What are Virginia Public Traffic Records?
A Virginia traffic record is an official document containing an individual's driving history. These records contain information regarding the traffic violations, traffic citations, and convictions of persons resident within state limits. Different government agencies in Virginia maintain public driving records, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VDMV) provides access to these records per the state's public record laws.
Are Traffic Records Public in Virginia?
Yes, traffic records are public record in Virginia. The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) guarantees access to public records maintained by the different agencies in the state. Per this act, interested individuals may access driving or traffic records in the state. However, selected information may be protected from public disclosure. The Privacy Act protects individuals' names, social security numbers, and other identifying symbols or numbers. Hence, this Privacy Act ensures the removal of confidential information from public records.
What do Virginia Traffic Records Contain?
Virginia traffic records contain the following:
- Personal information
- Traffic convictions
- Traffic accidents
- License related issues like cancellations, revocations, and suspensions
- Number of points on an individual's license
- Details about one's driving history
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Virginia?
Minor infractions are not featured on criminal records in Virginia. Nevertheless, the individual will pay a fine, and the demerit points for the infractions will go on the individual's driving record. On the other hand, misdemeanors carry severe penalties and go on one's criminal record. Examples of traffic offenses that can go on one's criminal record are driving without a license, driving on a suspended license, hit and run, reckless driving, and driving under the influence.
Types of Traffic Citations in Virginia
Virginia State classifies traffic violations by demerit points three, four, and six. The three-point violations category is the least severe of the categories. It contains citations for speeding (1 to 9 mph above the standard speed limit), failure to signal, improper turning, driving without light, and improper passing. However, the category of the four-point violation is a step higher than the basic traffic offenses in Virginia State. The four-point violations involve:
- Passing when unsafe, speeding (10-19 mph over the standard speed limit).
- Following another car too closely.
- Passing when unsafe and failure to stop for a pedestrian.
Six-point violations are the most severe traffic offenses in Virginia. They include: driving when intoxicated, manslaughter, reckless driving, and driving under the influence.
Expectedly, the Department of Motor Vehicles aligns each violation to the traffic record of individuals and based on the demerit points, individuals are allowed or denied certain driving privileges.
Virginia Traffic Citation Lookup
Interested persons may look up Virginia traffic citations with ease. Requestors may access traffic citations by visiting the website of the specific superior court keeping the record. These courts websites present search tools that can help look for traffic citations in the state.
For instance, the Virginia judiciary system can be relied upon for the directory of all superior courts that one can contact for a traffic citation in Virginia State. Additionally, an individual can visit the courthouse to check with the clerk or check with the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles to lookup traffic citations in Virginia.
How to Lookup My Virginia Traffic Records
Anyone interested in getting a copy of their driving record in Virginia can request online, write the Department of Motor Vehicle, or visit the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle customer center. Individuals can apply online through the service portal provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles. They can access the VA DMV PIN logon and give the driver's license number or the social security number and date of birth. Likewise, they can visit a DMV customer service center and present adequate identification such as a photo, identification card, or a valid driver's license alongside the prescribed fee.
Furthermore, anyone who wishes to request the record via email will send a written request specifying their full name, social security number, the reason for asking for the record, their mailing address, and payment of 8 dollars to; Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Attention: Vehicle (Driver) Records Work Center, P.O. Box 27412, Richmond, VA 23269.
If individuals need a certified copy of their record, they will be required to pay an additional fee of 5 dollars. Above all, the driver/vehicle record request website provides more information on requesting a driver or vehicle record.
Virginia Traffic Violations
A Virginia traffic violation is defined as any infraction of the state's motor vehicle laws. This can include anything from speeding and running a red light to parking illegally or failing to yield to pedestrians. Traffic violations are typically punishable by fines, points on the offender's driver's license, and in some cases, jail time.
If a motorist is convicted of a traffic violation, the specific penalties they face will depend on the severity of the offense. For example, a first-time speeding ticket may only result in a small fine, while more severe crimes like a hit and run or DUI can lead to substantial fines and jail time. In addition, most traffic violations will add points to the offender's driver's license; accumulating too many points can lead to a license suspension.
