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Traffic and criminal charges: What you should know

As a motorist who frequents the streets of Florida, you may not realize that certain types of driving behaviors can result in criminal charges. When driving, you pay careful attention to conditions and other motorists to minimize your risk of collision or accident. But sometimes, accidents are not avoidable. 

It is important for you to understand the difference between a moving violation and criminal infraction. Failure to recognize when you have a criminal citation can cause you to lose your freedom and end up with a criminal record that can follow you all throughout your life. Here is a brief overview on some difference between traffic and criminal traffic citations

Noncriminal vs. criminal traffic tickets 

Not all moving violations are minor offenses. Some actions can lead to you spending several years behind bars, paying restitution and more. For example, if you run a red light and are stopped by a traffic officer, you risk being cited for a moving violation. But if you accidentally crash your vehicle and cause serious injury or death or a significant amount of property damage, you could end up with a criminal charge. Other types of infractions that can lead to criminal charges include: 

  •        Driving with a suspended license
  •        Driving while intoxicated
  •        Leaving the scene of an accident
  •        Reckless vehicle operation 

Traffic violations usually carry minor penalties that include fines and points on the driving record. They fall off your record after a few years have passed. After you pay the fines, the points go on your record for a set length of time. The penalty is over, but the lingering effect is you may have higher auto insurance rates. 

Traffic tickets usually result in minor inconvenience to people who receive them. Criminal charges can be more disruptive and have a longer lasting effect on your life. Drive defensively and safely at all times. Pay attention to all traffic tickets you receive, and do not ignore procrastinate about them.

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