One in every 5 American adults has received traffic tickets as a result of a moving violation in the last 5 years.
Whether you get pulled over for speeding, running a stop sign, or for something more serious. Like a DUI, getting a ticket can be scary, confusing, and very expensive. Depending on the severity of your violation, it could also have severe consequences, like jail time and hefty fines. Or even cause you to lose your job.
But before you ever find out what consequences you’re going to face, you’ll likely have some questions about the ticket itself. One big one many drivers have is whether you’ll be facing criminal charges.
Is a traffic violation a crime? Keep reading to find out.
Is a Traffic Violation a Crime?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t straightforward. That’s because there are many different types of traffic violations. Some are more serious than others.
Instead, the answer is that some traffic violations are considered crimes, while others are not.
Types of Traffic Violations that are Not Considered Crimes
Many of the most common traffic violations are not considered crimes. This means that if you are pulled over and ticketed by a police officer for one of these violations, you’ll go to traffic court.
Some examples of minor, non-criminal traffic violations include:
- Running a red light
- Texting and driving
- Changing lanes in a way that is not safe
- Runnin a stop sign
If you receive a ticket for one of the above violations, you’ll go to traffic court. There, your violation will be classified as either an infraction or a civil offense.
In most cases, you’ll face a fine. You’ll pay your fine, and receive points on your license.
However, in some states, including Florida, you also have the option of attending traffic school after receiving a ticket for a minor traffic violation. By agreeing to, and then attending, traffic school, you may be able to lower your fine. Or even avoid getting points on your license. Some traffic school courses can even be attended online, so you won’t need to miss work or school in order to attend.
If you feel that you received a ticket for something you were not guilty of, you also have the option of fighting back. With the help of an attorney, you can fight the ticket and prove your innocence. This means no paying fees or receiving points on your license, without having to attend traffic school.
Types of Traffic Violations That are Considered Crimes
While minor traffic violations are typically classified as civil offenses or infractions, more serious violations can be considered crimes. This means that they’ll carry criminal charges as well.
Some examples of serious traffic violations that are considered crimes include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, also known as DUI
- Reckless driving that endangers other drivers or your passengers
- Leaving the scene of an accident, also known as a hit and run
- Vehicular homicide
- Driving while your license is suspended or after it has been revoked
- Attempting to run from law enforcement following a traffic violation
- Driving without a license
- Racing on a highway
- Driving with an expired vehicle registration
- Using a tag that is not assigned to that vehicle
When a traffic violation is considered a crime, it will often be categorized as a misdemeanor. However, depending on the circumstances, it could also be classified as a felony.
In most cases, the violation will be elevated to a felony if the person responsible is a repeat offender or if the crime led to serious property damage, injuries, or death. You could also receive a felony charge if you are pulled over and found in possession of or attempting to sell or distribute drugs.
Many criminal traffic violations will result in immediate arrest. You may need to post bail in order to get released and then appear in court to learn what charges you face.
Depending on the severity of the crime, you may face fines or jail time, lose your license, and more.
What Should You Do After Receiving a Traffic Ticket?
Whether you’re caught speeding or arrested for a DUI, facing the consequences can be stressful. You might find yourself wondering what your options are. Or if you feel that you were unfairly accused, you may wonder what your options are.
That’s where an attorney can help.
No matter the severity of your traffic violation, a lawyer specializing in traffic law can help you navigate your options and guide you through the legal process. He or she will not only help you understand the charges that you could face but will also represent you in court so that you won’t have to appear.
If you decide to dispute your ticket, whether you actually think that you’re guilty or not, they’ll help you do just that. In fact, your attorney may advise attempting to dispute your ticket, as this is your only chance of getting it dismissed.
Finding a Traffic Law Attorney
Now that you know the answer to the question, “Is a traffic violation a crime,” as well as a little about the difference between different traffic violations, it’s time to take care of your own ticket.
Whether you were arrested for a serious offense like a DUI or received a ticket for speeding or running a stop sign, having an attorney on your side can make all of the difference. Besides fighting for you in court, your attorney can also ensure that you understand all of your options when it comes to fighting charges, lowering fines, or avoiding accumulating points on your license.
If you’ve received a ticket or been arrested for a traffic violation, we can help. Contact us today for a free case review or video consultation.
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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.