Some traffic offenses are more serious than others and can result in penalties as serious as imprisonment. While a traffic infraction might be a minor matter if no one is hurt, the same incident can be a misdemeanor or felony if someone is hurt or killed or if there is serious property damage. Some specific traffic offenses, however, are considered serious violations on their own, such as drunk driving or operating a vehicle without a license. A person charged with a traffic-related crime should treat his or her situation seriously and contact an attorney at Weiland Upton in Richmond, Virginia, who can help to protect his or her legal rights.
Many traffic violations are classified as misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, with penalties in most states including fines and imprisonment of a year or less. Although precise traffic offense classifications vary on a state-by-state basis, traffic misdemeanors usually include driving without insurance or without a license.
In most states, a person with a misdemeanor conviction retains many rights that a convicted felon may lose, including professional and voting privileges. Sometimes, a skilled lawyer may be able to “plead down” an offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, which may minimize the penalty.
Felonies are the criminal justice system’s most serious crimes, punishable in most states by more than a year of imprisonment. Examples of traffic felonies include repeat DUI/DWI convictions and vehicular homicide.
A convicted felon may lose the right to vote or to practice certain professions, such as law and teaching. Felons may be prohibited from owning guns or serving in the military. Some states have a “three strikes” law that may result in a life sentence upon a third felony conviction.
Traffic charges must be taken as seriously as any other criminal charges because they can impact the offender’s life far into the future. In order to protect the future, if you or someone you love has been charged with the commission of a traffic-related misdemeanor or felony, do not hesitate to contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at Weiland Upton in Richmond, Virginia.
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