Are Traffic Violations Criminal Offenses?

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Far too often we receive calls from clients facing traffic charges. In most cases the client doesn’t understand whether her traffic violation is a criminal charge or not.  In this article, we will give you the run-down on what a traffic violation is and how it can impact your criminal record.

What is a traffic citation?


A traffic citation or traffic summons is a notice given by law enforcement to a motorist who has allegedly violated a law of the road. There are generally two types of traffic violations: moving and non-moving. Examples of moving violations are failing to stop at a stop sign, speeding, following too close, and more. Examples of non-moving violations are usually parking citations. It follows that moving violations really affect your insurance premium.


Are traffic offenses misdemeanors?


Georgia’s traffic code is different from most states. Georgia goes pretty hard on traffic violations and deems them all as misdemeanors. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-1(a), the Uniform Road Code, states, “It is unlawful and, unless otherwise declared in this chapter with respect to particular offenses, it is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this chapter.” Yes, this means that riding around with a missing headlight can land you 12 months in jail. Of course, that’s very unlikely to happen and in most cases traffic violations usually end in a fine or community service, rarely ever jail time. The maximum fine a court can impose for a traffic violation is $1,000. Often times a court wont impose such a huge fine unless it’s a DUI or Super speeder charge.



Will a traffic violation appear on my criminal record?

In Georgia, a simple traffic offense such as speeding, failure to maintain lane, following too closely, and more will not report to your criminal history. However, if the officer does decide to arrest you and you are then booked and fingerprinted then that is considered an arrest and will show on your criminal history. Some violations the officer has the discretion not to arrest you, but, there are some violations where the officer has no choice but to arrest you because you are a danger to the road. Some of these offenses where the officer must arrest you are: Driving under the influence, driving without registration, driving on a suspended license, and more.


What should you do if you receive a traffic violation?

Although traffic violations, unless arrested, will not appear on your criminal record a traffic violation is something that no one wants! A traffic violation will appear on your driving record which will have an effect on your insurance premium and the points on your license.  If you are issued a traffic violation call us today. We have successfully helped fight our clients traffic citations and therefore saving their insurance premiums. Give Bixon Law a call today (404) 551-551-5684!

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