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The following article will cover:

What Are The Most Common Serious Traffic Offense Charges In Florida? When Does A Traffic Violation Become A Misdemeanor Or Worse?

Dealing With Traffic Offenses In Florida

Driving under the influence (DUI) is arguably the most prevalent serious traffic offense in Florida. Law enforcement is particularly vigilant for this type of offense, especially late at night when the risk of impaired driving is perceived to be higher.

Other significant traffic offenses include leaving the scene of an accident (commonly referred to as hit and run) and fleeing or eluding law enforcement. Reckless driving, characterized by a disregard for road safety, is also commonly encountered.

The classification of these offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies largely depends on the specifics of each case and the presence of any aggravating factors. For instance, reckless driving is generally a misdemeanor. However, it can escalate to a felony if the reckless driving results in serious bodily harm.

Similarly, DUI charges can be upgraded to a felony if you have previous DUI convictions or if your impaired driving results in serious injury to another party.

Fleeing or eluding police is inherently a felony. However, the degree of the felony can be escalated based on the circumstances. For example, if you refuse to pull over despite visible police signals, yet maintain a slow speed, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. However, if you attempt to evade the police at high speeds, the charge may be upgraded to a second-degree felony, which carries a significantly harsher maximum sentence.

Leaving the scene of an accident is also graded based on the specific situation. A minor hit-and-run incident would typically be classified as a misdemeanor. But if you leave the scene of an accident where you have severely injured a pedestrian, the charge could elevate to a felony.

What Traffic Violation Scenarios Most Commonly Lead To A Suspended License? Can You Help Me As An Attorney?

One of the most common traffic offenses leading to a suspended license is driving under the influence (DUI). An immediate administrative license suspension typically follows a DUI arrest, with an additional suspension imposed upon conviction. Other offenses, such as fleeing and eluding police officers, can also result in mandatory license suspensions. Furthermore, discretionary suspensions can be applied in certain cases and crimes.

Should you find your license suspended, seeking legal counsel is crucial. An experienced attorney could potentially guide you through your case and help prevent the suspension.

However, not all causes for license suspension are criminal. Sometimes, an accumulation of points from simple traffic tickets can result in a suspension. In Florida, a point system is used, where accruing more than 12 points in 12 months leads to an automatic suspension. This threshold increases with more points accumulated over extended periods.

Another critical factor is the designation of “habitual traffic offender.” This status applies to individuals convicted of three or more traffic-related crimes within five years. Common offenses leading to this designation include DUIs, leaving the scene of an accident, and fleeing or eluding. Once labeled as a habitual traffic offender, you face a mandatory five-year license suspension. Any subsequent driving offenses, even something as minor as driving on a suspended license, could be upgraded to a felony.

Therefore, if you receive a notice from the Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicle or the court system about a potential habitual traffic offender designation, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced attorney immediately.

Should I Just Pay My Traffic Offense Tickets And Be Done With It?

While paying your traffic ticket may seem like the simplest solution, it comes with risks. Paying the ticket essentially admits guilt, leading the court to automatically impose points on your license. Regular traffic infractions usually come with a mandatory three points, but certain citations can add four, five, or up to six points for a single violation. If you accumulate too many points, this can lead to a mandatory license suspension.

Many people find their licenses suspended after paying several tickets all at once, not realizing the combined points would trigger a suspension. By engaging an attorney, you can explore options such as trying to dismiss the case outright, winning it at a hearing, or negotiating with the judge to withhold points.

Even if you still have to pay the fine, preventing points from being added to your license can be a significant benefit. Therefore, contacting an experienced attorney for something as seemingly simple as a traffic ticket can be crucial.

Do I Really Need A Florida Defense Traffic Offense Attorney?

Absolutely. Even though some traffic offenses may appear minor and others severe, even the minor ones can lead to impactful sanctions. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with an attorney for any traffic offense, whether it’s a speeding ticket or a more serious charge like driving under the influence.

Moreover, the process can be confusing. For certain traffic offenses, you’ll have to navigate both the criminal court system and deal with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If you’re facing any traffic-related incident, it’s imperative that you consult an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and work towards achieving the best possible outcome. For more information on Dealing With Traffic Offenses In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Experienced Florida Criminal & Personal Injury Attorney - Michael Barber

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