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When a Traffic Ticket Becomes a Criminal Offense – What You Should Know

The average driver might downplay receiving a traffic ticket or a citation, deeming it to be just another event. But when a traffic violation becomes a criminal event, how serious is it then? It’s essential to understand what you should do if you are convicted of an offense, but let’s unpack how a criminal traffic violation differs from a civil one.

Civil Offenses Explained

A Civil Traffic Ticket

This type of fine goes to the driver of a vehicle or, at times, a pedestrian. A ticket means that a traffic law has been violated. Some of these include not stopping at a red light, excessive speeding, reckless driving, jaywalking, and violating parking meter rules.

Individuals can settle the fines issued by sending a check with the form to the relevant traffic office, or they can opt to pay online. If the person feels that they have been fined in error, they can challenge the fine. This involves going to court.


Citations also involve receiving a ticket. At the same time, the offender must appear in court. There are cases where a citation is given, but the guilty party can pay a fine without needing to appear in court. Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney At Law, states, though, that even if a police officer has written a civil infraction ticket, you may need to go to court.

Civil offenses are not often regarded as criminal events, but offenders can face additional points being added onto their driving license. Excess points can result in a license suspension, or cause insurance premiums to be hiked.

Criminal Offenses

A criminal traffic ticket is more severe. These usually involve incidents like DUI’s, hit and runs, and leaving the scene of an accident. These are just a few of the offenses that fall into this category of violations.

In some cases, if you are a first-time offender, you might be lucky enough to get off with a misdemeanor. It’s important to get someone on your side that knows how to handle these situations. A professional legal expert can help you to move the charges from a criminal offense to a non-criminal related matter. This can be the difference between facing jail time and having a criminal record.


When it comes to the legal side of traffic violations, each case works on its merit. For example, excessive speeding can result in you having to pay expensive fines, and if you’re unlucky, this could end up going to court.

Don’t waste any time if you’re facing a traffic violation, enlist the help of an expert and let them resolve the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible so that you can spend time on more pressing issues in your everyday life.

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