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Do I Have to Go to Traffic Court?

A Traffic Attorney May Appear in Court for Your Traffic Ticket

If you received a traffic ticket that is prepayable, you can avoid appearing in court if you:

  • Prepay the ticket, or
  • Hire an attorney to appear on your behalf.

If you do not appear in court on a prepayable traffic ticket, you will be tried in your absence and if found guilty, you will have to pay an additional $25 in court costs.

Get a Motion to Waive Your Appearance in Virginia Traffic Court

If you receive a traffic ticket or a criminal charge that is NOT pre-payable, you must appear in court UNLESS:

  • The summons you were issued came with instructions regarding how you can avoid coming to court (Click here for more information), AND
  • A traffic court judge grants a "motion to waive your appearance" and you hire an attorney to appear on your behalf.

If you would like a judge to waive your appearance, contact a local traffic attorney. For some criminal offenses (including some forms of reckless driving), your lawyer can appear in court on your behalf if he makes a motion to waive your appearance.

Trials in Your Absence (Abstentia) and Bench Warrants (Capias)

If you do not show up to traffic court without being excused from doing so, there are two possible consequences:

  • You may be tried in absentia (tried in your absence), OR
  • The judge may issue a bench warrant (also known as a capias) for your arrest and charge you with the additional crime of "failure to appear".

To find out whether you could be in danger of getting a capias or bench warrant, contact a local traffic attorney. If you have been issued a bench warrant, consult a local traffic attorney immediately.