Can Traffic Violations Lead to Criminal Charges in New York?

A wide range of laws make up the rules of the road, and motorists should comply with them to keep everyone on the road safe. However, failing to adhere to some traffic laws poses more severe consequences than others. Although all traffic violations should be treated seriously, certain offenses carry long-term consequences beyond the financial impact of fines and increased insurance premiums. Despite the common misconception that all traffic tickets are civil matters, there are vehicular citations that can result in criminal charges. That said, traffic violations can lead to a permanent criminal record. Please continue reading to learn what traffic violations can lead to criminal charges and how a seasoned Rockland County Traffic Violations Attorney can protect you from an uncertain future. 

What traffic violations are criminal in New York?

In New York, traffic violations can be categorized as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. Infractions are the least severe offenses. Speeding tickets and red light tickets are examples of infractions. These offenses are on the lower end of the penal spectrum. Nevertheless, in some instances, a traffic violation is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The following violations are considered misdemeanor traffic crimes in the state of New York:

  • Reckless Driving
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • Operating a vehicle with a suspended registration
  • Committing a traffic violation causing bodily injury
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident
  • Evading law enforcement officers

The following violations are considered felony traffic crimes in the state of New York:

  • Repeat DUI offenses
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident that involves serious bodily injury or death
  • Reckless driving resulting in the death of another person (vehicular manslaughter)

It’s crucial to understand the differences between civil traffic violations and criminal traffic offenses. The main difference is that civil traffic tickets can typically be resolved without appearing in court. However, drivers facing criminal charges are required to appear in court.

What are the penalties for traffic crimes?

As mentioned above, traffic violations can carry harsh penalties. Depending on the severity of the offense, criminal traffic offenses can result in demerit points on your license, community service, hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, probation, jail time, and a criminal record. Understanding the long-term repercussions of such offenses, such as raised auto insurance costs and difficulty securing good employment opportunities, is vital. If you’re not a citizen of the U.S., a criminal traffic violation can negatively impact your immigration status. As you can see, the penalties of a criminal traffic violation can haunt you for the rest of your life.

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony after a traffic stop in New York, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a knowledgeable Rockland County traffic violations attorney. At The Law Office of Carl Spector, we are prepared to help you avoid overwhelming fines, points on your license, and the possibility of serving jail time. Allow our firm to represent your interests to maximize your chances of achieving the best possible outcome.