Should I go to driving school before I go to traffic court?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 40,483
    Attorney Steve Duckett discusses whether or not you should go to driving school before you go to traffic court.

    Steve Duckett

    Steven L. Duckett, Jr. was born and raised in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia.  He attended Paul VI High School (1990), University of Richmond (1994) and Valparaiso University School of Law (1997).  Mr. Duckett has spent the entirety of his legal career practicing in criminal and traffic law.  He created the law firm of Steven L. Duckett, Jr., P.C. in April 2001. 

    Host: Should I go to driving school before I go to traffic court?

    Steve Duckett: It depends completely on your jurisdiction. For example, my home jurisdiction, Fairfax County, Virginia, doesn't give you any benefit to going to driving school before or after court. Some jurisdictions will actually hurt you if you go to driving school before you go to court. Some jurisdictions enable a person who is willing to plead guilty to their traffic infraction to actually continue the case for a period of time and in that interim attend traffic school and if you complete traffic school and provide a copy of the completion certificate to the court, then the judge would either dismiss or reduce the charges against you depending on the severity of the original charge. So, you need to know what the local practices are. As a general rule, if you have a good driving record you should go to court without taking the traffic course and the reason for that is a little bit complicated, but essentially in Virginia if you have a good driving record you get positive points for every year that you don't get a traffic infraction or a traffic misdemeanor. The cap on the points is a plus five. If you take a driving school course you get five bonus points credited on to your account, if you can call it an account with DMV. If you are sitting at a plus three and you take a driving school before you go to traffic court, it's going to cap you out at plus five and you are going to lose those other three bonus points that you got for taking the course; instead, go to court let your good record speak for itself and if you do end up sustaining any kind of conviction then you can take the driving course after court and then you will get the full benefit of the points after the points have come off of your driving record before the conviction.