Are Traffic Violations A Criminal Offense In Florida?
Are you facing a traffic violation? You are certainly not alone. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that between 1.5 million and 2 million traffic tickets are issued statewide each year: You may be wondering: Is a traffic violation a criminal offense in Florida? The answer depends entirely on the specific circumstances—a traffic offense can be classified as either a criminal offense or a civil infraction. Here, our Orlando traffic defense attorney provides a more detailed overview of the key things motorists should know about traffic violations in Florida.
Most Traffic Violations are Civil Infractions in Florida
In Florida, most traffic violations are not criminal offenses. Instead, most traffic issues are classified as civil infractions. Some notable examples include things like speeding, other moving violations (running red lights, etc), and parking violations. Being cited for a civil traffic infraction does not result in a criminal record. That being said, it can still have serious consequences, such as fines, driving record points, and increased insurance rates. Further, civil traffic infractions could, eventually result in a suspended driving license.
Some Traffic Violations are Criminal Offenses (An Overview)
Although most traffic violations in Florida are civil infractions, there are some that are classified as criminal offenses. A criminal charge for a traffic violation is a serious matter—it could be either a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. Here are some of the most notable criminal traffic charges:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Florida. Penalties for a DUI conviction can include fines, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, installation of an ignition interlock device, mandatory substance abuse education, and imprisonment. Arrested for a DUI? Contact an Orlando defense lawyer.
- Reckless Driving: Reckless driving is operating a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for safety. Penalties can include significant fines, imprisonment, and points on your driving record. In Florida, reckless driving is a criminal traffic violation/
- Driving With a Suspended License: Individuals caught driving with a suspended or revoked license can face jail time, fines, and further license suspension. Notably, a history of civil traffic violations could end up leading to a suspended license. A suspended license violation could then result in a criminal charge.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident: Fleeing the scene of an accident, especially when there is property damage, injury, or death, can result in felony charges, substantial fines, and imprisonment. If you or your loved one was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, consult with an Orlando, FL traffic violation defense attorney right away.
Contact Our Orlando, FL Traffic Violation Defense Lawyer Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando traffic violation defense attorney is standing by, ready to help you find the best solution. Contact us today to set up your confidential initial consultation. From our main office in Orlando, we help people navigate civil and criminal traffic offenses throughout Central Florida, including in Apopka, Sanford, Winter Garden, and Winter Park.