If I Prepay a Ticket, Can I Later Challenge Errors on The Ticket?


In Virginia you have lots of options about how to handle a traffic infraction such as speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign. Prepaying is pleading guilty, so when you prepay, basically you have already pled guilty on the case.

Sometimes people prepay a ticket and later realize they may have had a defense to the charge. Are you allowed to still challenge it?
The answer is very simple. Yes. Prepaying does not mean that all options are off the table in your case.

The three options that you have if you have prepaid your ticket are:

1. Ask the court to simply vacate your guilty plea and have a hearing. The court may just do that informally. An attorney may be able to send a letter to the judge and ask him to hold a hearing. Some judges would be willing to do that.

2. File a formal motion to reopen the case. There is a rule in Virginia where you have 60 days after any conviction to ask the judge to reopen the case and rehear the evidence. There would be no reason why you couldn’t do that if you prepaid the ticket.

3. Appeal the case. In Virginia, you have ten days after any conviction to appeal the case for a new hearing. That gives you not only a new hearing, but a brand new trial in a different court. That option is always open to you, even if you plead straight up guilty in court. You can still appeal within ten days.

You have lots of options, even if you’ve prepaid the ticket. The time does tick away though, so if it’s been a few months then it’s probably too late. But if it’s just been a few days, you definitely have options and you should talk with a local experienced traffic attorney ASAP.

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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, and Facebook. 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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