Many people believe that misdemeanor driving offenses are “nothing to worry about.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case, even if they don’t involve arrest. Traffic offenses are frequently the lowest and range from minor fines to first-degree felonies. Misdemeanors can stay on your driving record and cause problems if not correctly handled.
Some misdemeanor driving offenses are criminal charges and can include license revocation, civil penalties, restitution, jail time and probation, and community service. If you don’t appear in court, the judge can issue an arrest warrant.
Florida’s Degrees of Misdemeanor
Florida has two types of misdemeanors, both of which include fines and jail time:
- Second-degree, which can include up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail
- First-degree, which can include up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail
Much depends on the charges since many have differing penalties. For instance, DUI is a second-degree misdemeanor. But a first-time DUI includes a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum of $1,000. Other misdemeanor charges include:
- Drag or street racing
- Reckless driving
- Knowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license or without a valid one
- Leaving the scene of an accident
Speeding tickets, failing to signal, running a stop sign or red light, illegal U-turns, and other moving violations are usually not criminal, and involve driving school. Multiple offenses brand someone as a “habitual offender,” turning a simple moving violation into criminal charges. Failing to pay tickets can lead to additional fines and potentially jail time.
The Points System
Florida also uses the point system for driving infractions. If you accumulate 12 points in 12 months, your license will be suspended for 30 days. Accumulate 18 points in 18 months (including the prior 12 points) then your license will be suspended for 90 days.
Get 24 points in 36 months—including the prior 12 or 18 points—your license is suspended for one year.
Different offenses have different point values, such as:
- Speeding, 3 to 6 points
- Hit and run leading to property damage over $50, 6 points
- Littering, 3 points
- Moving violation resulting in an accident, 3 points
- Reckless driving, 4 points
Points can also impact your insurance rates, even without suspension.
A Misdemeanor Driving Offenses Attorney Can Help
You may be required to go to court for a misdemeanor driving offense. But just because it’s a misdemeanor does not mean you shouldn’t think of it as seriously as a felony.
Many people just pay the fine and assume it’s resolved. But doing so means you’ve pleaded guilty to the charge, leaving you with a conviction. Depending on the charge, this could have serious consequences. Having an attorney to help you through the process will not only make it easier but increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
You are entitled to an attorney no matter what the charges. Before your court date, contact our experienced defense attorneys to work on your defense to either lessen the charges or have them dismissed.
WEST PALM BEACH MISDEMEANOR DRIVING DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Even a minor traffic ticket can have far-reaching consequences, including points on your record, increases in insurance rates, and other problems. That’s where we can help.
If you or a loved one has received a misdemeanor traffic ticket, contact the ticket defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. We are available 24/7, whenever you need us. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.