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On July 1, 2013 several new laws went into effect for drivers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The most important change involves the implementation of tougher penalties for texting while driving.

Texting While Driving

On July 1, “texting while driving” has been changed from a secondary offense to a primary offense. This means that a driver can be cited for texting without being charged with another violation.

If convicted…

On July 1, 2013 several new laws went into effect for drivers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The most important change involves the implementation of tougher penalties for texting while driving.

Texting While Driving

On July 1, “texting while driving” has been changed from a secondary offense to a primary offense. This means that a driver can be cited for texting without being charged with another violation.

If convicted, the fine is now $125 compared to the previous fine of $20 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses will now include a $250 fine up from $50. In addition, if a person in convicted for reckless driving, it will include a mandatory $250 fine if the person was texting while driving recklessly.

The new law does not include any other changes regarding hand-held devices in Virginia for which there are no other restrictions.

DUI/DWI

Also beginning July 1, any Driving Under the Influence conviction will be classified as a class 6 felony if the driver already has a current conviction for any of the following violations:

  1. Involuntary manslaughter
  2. DUI/DWI while leaving the victim with a permanent injury
  3. DWI/DUI felony offense

The new DUI felony change will carry a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and one year in jail.

Provisional Driver’s Licenses

Provisional driver’s licenses are issued to people under 18 years of age. Until July 1, these drivers were restricting from driving between midnight and 4am, except for those returning home from a school sponsored event or their place of employment.

Now, the law has been amend to include an activity sponsored by a civic, religious or public organization where there has been adult supervision.

This charge will continue to be a secondary offense, which means the driver has to be charged with another violation.

Mopeds/Scooters

Effective July 1, individuals who operate a moped or scooter are now required to carry a government-issued ID card. Further, both the driver and passenger must wear a helmet at all times and use a face shield or goggles unless the vehicle is equipped with a windshield.

Beginning on July 1, of next year all mopeds will be required to be titled and registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles. They will be issued licenses and the driver must complete a Moped Certification form indicating how you intend to operate the vehicle.

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