Prepared for Additional FeesCourt costs are added to all cases that result in convictions in the Fairfax County traffic court. Your court costs will be higher if you have a court-appointed attorney. If you are paying your fines with a credit card, there is an automatic 4% fee added.
Fines and Court Costs Must be Paid Within 30 DaysIf you do not pay off all of your fees you owe to the court within 30 days, the DMV will suspend your driver's license. The clerk will likely grant you an extension if you ask, but you must make the arrangements with the clerk's office before the 30 days are over.
Be Prepared for the Outcome.Many Fairfax County traffic court convictions can result in jail. Some of these offenses include Driving on a Suspended License, Reckless Driving, and DUI convictions. There is a very real possibility that if found guilty, you could be doing some active jail time. The sheriff will be taking you into custody immediately. Make sure your employer knows you might not be returning to work the next day if this pertains to you.
You only have 10 days to appeal.If you are going to appeal a Fairfax County traffic court conviction, you only have ten days from the date you were convicted. There are NO exceptions.
Additional resources provided by the author
- Top Ten Tips for Fairfax County Traffic Court
- Driver's License Suspension in Fairfax
- DMV Points and License Suspension in Fairfax
- DMV Driver's License Suspension in Fairfax
- Failure to Pay Fines and Court Costs and Driver's License Suspension in Fairfax
- Appealing Traffic Court Decision in Fairfax
- Failure to Appear for Traffic Ticket in Fairfax
- Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear in Court in Fairfax
- Penalty for Failure to Appear in Court in Fairfax
- Failure to Appear in Court in Fairfax
- What is a Bench Warrant in Fairfax?
- Fairfax Reckless Driving
- Active vs Suspended Jail Time in Virginia
- Driving on a Suspended License Charge in Fairfax
- DUI Charge in Fairfax