West Virginia Traffic Violations
In West Virginia, the courts oversee all traffic violations. However, which court depends on how you were issued your traffic citation. If you committed a traffic violation on a local or city street, a West Virginia city court has authority over your ticket. If you are pulled over on the highway or by a West Virginia state police officer, you will have to handle the ticket with a magistrate court. Thankfully, your traffic violation citation will contain the information you need to make sure you are handling the citation with the proper authorities.
Your citation will also tell you where you can mail payment or pay in person. As well, your citation should include a date for you to appear in court, should you not want to pay the ticket right away. By appearing in court, you can request a trial date to dispute the case in front of a judge, or you can plead guilty right away on the date included on your ticket. If you appear in court and plead guilty, you may be able to ask the court to reduce or dismiss your traffic violation entirely in exchange for your enrollment in a driver improvement program or traffic school, including a West Virginia online traffic school or online driver improvement program. The West Virginia judge you appear in front of will have total discretion over such a decision, but will likely consider your previous West Virginia driving record, as well as the particulars of the traffic violation that brought you before the court in the first place.
West Virginia Points System
You should try to avoid having to consider these options too often, as West Virginia uses a points system to track West Virginia driving habits and help keep unsafe West Virginia drivers off the road. These points will appear on your West Virginia driving record if you are convicted or plead guilty (paying is technically pleading guilty) of a traffic offense in West Virginia or any other state. The following is a list of some of the points that will appear on your West Virginia driving record for their accompanying offenses
- Improper Turns, Starting or Stopping: 2 points
- Impeding Traffic: 2 points
- Tailgating: 2 points
- Failure to Signal Properly: 2 points
- Speeding by more than 5 mph: 2 points
- Failure to Display Valid License: 2 points
- Speeding by more than 10 mph: 3 points
- Wrong Way on a 1-Way Street: 3 points
- Failure to Yield: 3 points
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signals: 3 points
- Failure to obey stop sign: 3 points
- Littering: 3 points
- Speeding by more than 15 mph: 5 points
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident: 6 points
- Passing a Stopped School Bus: 6 points
- Speeding in a School Zone: 6 points
- Reckless Driving: 6 points
- Fleeing an Officer: 8 points
These points, once accumulated, will stay on your West Virginia driving record for two years, and the underlying traffic violation will be on your West Virginia driving record for seven years. In addition to these misfortunes, your accumulation of points may result in a suspension of your West Virginia driving privileges altogether.
Suspension of Your West Virginia Driving Privileges
Once you amass five points against your driving record in a two year period, the West Virginia DMV will notify you by mail that your West Virginia driving privileges could be suspended if you fail to curb your unsafe driving practices. Afterward, depending on how many points you incur on your West Virginia driving record at any one time, your West Virginia driving privileges can be suspended for the following amount of time:
- 12-13 Points: 30 Days
- 14-15 Points: 45 Days
- 16-17 Points: 60 Days
- 18-19 Points: 90 Days
- 20 Points: Suspension until total driving record points are less than 11
Further, your West Virginia driving privileges can be suspended immediately for any one of the following infractions, even if you commit them just once:
- Falsifying information to West Virginia courts or the West Virginia DMV
- Falsifying information to a West Virginia auto insurance provider
- Failure to obtain adequate auto insurance
- Fraudulently portraying another's license as your own
- Lending your license to another
- Physically altering your West Virginia driving license
Certain traffic violations can also result in indefinite revocation of your West Virginia driving privileges, meaning that, barring reinstatement by the West Virginia DMV, you may never be able to drive in West Virginia again:
- Driving on a suspended license
- DUI conviction
- 2 traffic violations for a minor ("graduated licensee")
- 3 reckless driving conviction in two years
- Drag racing
- Fleeing an Accident that resulted in another's injury
- Negligent homicide
If your license has been suspended or revoked for any reason, it is imperative that you refrain from driving under any and all circumstances until you have paid your debt and accomplished all that is required of you by the West Virginia court handling your suspension or the West Virginia DMV. Driving on a suspended or revoked West Virginia license results in an additional year suspension without opportunity for an appeal. Driving while your West Virginia driving privileges have been suspended due to a DUI conviction will land you in jail for a minimum of six months, and further suspension of your West Virginia driving privileges.