Virginia License Plate Lookup
License plate information is featured in Virginia traffic records to help identify a vehicle and its owner. A Virginia license plate lookup can be conducted online or in-person at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When looking up a Virginia license plate online, requestors will need the license plate number and the state where the vehicle is registered. The DMV website will provide the owner's name, address, and other registration information.
To conduct a license plate lookup in person, requestors can visit their local DMV office and provide the license plate number and the state where the vehicle is registered. The DMV will then provide them with the owner's name, address, and other registration information.
How to View Traffic Case Record for Free in Virginia
Courts are the custodians of case records in Virginia like other States in the United States. Therefore, anyone interested in accessing traffic case records may visit or contact the superior court in the jurisdiction where the case was heard or where the traffic violation occurred.
Besides, any requester for a traffic case record in Virginia can adopt any of these approaches:
- Visit the specific courthouses to obtain hard copies of court records (traffic case records)
- Visit the specific courthouses to access the electronic copies of the traffic case record through the public access terminals.
- Access specific courthouse websites or the website of the Virginia court system for electronic copies
Significantly, requesters who need hard copies of court records will pay a specified fee at the courthouse. Also, they can access electronic copies of court records by using the public access computer terminals at the court clerks' offices. Requesters can locate any court in Virginia through the Virginia Judicial System website, which provides a directory.
Furthermore, the supreme court of Virginia provides online access to its Appellate Case Management System (ACMS-SCV). Individuals can use this system to access case information from the Supreme courts by providing the SCV record numbers or some of the following search parameters:
- Names (Last and first)
- Tribunal case number
- Case type
- Lower tribunal
Also, anyone interested in case information from the Court of Appeals can access it from the ACMS-CAV System by supplying the Court of Appeal of Virginia record number or any of the parameters for the Supreme Court listed above.
Finally, one can access the case information of various circuit courts in Virginia on the Circuit Court Case Information page on the website of the Virginia Judiciary System. Individuals must provide details such as name, case number, and hearing date to access any case information through this medium successfully.
How Long Do Traffic Offenses Remain on Public Records in Virginia?
The number of years that a traffic violation remains on an individual's record is a function of the severity or nature of the violation. In Virginia State, demerit points can stay on one's record for up to 2 years from the date the individual commits the violation.
Generally, the Department of Motor Vehicles will remove accumulated demerit points from one's record in 2 years. Although, the infraction may stay on one's record for about 3 to 11 years based on the severity of the infraction.
For example, reckless driving violations such as driving faster than 80 mph, driving without a clear view of the road, and failure to use a turn signal will remain on a driver's record for 11 years.
On the other hand, driving more than 20 mph above the specified speed limit will stay on a driver's record for 5 years, while a conviction for eluding a law enforcement agent will remain on the driver's record for 3 years. Notably, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle maintains these records.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Virginia
Traffic records are public records that different government agencies generate. These records are collated and maintained by data brokerage organizations. The continuous availability of these records in such websites can negatively affect the subject of the record. Hence, record-holders may opt to remove records from public records.
Eligible persons may petition to have their records sealed or expunged to have them removed from third-party websites. An individual requesting sealing or expungement of a specified record needs to file a motion with the relevant court. After the judge has granted the motion, the individual can contact a data brokerage firm to take down the records from their website through an attorney. Once the record is expunged or sealed, it can only be accessed by obtaining a court order. Meanwhile, the court will only give the order for specific reasons stated in the law.
On the other hand, an individual can get a post office box address and then change their physical street address in some records to the new post office box address. Similarly, one can create a dedicated phone number specifically for government forms. These acts can protect an individual's personal information, such as active phone numbers and residential addresses.
Additionally, one can consider the paid privacy services that help opt people out of various websites that the data brokerage firms maintain and monitor so that an individual's data stays private.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Record in Virginia?
Motoring offenses can affect a person's criminal record in Virginia. Motoring offenses are categorized as criminal and civil offenses. Individuals pay minimal fines and penalties for civil offenses, while criminal traffic offenses are punishable by heavy fines, jail terms, or both. Minor traffic violations are not considered criminal and, as such, do not affect an individual's criminal record. However, criminal traffic violations may permanently affect an individual's criminal record.