You are driving along a highway and see a police car in the median ahead. You may immediately hit your brakes, even if you aren’t speeding, out of habit. Even if that isn’t a habit you’ve developed, chances are drivers around you will be hitting their brakes because many drivers speed, and many speeders are stopped by police. In fact, at one point, statistics showed 20% of drivers in America got at least one traffic ticket in a five-year period.
Not Always a Simple Offense
Though minor speeding violations may have become a joke punch-line to some extent, all traffic offenses are not simple offenses. Sometimes traffic violations can result in serious repercussions, especially in the case of CDL traffic tickets. There are many types of traffic tickets other than speeding, such as distracted driving, driving without a valid license, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving or running a red light. These offenses vary in severity and are typically categorized into infraction, misdemeanor and felony buckets.
Penalties Vary by Categorization
Simple speeding offenses are generally infractions, which carry very low penalties. Some traffic offenses, though, are considered criminal offenses, which are misdemeanors and felonies. Types of criminal traffic offenses are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, hit-and-run, driving with a suspended or revoked license and vehicular homicide. Penalties for criminal offenses vary from simple penalties like fines to more severe penalties like probation, jail time or even prison sentences. In the case of commercial drivers, those charged with serious or major violations likely face some period of revocation of their commercial driver’s licenses, which can have a livelihood-affecting impact.
So, the next time you see a police officer out on the road, remember that traffic tickets aren’t always a slap on the wrist. Slow down, and work to be more conscious of following traffic laws to reduce the chance of your suffering a more severe penalty than you had expected.