“Following Too Closely” Tickets in Virginia

following to close ticketUnder Virginia law, a driver can be cited for following too closely if their vehicle follows another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent.

Determining whether a car was following too closely must also factor in the speed of both vehicles, the traffic surrounding the vehicles, weather and road conditions, and the time of day.

Given the variety of factors and discretion of the police in determining whether a car was following too closely, citing a driver for this crime is incredibly subjective. At Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, I have helped many clients fight their following too closely ticket, and may be able to help with your case, too.

Penalties for Following Too Closely

For Virginia drivers, the penalties for a conviction of following too closely include a four-point demerit on your driver’s license.

If a driver age eighteen years or older accumulates eight points in twelve months, the state sends a warning letter about breaking the law. If a driver accumulates twelve points in twelve months, the driver must complete a driving improvement course within ninety days.

Acquiring eighteen points in twelve months ultimately results in the suspension of a Virginia driver’s license. In addition, a conviction for this traffic violation stays on your driving record for three years.

It is considered a “Serious Violation” for the purposes of a commercial driver’s license disqualification. This is important because two serious violations in a three year period result in an automatic sixty-day license disqualification for your CDL.

For non-commercial drivers, penalties also include a pre-pay fine of $30, which is also an admission of guilt. If you choose to take the case to court, the maximum fine allowed is $250, or $500 if the citation occurred in a Highway Safety Corridor. The judge will also take into account the level of negligence or recklessness of the behavior behind the wheel.

Penalties also include the payment of court costs on top of the fine. For out-of-state drivers, the penalties will include a fine that mirrors the penalties for following too closely in your home state.

In addition to court costs and fines, another penalty that comes with a conviction for following too closely involves your auto insurance. Admitting guilt through pre-paying the ticket or a conviction in court can potentially skyrocket your auto insurance rates or result in an insurer dropping you from your policy.

It is important to consider all possible penalties when deciding what legal option is best for you if you have been cited for following too closely in your vehicle.

Defenses to Following Too Closely

The majority of citations for following too closely happen after a traffic accident. Despite not witnessing the accident, police sometimes assume that one driver was following too closely to the other simply because the accident occurred.

They may look at the scene to try and gather evidence that proves the charge, but without direct evidence, the violation is difficult to prove. In order to prove the charge of following too closely in court, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was following too closely.

Without eyewitness testimony in court or a video of the accident taking place, the evidence of this crime often amounts to nothing more than conjecture and hearsay.

My job as your lawyer in a case like this is to argue that there is reasonable doubt and that the judge should dismiss the case.

It is important that if you wish to fight the charge of following too closely in court, you do not pre-pay the ticket.

Pre-payment is considered an admission of guilt, and the purpose behind the option is to streamline the court system so that people admitting guilt to minor infractions do not have to show up to court.

However, in pre-paying a ticket for following too closely, you are not just admitting guilt, but also providing critical evidence to any other parties involved in an accident that want to file a civil lawsuit for damages. Admitting guilt can be used against you in a civil case.

Hiring a lawyer to argue your case in court gives you the best opportunity to overcome the charge of following too closely and potentially avoid liability in a civil lawsuit.

How a Traffic Attorney Can Help

If you have been cited for following too closely, hiring an experienced traffic law attorney has many benefits for your case. First, a lawyer can explain the process of adjudicating your case and your legal options.

They can represent you in court and speak to the prosecution and judge about your case. A lawyer can argue the best legal case for your situation and potentially get you an acquittal on the charges. If found guilty, a lawyer can negotiate the lowest fine and least amount of penalties possible for the conviction.

Another option after conviction is to appeal the decision to the circuit court to rehear the case or file a Motion to Rehear the case with the traffic court judge. An experienced traffic law attorney understands the intricacies of traffic court, the rules, procedures, and time limits to file motions to ensure that you are getting the best possible representation for your case.

They can also walk you through your options for an appeal, so you can choose which legal action is right for you.

Contact an Experienced Traffic Law Attorney

If you or someone you know has been cited for following too closely in the Fredericksburg area, I may be able to help. Call the office or contact me today to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your traffic case and the best legal options for your situation.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.
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