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Traffic felonies and misdemeanors: knowing the difference

Can a traffic-related violation result in a serious crime? The answer is yes. Gwinnett residents may be aware of the potential consequences a speeding ticket or similar traffic violation can bring, but many may not be aware that a traffic-related violation could result in a felony charge. Felonies are more severe in comparison to a misdemeanor as they could result in a punishment of one year or more in prison if convicted.

Like other charges, traffic violations can be compounded in severity if convicted on other previous traffic-related charges or if the charge is made in conjunction with other accusations or criminal charges. Many mild traffic charges result in citations or fines that do not breach the threshold of misdemeanor or felony charges. This is usually true in relation to the average speeding ticket or possibly if a person were accused of running a stop sign or red light. However, driving with a suspended or revoked license or in connection with intoxicated driving behaviors. If faced with a misdemeanor traffic charge, a person could face up to a year in jail if convicted.

However, being charged with a traffic violation doesn't automatically make a person guilty of that crime. Even with traffic infractions (tickets) a person generally has the right to a court date to defend oneself. More serious traffic violations or accusations will automatically warrant a court date in which a person is expected to appear. Building the criminal defense that is right for you is the best way to approach a traffic-related charge.

If you are wondering if your traffic-related charge is an infraction, a misdemeanor or even as serious as a felony - it's best to find out which. All will require different criminal defense strategies to ensure the best possible outcome. Especially with the more serious crimes, the results if convicted could be really impactful on a person and their family. Even traffic infractions can impact other aspects of a person's life like their ability to be insured.

Source:, "Misdemeanor & Felony Traffic Offenses," Accessed March 26, 2018

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