The majority of traffic violations are considered misdemeanor traffic offenses — cell phone tickets, parking tickets, and speeding tickets are all great examples of the common traffic tickets that drivers often get today.
But felony traffic violations are also fairly common as well, and as the name would suggest, these offenses are pretty serious. Here are a few of the most important points you should know about felony traffic violations:
- Every state has different levels of traffic violations, although some states use the word “aggravated” instead of “felony.” Don’t let this word throw you off — an aggravated misdemeanor is technically a misdemeanor offense, but the punishment will usually be just as severe as what you’d receive from a felony charge.
- There are three general types of traffic violations that can bump up a misdemeanor charge to a felony charge: 1) vehicular homicide (even when completely unintentional); 2) certain repeat offenses (most often DUI/DWI offenses, and driving without a valid driver’s license); and 3) hit and run offenses. Because every state defines its own set of driving laws, some states have more felony violations than others, and additionally, judges usually have the ability to bump up a misdemeanor violation to a felony if the driver has accrued multiple small violations within a certain time period.
- The consequences of a felony traffic violation can also vary quite a bit, and judges may opt to give out more lenient punishments if they feel that individual drivers do not deserve the standard punishments for a felony offense, which generally include a prison sentence (typically more than one year), a fine of anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars, and a few points added to the person’s driving record. Additional punishments for a felony traffic violation may include a revocation or temporary suspension of driving privileges, the confiscation of the driver’s car, and a variety of long-lasting effects of a felony offense, like limited options for employment and housing.