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Traffic offenses and misdemeanor or felony charges

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Criminal defense |

Being in a rush and traveling slightly above speed limit is not uncommon. While this could result in a traffic ticket or a warning, this most likely will not conclude with a charge for a misdemeanor or felony. However, there are serious traffic offenses that could result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, carrying with it significant penalties.

Although traffic citations can be fought with a defense, these are administrative violations that do not carry with it the same impact and penalties as a misdemeanor or felony traffic offense. As such, it is important for motorist charges with a serious traffic offense understand their options for a defense.

Serious traffic offenses

In most cases, a traffic offense will tip the scale towards a misdemeanor or felony charge when the motorist causes injury to a person, caused damage to property or created a real threat of injury to a person or damage to property. When a motorist runs a red light or a stop sign, this is often charged as a misdemeanor. However, if the motorist hit a vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian in the course of this traffic offense, it is likely to become a felony.

There are some traffic offenses that are automatically charged as a misdemeanor or felony, resulting in fines, jail time or both. Those charged as a misdemeanor traffic violation include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, hit-and-run, driving without a valid driver’s license, driving without insurance and reckless driving.

For felony traffic offenses, these are more serious offenses or subsequent conviction of a misdemeanor traffic offense. Examples include repeat DUI or DWI convictions, hit-and-run accidents involving injuries and vehicular homicide.

Defense options

Like other criminal charges, the details of the charge are important when establishing the best defense possible. Thus, it is important to consider a full perspective of the arrest and charge, as this could reveal errors and mistakes made by law enforcement.

In addition to assessing your defense options, it is important to consider how the charge could immediately impact you. Your driving privileges could be compromised, due to a driver’s license suspension or revocation. A conviction could also mean mandatory classes, an increase in auto insurance and even jail time.

The situation can feel overwhelming. But you are not alone in this matter. A legal professional can ensure you understand the charges, what defense options you have and the potential outcomes.