Attending Traffic School in West Virginia
If you receive a warning in the mail from the West Virginia DMV, you should seriously consider enrolling in a West Virginia driver improvement program, including West Virginia online traffic school or online defensive driving courses. By enrolling in a West Virginia traditional or online traffic school or driver improvement program, you can remove up to three points from your West Virginia driving record once every two years.
While the West Virginia DMV has only specifically authorized a few traditional traffic schools to satisfy the requirements needed to reduce points on your West Virginia driving record, West Virginia courts may allow you to enroll in a West Virginia online traffic school to satisfy these requirements. In addition, the court may also consider reducing or dismissing the violation from your traffic record altogether. It is important that you speak with the local West Virginia court handling your traffic violation about this, as the matter will be left up solely to the court's discretion.
Also, timing is of the essence. West Virginia will not allow you to enroll in a West Virginia online traffic school or online driver improvement program once you have reached twelve points on your West Virginia driving record, or if you have eleven points on your West Virginia driving record and a pending violation percolating through the system. This includes points that become pending as the result of a traffic violation after you have already appeared before a West Virginia court and agreed to enroll in a West Virginia online traffic school program, but have not yet successfully completed it. So, if you want to participate in a West Virginia online traffic school or defensive driving safety course to improve your West Virginia driving record and possibly have points and their underlying traffic violations removed from your record, you should enroll long before you are dangerously close to West Virginia's 12-point threshold.
The Benefits of a Clean West Virginia Driving Record
A clear West Virginia driving record is important for many reasons. A clear West Virginia driving record usually means you also aren't paying the hefty fines that accompany a traffic citation. Your clean West Virginia driving record also helps you avoid losing your West Virginia driving privileges due to repeat traffic offenses.
West Virginia online traffic schools and West Virginia online driver improvement programs are designed to improve your defensive driving skills and teach you safe driving habits so you can help keep yourself and other West Virginia drivers safe, steer clear of traffic violations in the future and keep your West Virginia driving record looking pristine.
Further, you can significantly help lower you auto insurance payments by making sure your West Virginia driving record is as free of traffic violations as possible. Your participation in a West Virginia online driver improvement program can help you do this. The better your West Virginia driving record looks to insurance providers, including participation in a West Virginia online traffic school. the less likely you are to see a jump in your insurance premiums. This alone can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars annually, particularly if your enrollment prevents the attachment of a more serious traffic violation to your West Virginia driving record.
West Virginia Mature Driver Insurance Discounts
Many West Virginia insurance providers also support safe driving for Mature Driver, drivers 50 and older, by offering driver improvement courses and allowing mature drivers to enroll in a West Virginia online traffic school. Such safe driving programs can result in significant discounts to your insurance premiums, helping you save money while you improve your driving abilities. You should contact your auto insurance provider to see what types of discounts may be available to you as a West Virginia Mature Driver.
West Virginia Juvenile Driver Insurance Discounts
Similarly, West Virginia Juvenile Drivers, those drivers between 16 and 18, also may be able to see reductions in their auto insurance premiums by enrolling in a West Virginia online traffic school or online defensive driving course. Young drivers are common targets for insurance companies to charge very high rates, often due to the common careless mistakes and unsafe driving habits that come along with being an inexperienced driver. If you have a juvenile driver in your home, or are a West Virginia juvenile driver, you should reach out to your local auto insurance providers and see if a West Virginia online traffic school can help improve your West Virginia driving record and, in turn, lower your auto insurance rates.
West Virginia Classroom Traffic Schools
If you would like to take traffic school, a defensive driving course, or a driver improvement program in a standard classroom setting, the West Virginia DMV suggests the following brick-and-mortar traffic school classes for you to consider enrolling in:
- West Virginia Driver Training
- Able Driving School
- Bluefield AAA
For more information on these schools, you may contact them directly, or reach out to your local West Virginia DMV office or a local West Virginia magistrate court, to see how these classes compare with a West Virginia online traffic school or online driver improvement program.