When a person is involved in a traffic violation, it can often mean that he or she receives an infraction. This means that they were charged with a nondangerous, and therefore, not serious offense that will likely result in a fine.
Infractions do not usually have any heavy consequences. However, this is not the case for misdemeanors and felonies. These are given for more serious offenses that caused dangers, and they could ultimately lead to a prison sentence.
What makes a traffic violation a misdemeanor or a felony?
Since infractions are nondangerous charges, it makes sense that generally speaking, misdemeanor or felony charges involve actions that either causes injury, or invokes a threat of injury. This could be excessively speeding, drunk driving or making a dangerous or negligent moves in the road that either caused a crash or could have resulted in a crash.
What are misdemeanors specifically?
A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony. They usually result in a fine, less than one year in jail or both. In regard to traffic violations, misdemeanors are usually given for driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a license or not stopping at an accident scene.
What are felonies specifically?
Felonies are the most serious type of crime, and therefore, they can result in years of imprisonment. They are often attributed to repeated DUI convictions, vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run offenses.
Being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor can result in life-altering consequences. You should take your charge very seriously and make sure that you understand how the law applies to you.
Source: Findlaw, "Misdemeanor & Felony Traffic Offenses," accessed Dec. 8, 2017