Traffic Defense

Portsmouth Traffic Defense Attorney

Traffic Defense Lawyer in Tidewater Area

When you have been charged with a traffic offense, whether it is speeding, reckless driving, or any other offense, it serves your best interests to get legal representation from a Portsmouth traffic defense attorney. Penalties for these traffic offenses vary. Some offenses are considered so dangerous to the community that they could include long periods of prison time. Whatever the offense you are facing, having skilled legal representation on your side can increase the possibility of a good outcome and a brighter future for you. Many people don't realize that these convictions can have serious repercussions in the future, such as increased car insurance, steep fines and jail time. Second or subsequent offenses carry heavier penalties, which can place you in even more serious legal trouble.

Traffic Defense Lawyer in Southampton County and Isle of Wight County

The individuals in Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Franklin, Isle of Wight and Southampton County who are facing traffic violations know that they can turn to the attorneys at Richardson and Rosenberg for individualized legal representation when they want to protect themselves in court. The attorney assisting you has long years of success in fighting your conviction or in negotiating the charges down. In many cases, with the proper and complete defense investigation, the charges will be totally dismissed.

As each case is unique, it is vital that your case is immediately reviewed and evaluated by an attorney from Richardson and Rosenberg. With a complete review of the evidence against you as well as police procedure in the arrest, it is possible that court challenges could bring about suppression of certain evidence. As each case and the circumstances surrounding it are completely distinct, it is necessary to meet with you and discuss what can be done. Don't wait too long, as your future is at stake and your ability to drive may even be in jeopardy.

Contact a Suffolk & Portsmouth Traffic Defense Attorney from the Law Offices of Richardson and Rosenberg, LLC when you seek high quality defense in your traffic violation case.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs

Q: I have been charged with Driving under the Influence of Alcohol and / or Drugs? Are there any defenses?

These offenses are probably the most technical and complicated crimes in the Code of Virginia. Every case is different. Common issues which may be raised in defense of these cases include:

  • Identity of Driver;
  • Lack of Probable Cause to stop vehicle;
  • Failure to Prove Defendant “operated” the vehicle;
  • Lack of Probable Cause for Arrest;
  • Failure to perform breath and or blood tests according to law;
  • Incomplete chain of custody;
  • Defect in breath test equipment;
  • Field Sobriety Test incorrectly administered;
  • Errors in Arrest Warrant, Indictment and/or Records of Prior Convictions;
  • Preexisting Health Problems of Defendant

You must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Q: What are the possible penalties if a person 21 years old or over is found or pleads guilty?


  • First Offense: (12) months jail, $2,500 fine, license suspended (12) months, complete ASAP program. No mandatory jail sentence.
    • If blood or breath test between “.15” and “.19”; Mandatory (5) days jail.

    • If blood or breath test more than “.20,” Mandatory (10) days jail.

  • Second Offense: (12) months jail, $2,500 fine, license suspended (3) years, complete ASAP program.
    • If within (5) years of First Offense; Mandatory (20) days jail:
      • If blood or breath test between “.15” and “.19”; additional Mandatory 10 days in jail
      • If blood or breath test “.20” or over, additional Mandatory 20 days in jail
    • If within (10) years of First Offense; Mandatory (10) days in jail:
      • Elevated blood/breath test results - same mandatory sentence as within (5) years.
  • Third Offense: (5) years in Prison (Felony)
    • If within (5) years, Mandatory (6) months jail, $1,000 fine
    • If within (10) years, Mandatory 90 days jail, $1,000 fine
    • Operator’s License Revoked
  • Fourth Offense: within (10) years (Felony)
    • Mandatory 1 year prison sentence, $1,000 fine.

Q: If convicted, can I get a Restricted License?

A: For First Offenses: the Judge can grant one for certain specific reasons. You must have a valid license to get a Restricted License. If your blood or breath test was less than .15, you may be able to, in lieu of a Restricted License, be required to drive with an Ignition Interlock for 12 months. You will have to get an "Ignition Interlock Device" installed on a vehicle for at least 6 months, either to obtain a Restricted License or for reinstatement of your operating privilege after suspension. DMV will also require you to obtain auto liability insurance in the amount of $5,000.00 per person/$100,000.00 total coverage, which is twice the legal minimum for drivers not convicted of DUI ($25,000.00 per person/$50,000.00 total coverage). If a Second Offense is within (10) years of the First Offense, a Judge can grant a Restricted License after (4) months, with an "Ignition Interlock Device" required. If it is within (5) years of the First Offense, a Judge can grant a Restricted License after (1) year with an "Ignition Interlock Device" required.

Q: Can I get a restricted Commercial Driver’s License?

A: No. There are no provisions which allow issuance of a Restricted CDL.

Q: Do I have a right to choose blood or breath test?

A: No. The Code formerly to allow persons to select the test. Blood tests are usually done in “DUID” cases, cases involving an injured person, or a situation where a breath test machine or licensed operator is not available.

Q: What can happen if I refuse to take a blood or breath test after I am arrested?

A: You can be charged with Unreasonable Refusal to Take a Chemical Test. If you are found guilty of Unreasonable Refusal (First Offense), your Operator’s License must be suspended for (12) months and a Restricted License cannot be issued during that time. Additional convictions for Unreasonable Refusal and/or Unreasonable Refusal Prior Convictions of DUI or DUID could result in a jail sentence and must result in a (3) year suspension of one’s Operator’s License with no Restricted License.

Q: Are the penalties stricter for persons under 21?

Yes. A blood alcohol concentration of “.02” is enough for a conviction. Juvenile Court convictions can be the basis for enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses.

Commercial Drivers License

Q: If my driver's license is suspended, can I receive a restricted CDL?

