You’re driving down the highway. Flashing lights appear in your rearview mirror. Your heart beats a little faster as you pull over to a safe stop.
Your mind races, recalling the last few minutes of your drive. “Was I speeding?” You think to yourself. Your mind wonders, “Is it a broken tail light? Did I swerve? Why am I being pulled over?”
You’re a little nervous, but you’ve pulled over a few times before. You received some traffic tickets, but nothing serious happened. After all, you’re not a crook. You’re not guilty of criminal traffic violations.
But, is it possible to commit criminal traffic violations unaware? No! That’s preposterous! You’d know if you killed someone with your car or fled the scene of an accident.
That’s true, but those aren’t the only criminal traffic violations. Are you sure you know which moving violations are criminal? Would it help you to learn?
Keep reading. Learn which infractions are criminal. Learn why securing a lawyer for criminal traffic violations is essential.
Criminal Traffic Violations
Criminal traffic violations are not limited to vehicular manslaughter, drunk or reckless driving. There are many less severe offenses considered criminal.
- Driving without a license
- Driving with a suspended license
- Refusing to submit to a breath test
- Fleeing the scene of an accident
- Expired/No car registration
- Using stolen tags
- Unlawful use of an ID card
- Allowing an unlicensed person to drive
If you thought racking up speeding tickets was simply a matter of traffic school and a fine, think again. They will cite you as a habitual traffic offender (HTO), which is a criminal charge. It’s more than a fee and a Saturday in traffic school.
A criminal charge means heftier fines, a suspended license, probation, or jail time. Besides, you now have a criminal record.
Your Criminal Record
If it’s an offense that is victimless, does it matter if it’s on my criminal record? Even something that you think is harmless may affect you down the line.
Applications for jobs or leases on apartments usually inquire about your criminal history. If a criminal charge is on your record, you have to explain yourself.
Imagine you are a hospital administrator. You have two qualified nursing applicants. Equal in every respect except one who has a criminal record. He drove his car into a telephone pole while intoxicated, but no one was hurt.
His criminal record gives you pause to wonder about his reliability? You think: “Will he always be late to work or not show up because he’s too hungover?” “Do I want hungover staff members coming to work?” “Will he drink on the job?”
The other applicant’s criminal background check came back clean. You won’t wonder about her reliability.
Who would you hire? He might be clean and sober for several years. That one blemish raises questions, and you go with the less risky applicant.
It can cost you future opportunities or at least make them more challenging to meet.
Criminal Violations Need Criminal Defense
Civil traffic violations rarely, if ever, need you to go before a judge. The court sends you the ticket with the fine you must pay. You go down to the courthouse and pay the fine. A knock or two to your driving record, an increase of your insurance, and off you go.
Judges deal with criminal violations. It is generally required you make an appearance. You don’t want to make that appearance alone. The judge speaks a language you don’t, called legalese.
You need someone to represent your criminal defense fluent in legalese. You need a traffic lawyer. Your lawyer knows what to do to have your fines lowered or your jail time reduced to probation.
Often for first offenders, the legal defense can argue for reduced consequences. In some instances performing community service keeps a violation off your criminal record.
You’re not at fault if you don’t know you’re committing a crime. An expired driver’s license or expired registration tags are criminal violations. But if you were unaware, you’re not at fault. Most of the time, the court has only the testimony of the police officer as evidence. A good traffic lawyer sorts it out to your benefit.
Criminal traffic violations are usually misdemeanors. It doesn’t diminish the need for legal representation.
Criminal Misdemeanor or Criminal Felony
A victimless misdemeanor can become a criminal felony. If it’s a first-time offense for intoxicated driving, that is a misdemeanor. But, if the drunk driver caused harm or death to somebody, he is charged with a felony.
In vehicular manslaughter cases, defendants face up to fifteen years behind bars and maximum fines of $10,000. Drunk driving is not the only crime of vehicular manslaughter.
Road rage is a crime that involves criminal negligence in an attempt to get even with another driver. Reckless driving is criminal negligence. It displays a disregard for the safety of other people.
Breaking traffic laws that caused someone’s death is also vehicular manslaughter. Turning against a red light or running a stop sign causing death is a felony criminal traffic violation. Even falling asleep at the wheel will slap you with vehicular manslaughter.
The Fool and His Client
Do you think you can represent yourself in a criminal hearing? Have you prepared your brief and opening statements? Did you file your lawsuit on time?
Do you want to be in over your head? No one is well-equipped to be their defense lawyer, not even a lawyer. The old maxim, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client,” applies here. You want your case heard not dismissed.
You don’t know the court system as your lawyer does. Did you get hit with criminal traffic violations, or are you unsure? Check out our team of experts. Let us help you navigate your way through the legal system.
CONTACT TAMPA TRAFFIC TICKET ATTORNEY
RHINO Lawyers can help and guide you through a system molded by law enforcement, judges, and lawyers for decades. Having won cases for our clients in similar circumstances, our criminal defense team knows what it takes to fight on your behalf.
Let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.329.3491.