Traffic offenses are usually very minor offenses, and typically come with a small fine, such as in the event of parking illegally or making a wrongful turn. However, traffic offenses have the potential to be very serious depending on what actions you took.
Usually, the factors that define a more serious traffic offense are when the actions that you took were dangerous. If you destroyed property or caused injury and it was seen to be through the fault of your actions, it will likely be a serious offense. In addition, if you created a situation that was extremely dangerous and could have caused real injury or damage, the offense will also be treated very seriously.
What defines a misdemeanor, and what prevents it from becoming a felony?
It is likely that you will be charged with a misdemeanor if it can be proven that you created real danger. However, the end result of your actions could be the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. If you were speeding excessively, you might be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if you were driving at the same excessive speed and collided with a car as a result, injuring another person in the process, the offense may become a felony.
Other actions that can be judged more objectively, such as driving without a driver's license, will be treated with set punishments.
If you are in the process of being charged with a misdemeanor as the result of a traffic offense, it is important that you learn more about what might be able to reduce your charge.
Source: FindLaw, "Misdemeanor & Felony Traffic Offenses," accessed March 14, 2018