Getting pulled over for speeding can be nerve wracking under the best of circumstances, and even more stressful when it happens in a rental car. Beyond the urban sprawl of the DC area, the rest of Virginia is mainly rural, where highways can roll through the countryside for hundreds of miles without hitting a big city. Here's what you should do if you get a speeding ticket in Old Dominion.
How Much Are Speeding Fines in Virginia?
Virginia is known for levying severe penalties against drivers going 20 miles over the speed limit or faster than 80 miles per hour. This is considered reckless driving, a misdemeanor that could potentially result in a year of jail time and fines up to $2,500, according to local law offices.
Speeding fines across the state of Virginia depend on where you are, how fast you're driving and the specific situation. In Fairfax, for example, the fine is generally $6 for every mile per hour over the posted speed limit and $7 for every mile over the posted limit when speeding in a work or school zone. However, speeding in a residential zone will set you back $8 per mile plus another $200 penalty. Tickets also come with a $66 court processing fee.
According to the National Motorists Association's website Speedtrap.org, the list of Virginia cities with the most speed traps includes Richmond, Emporia, Midlothian, Wytheville and Woodbridge.
How to Handle a Speeding Ticket in a Rental
Unlike parking tickets and toll violations, which are typically tied to the vehicle, a speeding ticket is generally tied to the driver. If a police officer pulls you over, you'll be able to handle the fine on your own—possibly without the rental company ever finding out. From there, you can pay the fine or fight it. Going to traffic school or taking a defensive driving course online may also be an option for avoiding points on your record.
There is one way the rental company could find out about the issue. Getting caught by a speed camera that takes a photo of the plate would mean that the rental company would be notified of the fine—and pass on to you at a later date with an added fee. If you receive a notice in the mail about a fine triggered by a speed camera, pay it immediately to avoid dealing with collections agencies or you could end up on the Do Not Rent list.
How to Pay a Speeding Ticket in Virginia
You'll have to pay for the speeding ticket in Virginia, whether or not you live there. Most states agree to tell each other about speeding violations and will put points on your license for out-of-state violations. You can also try to fight the fine, but that would require showing up to court and could lead to additional legal costs.
The easiest way to pay a speeding ticket in Virginia is to head over to Virginia's General District Court webpage. Here, you'll have to follow a menu to select the court listed on your ticket and find your specific case. Using a credit or debit card will add a 4% convenience fee to the total. Paying by mail is also an option.