Traffic Offenses: When Do You Need an Attorney?

traffic ticket do i need attorney

Most people consider traffic tickets a nuisance or inconvenience that does not necessarily require the help of an attorney. There are two types of traffic tickets, a moving violation and a non-moving violation. A moving violation is a violation of a traffic law that occurs when the vehicle is in motion, such as texting while driving, speeding, and driving under the influence (DUI). A non-moving violation is a violation of a traffic law that occurs when a vehicle is stationary such as parking violations (expired meter, parking in a handicapped zone, parking in a restricted area), a missing license plate, or expired tags.

Types of Traffic Offenses


Most traffic violations are infractions, meaning that they are not considered a “criminal” charge. Infractions are punishable only by monetary fines and do not lead to incarceration or jail time. Infractions are not included on criminal background checks, but do appear on your driving record and are maintained by local police stations and courts.


A traffic violation is more serious than an infraction in that is is classified as a “criminal” charge--either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor traffic violation can include reckless driving, DUI, driving without license, and/or driving without insurance. A felony traffic violation can include multiple DUIs, a hit and run, or vehicular homicide. If taken to trial, a person accused of a felony traffic violation is usually tried by a jury of his or her peers.

Consequences of Traffic Offenses

Infractions: Although infractions are not “criminal” actions, if severe enough, or if a person has had multiple offenses, it can result in increased automobile insurance costs and/or can lead to the suspension of a person’s driving license.

Violations: A person suspected of committing a criminal traffic violation can be arrested, taken into custody, and required to post a jail bond or bail. Traffic misdemeanor or felony arrests and/or convictions will permanently be a part of a person’s criminal record unless otherwise expunged. A misdemeanor, if convicted, can be punishable by either a severe monetary penalty and/or incarceration of up to one year. A felony, if convicted, can be punishable by incarceration for over one year. Additionally, a felony conviction can result in the loss of a professional license, the right to vote, serve on a jury, own a gun, serve in the military, and/or be eligible for student loans.

If you are faced with a traffic offense or violation and believe you need the assistance of an attorney, post a short summary of your legal needs on, and let the perfect attorney come to you!

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Posted - 02/29/2016