Traffic Offenses

traffic offenses lawGeneral information
Traffic violations can be loosely defined as any act that violates a state or municipalities traffic laws. Most laws are local, though the federal government does regulate some traffic aspects and can deny federal money in order to coerce states to pass particular traffic laws. Today, motorists can find themselves faced with dozens of traffic laws, depending on where they are driving. These traffic laws vary by state, city, highway, and region.

Types of Traffic Violations
Traffic violations are generally divided into major and minor types of violations. Parking violations is a minor violation; they do not count towards a person's driving record, though a person can be arrested for unpaid violations. Next, there are the minor driving violations, including speeding and other moving violations, which usually do not require a court appearance. Then, there are more serious moving violations, such as reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident. Finally, there is drunk driving, which is also called Driving Under the Influence (DUI). This is a classification onto itself.

All but the most serious traffic violations are generally prosecuted as misdemeanor charges; however, repeat offenses can be prosecuted at the level of felonies. As misdemeanor charges, most traffic violations require payment of a fine and no jail time. State laws do not allow a judge to impose a jail sentence for speeding or failure to stop at a signal. However, more serious traffic violations, such as drunk or reckless driving, can result in jail time at the judge's discretion.

The most common type of traffic violation is a speed limit violation. Speed limits are defined by the state. In 1973, Congress implemented a 55-miles-per-hour speed limit in order to save on energy costs, but these were abolished in 1995. Since then, most states have implemented 65-mph maximum speed limits. There are two types of speed limits: fixed maximum, which make it unlawful to exceed the speed limit anywhere at any time, and prima facie, which allow drivers to prove in certain cases that exceeding the speed limit was not unsafe and, therefore, was lawful.

Another common type of traffic violation is a seat belt violation. Most states now require adults to wear seatbelts when they drive or sit in the front seat, and all states require children to be restrained using seat belts. New York became the first state to make seat belts mandatory in 1984.

Effect of Traffic Violations

The effect of a traffic violation depends on the nature of the offense and on the record of the person receiving the traffic violation. Beyond the possibilities of fines and/or jail, other consequences of traffic violations can include traffic school, higher insurance premiums, and the suspension of driving privileges.

Fines for traffic violations depend on the violation. Typically, states will have standard fines for a specific group of moving violations, with the fines increasing with the seriousness of the violation. North Carolina will also increase the fine if violators have other violations on their record. Courts will occasionally reduce fines on violations while still recording the violation as part of the violator's record.

Suspension of Driving Privileges
A traffic violation not wiped out by traffic school will count against the suspension of driving privileges. Suspension of driving privileges is calculated using a point system: the more points drivers have, the more likely it is their driving privileges could be suspended. North Carolina will calculate the number of violations drivers have in a straightforward manner; if drivers reach the requisite number of violations within a certain time frame, their privileges are automatically suspended. Age can also be a factor in determining when a driver's license is suspended. Minor drivers typically see their licenses suspended with fewer violations than adults.
All states entitle persons facing suspended licenses to receive a hearing, typically in front of a hearing officer for that state's Department of Motor Vehicles. At that point, the person whose license is to be suspended may offer an explanation for why the violations in question occurred. The hearing officer usually has discretion in all but the most extreme cases (i.e. drunk driving) to reduce, defer the suspension, or cancel it entirely.

Contact Information

Edward L. Booker, P.A.
121 North Center St.
Statesville, NC 28677

Mailing Address:
Please send all mail and correspondence
to the address listed below

Edward L. Booker, P.A.
P.O. Box 1479
Davidson, NC 28036

Phone: 704-892-7185