How Can I Tell If My Charge is Criminal or Traffic?

The answer is simple; but, since you're probably asking because either you or someone you care about has a charge, the best way to explain is to walk you through two (2) easy to follow-steps:

  1. Call the relevant City/County Clerk's Office (most likely the Clerk of the General District Court) to get your actual case number; or, if you're computer savvy, navigate your way to the correct Court via the following link
  2. Once you have the case number from the Clerk or the Courts website, look at the first two letters of your case number.
    • If it starts with "GC" [e.g. GC160000-00] then it's a criminal charge and, candidly, you should probably have a lawyer with you.
    • If it starts with "GT" [e.g. GT160000-00] then it's a traffic charge and, as to the need for a lawyer, see below for further comments. 

In regards to traffic charges, be aware that DUI, Reckless Driving, Failure to Maintain Control and/or Improper Brakes are all considered "traffic charges" but none of them are pre-payable and they are all Class 1 Misdemeanors which require your attendance in-Court (unless you get a waiver of appearance - which we can often negotiate for most non- DUI clients). Notably, however, these "traffic charges" can- and often do - carry high fines and/or jail time! In sum, most "traffic charges" in Virginia are serious enough to at least, consult a lawyer...just make sure you talk with someone who'll give you the straight scoop!

So, call us first! We are good at what we do; but, don't take our word for it. Instead, see for yourself...check out client testimonials on our website and read client reviews posted with the Better Business Bureau

Finally, one last helpful tidbit, your official case number is NOT the same number which was printed on the warrant or summons that you received from the police officer. 

M. Tyson Daniel
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