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What you need to know about traffic related offenses

Although the criminal justice system frowns on drivers who break the law while operating their vehicles, most traffic related offenses are not considered serious. In fact, most traffic tickets that are issued are given for what are considered non-dangerous moving violations or mechanical violations. These types of minor traffic related offenses are referred to as "infractions."

There are some traffic violations, however, that are deemed more serious than simply having a broken taillight or running through a stop sign. Depending on the severity of the breach of law for these types of driving offenses, the offense may be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two and defendants who break these types of laws are typically punished by paying a fine or serving time in jail for a sentence of usually less than one year. Some examples of traffic misdemeanors may include everything from driving under the influence to driving a vehicle without insurance. Although misdemeanors are less serious than felony traffic offenses, it is still important to note that you may be taken into custody and required to post a bail bond just as if you had committed a non-traffic related misdemeanor crime.

As you may have guessed, traffic felonies are considered serious crimes and those who are convicted could be punished by serving a lengthy prison sentence of more than one year. Vehicular homicide, repeatedly having DUI convictions and even certain "hit and run" offenses are all examples of traffic felonies.

Defendants who have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony traffic offense may find it beneficial to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Misdemeanor & Felony Traffic Offenses" Dec. 20, 2014

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