Orlando Criminal Traffic Ticket Attorney
Know the Stakes
A criminal traffic ticket is much different than a civil traffic ticket. A criminal traffic ticket can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
In general, misdemeanor and felony criminal traffic tickets are punishable to the same extent as other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Criminal traffic tickets often include additional sanctions, such as suspension or revocation of your driver’s license and special classes.
Criminal traffic tickets are commonly issued for:
- No Valid Driver License
- Driving While License Suspended (with Knowledge)
- Reckless Driving
- Defective Equipment
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Driving While Habitual Traffic Offender
- Fleeing & Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement
- Driving Under the Influence
Watch Out for Escalation
You may have received a criminal traffic ticket for the same offense that was previously classified as a civil traffic ticket. Welcome to escalation. Some offenses are initially chaged as civil traffic tickets, but can “escalate” to criminal traffic tickets in subsequent cases. For example, driving while license suspended might initially be ticketed as an ordinary civil traffic infraction. Subsequent violations can be ticketed as criminal traffic violations with misdemeanor sanctions. After 2 misdemeanor convictions, driving while license suspended can be charged as a felony traffic ticket and carry up to 5 years in state prison. If possible, it is preferable to get your civil traffic ticket dismissed in order to avoid future violations being charged as criminal traffic tickets.
Avoid Habitual Traffic Offender Designation
Being designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender can subject you to increased penalties. Three convictions for any of the following criminal traffic tickets or charges within a 5 year period will result in a 5 year driver’s license revocation and designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Driving while license suspended or revoked
- Failing to stop to render aid and leaving the scene of accident involving personal injury
- Driving a commercial vehicle while the driver’s privilege is disqualified
- Committing any felony in which a motor vehicle is used
- Manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
An HTO designation has major consequences. For example, driving on a suspended license (DWLS) is normally a misdemeanor criminal traffic ticket, but if you are caught driving while license suspended when designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender, you can expect to be charged with a felony criminal traffic ticket. The State Attorney’s Office vigorously pursues these cases.
Other Collateral Consequences
Additional collateral consequences that may follow conviction on a criminal traffic ticket may include:
- Exclusion from purchase and possession of firearms, ammunition, and body armor
- Exclusion from obtaining professional or occupational business licenses
- Ineligibility for government assistance and federally funded housing
- Ineligibility for serving on a jury
- Ineligibility to vote
- Ineligibility for public office
- Deportation (if the person is not a citizen)
- Civil commitment under the Jimmy Ryce Act
Job applications and rental applications frequently ask about criminal history. Answering dishonestly can be grounds for rejecting the application, or termination if the lie is discovered after hire. Landlords will often not rent to persons convicted of a crime due to the risk of legal liability if the renter commits another crime. Many banks will refuse service to convicted felons. In many states, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against persons convicted of a crime in hiring, rental, and credit decisions. As a result, a criminal conviction can present a significant barrier to getting a job, housing, and credit.
Call DeVoe Law Firm
Get help from an experienced attorney. Call DeVoe Law Firm to ask about representation for your criminal traffic ticket.