Traffic offenses in Florida are classified as either civil traffic infractions (traffic tickets) or criminal traffic offenses. According to criminal lawyers in Gainesville, the primary difference is that civil infractions do not subject the violator to the possibility of jail time.
Civil Traffic Infractions
Examples of civil traffic infractions are:
These offenses are further classified as either moving violations or non-moving violations depending on whether or not the vehicle was in motion at the time of the incident. Examples of civil violations are:
- Careless driving
- Running a red light
- Running a stop sign
- Improper passing
A guilty plea to a civil infraction will result in a fine, points added to your driving record, and higher insurance rates. Get enough points and your license will be suspended. Most people simply pay the fine and attend traffic school (if eligible) or accept the points. Experienced criminal lawyers in Gainesville know a guilty plea is not your only alternative.
A lawyer can get your ticket dismissed if the officer filled out your citation incorrectly or fails to appear. Your lawyer can cross-examine the officer and witnesses to contest their version of events. If your ticket cannot be dismissed, your lawyer can negotiate for reduced fines and no points. A lawyer can appear in court on your behalf to defend a traffic infraction so you do not need to miss work.
Criminal Traffic Violations
Criminal traffic offenses require a court appearance by the defendant and can carry steep penalties including fines, probation, license suspension, and even jail time. They may be misdemeanors or felonies depending on such factors as whether an accident occurred, whether anyone was injured, and the driver’s history of past violations.
Some examples of criminal traffic offenses include:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Hit and run
- Reckless driving
- Drag racing
- Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
Every case is unique and requires an independent evaluation, but common defense strategies in traffic cases include:
- Challenging the evidence provided by the police
- Asserting that the police violated the driver’s constitutional rights
- Presenting witnesses who contradict the police version of the incident
- Employing expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts
- Asserting lack of notice to the driver, for instance the driver was unaware of a license suspension
Get help with your traffic offense from a criminal lawyer in Gainesville
If you would like to learn more about how a criminal lawyer can help with your traffic infraction or criminal offense, contact us today. Be certain you understand your rights. Call the Law Offices of Richard Mercure, PA – RPM Law at (352) 222-2047 for a free, confidential case evaluation.