Misdemeanor vs. Felony Traffic Violations

Not all traffic violations are created equal, and the type of violation you face can have different consequences for your record, insurance, and drivers license. Today we’ll explain the differences and help you understand your options for each. 

Misdemeanor Traffic Violations

The usual and more common traffic violations are called “infractions” and would include speeding, improper stop at a stop sign, failure to signal, and even minor collisions. These are not classified as misdemeanor offenses, and as such are usually more minor in consequence (points on your license, fines). The following will often bump your violation into the class of misdemeanor: 

  • Someone is injured by the traffic violation
  • Property is damaged by the traffic violation, such as another’s car or mailbox
  • Driving without a license or insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Disorderly conduct 

Misdemeanor traffic violations will go on your criminal record and can include court and legal fees. 

Felony Traffic Violations

If you’re guilty of committing a more serious traffic offense, you may be charged with a felony traffic violation. While these charges can depend on the severity of the incident and the local traffic laws, a felony traffic violation is usually associated with a DUI but can also include: 

  • Hit-and-run
  • Vehicular homicide or manslaughter
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
  • Racing
  • Fleeing law enforcement
  • Repeated offenses of driving without license or insurance

Felony traffic violations incur much more serious consequences, such as permanent felony marking on your record, a breathalyzer for DUIs, suspension or revocation of a drivers license, criminal court proceedings, and legal fees. 

If you’re facing a traffic violation, whether misdemeanor or felony charges, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation to protect your rights and minimize any consequences. We’re practiced and ready to help you.

What Happens When I Get a Ticket?

No one likes that sinking feeling when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You pull over and try to wait patiently as the police officer runs your information and writes you a ticket. There are so many negative consequences to being pulled over, but drivers often forget about the far-reaching effects of a potential moving violation. 

Consequences of a Ticket

  1. Late. Getting pulled over stops you on your journey and usually upsets the flow of your day. We can’t do much about the initial consequence of making you late and ruining your day, but it is important to note this unpleasant effect. 
  2. Additional Infractions. Unfortunately many who are pulled over discover additional infractions related to insurance, registration, and outstanding warrants when their personal and vehicle information is run. What starts as a pricey speeding ticket can turn into an expensive surprise. 
  3. Ticket Expense. Speeding tickets usually range in the hundreds of dollars, depending on how fast you were going, the speed limit in the area, and other factors such as construction and school zones. It’s pricey and usually must be paid within a time frame of 60 or 90 days. Sometimes tickets need to be paid in person, taking time as well as money. 
  4. Record Points. For each violation your license will accrue “points.” If a significant number of points are collected you can have your license suspended. It’s important to monitor these points and when they’ll fall off your record. 
  5. Insurance Spikes. Tickets, even small ones, can cause your insurance rates to rise. This is especially true if you’re in a high-risk group or already have tickets and accidents on your record. 

As you can see, the cost of a ticket is far greater than the listed dollar amount. The implications can be more serious than you expected. That’s why Mr. Ticket is here to help you avoid most of these negative consequences.

What are my rights during a traffic stop?

Traffic stops are incredibly common throughout the nation, but far too many drivers fail to understand their basic rights. Police are supposed to protect the rights of all citizens regardless of the traffic infraction, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. It’s important that every individual understands their rights when driving a car so that they can keep themselves and others safe. 

 

Silence – the fifth amendment guarantees this right to everyone, including drivers who have been pulled over. Regardless of the reason for the traffic stop you have the right to remain silent. The right to remain silent isn’t just for the driver—it’s also for the passengers. 

 

Lawyer – if you are arrested or it appears that the situation is growing more tense, you are within your rights to call a lawyer to represent you. We recommend calling us right away for assistance and protection. 

 

Searches – without a warrant, police can search your car if you give consent, if they’re able to see something in “plain view,” if you’ve been arrested, or if they have probable cause (such as seeing blood or weapons). Without something in obvious view or clear and reported probable cause, you do not have to allow a search of your car. 

 

Recording – recording videos of police officers has been a hot topic recently, and it’s important to cover. You are within your rights to record any traffic stop. You should comply with reasonable requests, such as showing your hands, and you cannot interfere or obstruct their actions. They cannot demand to see any photos or videos. 

Drive safely and make sure you’re always aware of your rights as a driver and passenger. If you run into any trouble, don’t hesitate to use our services to protect your rights and future.