Criminal traffic offenses encompass a wide range of violations in Florida. Some of the more common criminal traffic offenses include DUI, driving with a revoked or suspended license, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter.
The penalties for criminal traffic offenses in Florida can be severe. Depending on the offense, a driver convicted of a criminal traffic violation may be facing jail time, heavy fines, community service, a permanent mark on their criminal record, a driver’s license suspension, and other hardships. In some cases, a judge may order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If you face a criminal traffic offense, it is essential to speak with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights. A criminal defense lawyer can investigate the facts of a case, review the evidence, craft a defense strategy, and advise a defendant of their legal options. Legal counsel can negotiate with the prosecutor on the driver’s behalf and present a solid defense at trial if necessary.
A Criminal Traffic Violation can be a Misdemeanor or Felony Charge
A criminal traffic offense does not always mean an immediate arrest. In many cases, an officer will issue a citation, and the driver is mandated to appear in court. Without the advice of an attorney, a defendant may be tempted to pay the fine instead of attending the court hearing. However, paying the fine is an admission of guilt, and it will be recorded on their criminal history record and follow them through life. If the fine is not paid and the driver misses the court date, there most likely will be a warrant out for their arrest.
Defenses for a criminal traffic violation are fact-specific. Examples are no probable cause to arrest, improper search and seizure, and improperly administered breathalyzer or blood tests. Other defenses are available, depending on the circumstances.
A Moving Violation versus a Criminal Traffic Violation
The difference between a moving violation and a criminal traffic violation is that a moving violation is usually a non-criminal offense. The outcome of a moving violation is an assessment of points against the driver’s license, which could increase the offender’s insurance rates. A moving violation can become a criminal traffic violation when the action results in injuries or death.
In addition to court-imposed penalties, there are significant collateral consequences for criminal traffic violations that may affect a driver’s life. A conviction can mean losing your driver’s license, making it difficult to get to work or school or take care of your family. It can also make it difficult to rent a car or buy insurance.
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