State laws often differ in the classification, handling, and penalties for driving-related offenses. However, traffic violations are generally classified and punished based on the laws of a particular jurisdiction, the offender’s previous convictions, and whether the violation involves injury, death, or property damage.
The severity of traffic offenses is generally classified as:
When you face any kind of traffic offense and do not believe you are at fault, you should Contact a legal professional to discuss the details. An attorney can conduct a detailed evaluation and let you know the best ways to handle the situation.
Most driving-related offenses are classified as infractions (also known as “civil offenses”). Traffic infractions are the least severe traffic violations and are generally defined as acts or omissions prohibited by law but do not constitute a crime.
Examples of common infractions include:
- Failure to stop at a posted sign
- Driving without using proper turn signals
- Inoperable or inadequate lighting
- Failure to use a seat belt
- Running a red light or failing to yield
Generally speaking, traffic violations are “strict liability” crimes, which means that drivers can be convicted for violations regardless of their intentions.
For example, determining that the driver has exceeded the posted speed limit is sufficient to be issued a citation. It does not matter whether the driver knows he is speeding.
Moving and non-moving violations
In various jurisdictions, traffic violations are further divided into moving and non-moving violations. Moving violations are generally more severe than non-moving violations.
Speeding and running red lights are examples of moving violations. Non-moving violations include parking violations and vehicle expired vehicle registration tags.
Traffic courts prosecute traffic offenses in many jurisdictions. Traffic court proceedings are generally not as formal as criminal courts. Motorists charged with traffic violations often have multiple violations.
Most states allow motorists to avoid court by pleading guilty and paying fines by email or online. However, drivers who do not claim guilt must appear in court for a substitute trial (trial by a judge or magistrate).
Traffic infractions do not result in imprisonment. Possible penalties usually include fines, driver’s education, and points on the driver’s driving record. Accumulating a certain number of points may result in increased insurance premiums and a suspension of your license.
Traffic violations are generally considered criminal if punishable by prison. Violations of criminal traffic laws can be classified as misdemeanors or felony crimes. Examples of criminal traffic offenses include:
- DUI (Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
- Driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license
- Driving recklessly
- Hit and run accidents
Felony or Misdemeanor?
It depends on the jurisdiction if violations of certain traffic laws are classified as misdemeanor crimes or felonies. Regardless of the situation, a traffic violation is a crime, but if there is a particular aggravating factor, the violation may give rise to a more serious criminal offense.
For example, if the driver exceeds the posted speed limit by an excessive amount, some jurisdictions would classify the violation as reckless driving, which could be a misdemeanor.
Similarly, driving-related infractions that would usually be classified as misdemeanors might become felonies in certain circumstances. A minor traffic offense can be elevated to a felony in several states if:
- The driver is a repeat offender
- The crime involves property damage, bodily harm, or death
For example, in many jurisdictions, DUI is usually a misdemeanor violation of contemplative traffic, but it can be charged as a criminal offense depending on the situation and circumstances.
In most cases, criminal penalties imposed on traffic crimes should involve appearing in court personally. In coordination, the judge will advise the defendant of the charges and their constitutional rights.
The protection of these constitutional rights includes the right to have a lawyer’s representation and the right to jury trial. In addition, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant has committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Traffic offenses that give rise to misdemeanor or felony penalties are more serious than infractions. A misdemeanor conviction in most jurisdictions carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. A felony is the most serious criminal offense and typically involves a prison sentence of more than one year.
Do you need an attorney for traffic tickets?
It depends. In some situations, the consequences of a conviction for traffic violations are quite serious. In that case, the driver may consider hiring an Assault Lawyer.
Commercial drivers – Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders drive for a living and are subject to stricter regulations than other drivers. According to these regulations, certain traffic violations may result in your commercial driver’s license suspension. Therefore, the stakes for commercial drivers in traffic courts can be very high. With so many problems, it makes sense to involve lawyers.
A driver who has many fines – Obtaining multiple traffic citations within a short period of time will lead to license suspension. For drivers in this situation, another ticket may be a more serious situation. To increase your chances of winning in traffic court, hire an attorney for you best chance of beating the ticket.
Informed legal advice
One of the problems for many people is lack of legal knowledge and experience. Most people do not know the best course of action in a given situation. Experienced traffic lawyers know the best strategies and options for obtaining good results. Not everything is legal knowledge.
A Traffic Violations Attorney who has extensive experience in traffic court is familiar with the biases of different judges and sometimes even law enforcement officers who issue tickets. Contact an attorney if you are in any of these situations as soon as possible.