A: No. There are no provisions for a restricted CDL. If you turn in your CDL and obtain a regular Driver's License, the Courts may grant a restricted REGULAR license.

Q: I have a CDL, but received a ticket while driving a non-commercial vehicle. Will that affect my DOT status?

A: The attorneys in this firm keep current with new laws and regulations. As a general rule, Yes.

Q: Will the Judge allow me to go to Driver Improvement School and reduce / dismiss the charge so my livelihood is not taken away from me?

A: The U.S. DOT has changed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations (FMCSA) regulations and audit requirements regarding the Virginia CDL Program. Court may not allow a CDL holder to complete a Driver Improvement Course in lieu of conviction, even if the offense occurred in the driver's non commercial vehicle.

Q: But a Judge let me complete a Driver Improvement Course and dismissed my last ticket when I completed it and paid court costs. What is going on?

A: Virginia Code Section 46.2 - 505 (B) prohibits this practice. Many Judges, who may not have been familiar with the Code Section, were allowing CDL holders to do this.

As a result of some highly publicized bus accidents in the Richmond area, this topic was addressed during Judicial Training Sessions.

North Carolina Driver Information

We are experienced in representing drivers licensed in North Carolina. The Cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk, and Southampton County border on North Carolina and many residents of that state also travel in or through Isle of Wight County and the Cities of Portsmouth and Franklin. North Carolina’s driving regulations can be much stricter than Virginia or many other states.

Your driving privileges will be revoked for at least 30 days if you are convicted of:

  • Driving any vehicle more than 15 mph over the speed limit, if you are driving at a speed higher than 55 mph.

Your driving privileges will be taken for 60 days if you are convicted of:

  • A second charge of speeding over 55 mph and more than 15 mph above the speed limit within one year.
  • Speeding plus reckless driving on the same occasion.

The DMV can also suspend your license for the following:

  • Two convictions of speeding over 55 mph within a 12 month period.
  • One conviction of speeding over 55 mph and one conviction of reckless driving within a 12 month period.
  • A conviction of willful racing with another motor vehicle, whether it is prearranged or spontaneous.
  • A suspended court sentence or part of a sentence mandating that you must not operate a motor vehicle for a specified period of time.
  • A conviction for speeding over 75 mph

Driving with Suspended/ Revoked License

  • This is a class 1 misdemeanor (maximum sentence 12 months jail and $2,500.00 fine) The Commonwealth must prove that the person charged operated a motor vehicle after receiving notice their license was suspended.
  • The third conviction in a ten-year period requires a ten day mandatory minimum sentence in jail if convicted and the technical requirements for the prior convictions are satisfied.
  • Court will not usually continue cases so persons may satisfy DMV’s requirements for reissuance of a defendant’s license.

Questions and Answers about Traffic Law

Q: What are the types of Traffic Court charges?


  • Felonies - Punishable by potential prison sentence.
    • Examples: Driving while Under Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs (3rd or Subsequent Offense); Leaving the Scene of an Accident where Person(s) are Injured; Eluding Police while Endangering Persons; Operating Vehicle while Habitual Offender ( 2nd or subsequent Offense/ Endangering others).
  • Misdemeanors - Punishable by potential jail sentence.
    • Examples - Driving while Under Influence of Alcohol and or Drugs (1st or 2nd Offense) ; Operating Vehicle while License Suspended or Revoked; Operating Vehicle without Valid License; Violation of Restricted License; Reckless Driving, Racing, Refusal (2nd or Subsequent offenses. Speeding 20 or more miles above the limit or above 80 miles per hour is considered Reckless Driving.
  • Infractions - Punishable by fine.
    • Examples: Speeding Less than 20 mph over limit; Fail to Yield, Disobey Sign or Signal, No Insurance.

Q: Ignition Interlock System Requirements?

A: Beginning July 1, 2012, installation of an Ignition Interlock System is required for anyone convicted of violating Virginia Code Section 18.2-266 (Driving Under the Influence) only.

Previously, this equipment was mandated for convictions of second or subsequent violations of Section 18.2-266 and/or convictions of operating motor vehicles with a blood alcohol level of ".15" or higher. The approximate monthly cost for each Ignition Interlock System is $70.00 to $90.00 plus installation fees.

Q. If I am convicted and the Judge suspends my license, can the Court issue a restricted license?

A: If you are otherwise eligible, and the Judge agrees, yes. This is subject to conditions and time limits. NOTE: CDL (Commercial Driver's License) holders - There is no way for a restricted CDL to be issued, period.

Q: How many "points "will DMV assess?

A: This information is available on their website, and is subject to change. The Judge and Court have no control over point assessment.

Q. Should I go to Driver Improvement School?

A: Do not do so until speaking with an Attorney. The policies of the area courts and Judges are very different. As a general rule, do not go to "Internet Driving School". DMV will accept "Internet Driving School", some Judges will not.

Q: Are there any differences in traffic law for persons under 21 or 18?

A: The Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drug penalties are stricter. Drivers under age 18 at the time of the offense have their cases heard in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. There are special programs for Driver Improvement for juveniles, and DMV may require this program to be completed even if the Judge does not.

Q: Can the Commonwealth keep my vehicle if I am charged with "Racing" ?

A: YES. They can, they have , they will. Don't do it. Judges hate Racing. If you are convicted of Racing, the minimum license suspension is six months, with no restricted license allowed.

Restricted License for Out of State Convictions

If a Virginia licensed driver has received a suspension of their privilege to operate a motor vehicle as a result of an out-of-state conviction, the Virginia General District Court where they reside can issue a restricted Virginia license.

Contact or call us today for the help you need - (757) 397-1000

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  • Over 75 Years of Combined Experience
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