November 18, 2013: You missed court, forgot to prepay, and are driving 81mph?!?

November 18, 2013

Virginia Criminal Lawyer’s Q/A Session of the Week

Welcome. This week, several subscribers submitted a myriad of traffic questions…and so, this first week our Virginia defense attorney in Fairfax, VA answers a few broad questions like,

“what if I miss my court date?”

Remember, this is not legal advice and is for informational purposes only. The hope though, is that answers to the basic questions will answer many unasked questions arising in the minds of viewers. The main page where all future Monday Q/A videos is available right here. Contribute your questions by sending an email to

Please use this phrase as the subject: Monday Q/A question for publication.

Most drivers already are aware that by prepaying a fine, one forfeits the right to a trial. But our Northern Virginia local Fairfax VA Criminal Attorney what should a person do if they have already been found guilty (and for purposes of this example, did not want to plead guilty or prepay?). If the person has a legitimate excuse for not being able to make it to the hearing date and time (such as a medical emergency and evidence from a doctor), then that person may make special motion to reopen the case. If there is enough time, an appeal may be another option. Discussing the best option in such a situation is only to be done between you and your legal professional, or Virginia defense attorney. do if the time has come and gone following a traffic conviction…what, if anything can be done? This single question gives rise to other, very important inquiries as well…for example, what happens if a fine or court cost is not paid in time? What is the easiest way to be charged with reckless driving in VIrginia? And, what happens if you are allowed to prepay your fine, but do not?

The Virginia Defense Attorney and Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Video 3 Minute Explanation

Ask a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney

I’m Brenton D Vincenzes, Fairfax County Criminal Defense Attorney. And today we are talking about,

  • what can you do if you miss your court date?
  • to prepay or not to prepay?
  • a caution to Virginia drivers (regarding reckless driving)

If you missed your court date:

Don’t panic! The big thing is, pay your costs (and fines) within 30 days. If you have to look online, go to Google, type “VA case info” or (visit this page) and use the drop-down menu. Find your jurisdiction/court, enter your name after clicking on “search by name,” and use the drop-down menu to select display or show all.

(Hopefully, you only missed a traffic infraction)

Find your jurisdiction, type in your name, and if it is in the past, it may say,

Mark for Payment [it will possibly be blue or red]

If you had a criminal case

and did not show up, it may be charged as an additional offense (failure to appear). If you realize you missed a criminal court date, there may be a warrant out for your arrest. Call authorities to inform them of the error, and/or your defense attorney as soon as possible.

If you missed a traffic infraction

(non-criminal), then you were probably found guilty in-absentia, or, guilty in your absence. If you had good reason to not be at your court date, let your attorney know. If you do not like your result,

you can appeal within 10 days to the circuit court

by appealing within 10 days you will kick it up to the circuit court for a new trial. If you cannot do that you can reopen a case in 60 days.

What I Want to Say About Reckless Driving

Right now in Virginia it’s very important to note that you can get charged with reckless driving for just going 11 mph over the speed lit. Now lets say it’s 70, it is some places, you go in excess of 80, even 81, that’s reckless driving that can be six demerit points, all sorts of problems: Class 1 misdemeanor, $2,500 fine, 12 months jail; six months loss of driving privileges in some cases or worse…

What kind of sentence will I get?

What happens? It all depends. Every case differs…even cases involving similar crimes, and implicating similar people. No one case is so much like any other, that any attorney could claim to be certain a case like it has already been heard, somewhere, sometime. But one key factor will be the question,

do you have a good record?

Do you not have a good record?

We will look at that record.

  • Looking at your history [the prosecutor and police may want to know things looking back] previous months [even a] previous few years
  • have you paid your court costs find,
  • we look at what you’re doing in life,
  • do you have a job?

All these things…effect how and if you are going to establish and achieve your goals

while working along with your counsel.

[Note for the reasons alluded to in this weeks post, most attorneys do not publish their fees. To put a dollar number on a criminal case type is just not wise, and so we will not do so under normal circumstances at Vincenzes Law, PLLC]

Do not wait around if you are thinking about talking to a Virginia criminal defense attorney. Our Fairfax criminal lawyer is located in Northern VA and helps people in all local counties, cities (like Alexandria), and courts in Herndon, Vienna, and others. Ask for a consultation and flat fee quote if you feel like you need to talk to an experienced traffic, misdemeanor, and felony defense attorney. We are always happy to talk: 703.665.3719

  • if you have to go to trial there could be defects  with the police calibration report
  • There could be problems with the way you were stopped,
  • and all sorts of 4th, 5th and 6th [Amendment] issues

“You don’t have to plead guilty.”

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Brenton D. Vincenzes is a lifelong Fairfax County resident and Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer. He is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, NORML, and has been awarded the following in 2014-15: Top 100 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Nationally Ranked Top 10 Under 40 Defense Attorney (National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys) 10 Best in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys) Nationally Ranked Top 1% Attorney Award Recipient (National Association of Distinguished Counsel) As a local leader, Mr. Vincenzes mentors troubled youths, volunteers his time to serve at his church, takes select pro bono clients, and strives to improve the community. Mr. Vincenzes represents men, women, and juveniles through zealous and diligent advocacy, strategic planning, and skilled trial work preparation. Mr. Vincenzes' areas of criminal law practice are broad, and include most felonies and misdemeanors such as: reckless driving, DUI & DWI, drug offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, assault on an officer, destruction of property, alcohol offenses, firearm offenses, larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud, and other theft offenses, and moving traffic violations among others. His private legal services are available in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, South Riding, and other cities and towns.

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