Traffic misdemeanors versus infractions

If you have had a license for more than a couple years (or, for some people, a couple weeks), you have probably gotten a traffic infraction. These minor occurrences generally manifest as speeding, following too closely, having a taillight out or anything else that would result in a simple ticket. Normally, consequences involve paying a fine, points on your license and perhaps your insurance cost going up.

Misdemeanors are usually a much more serious matter. While there are “minor” misdemeanors like failing to appear in court, any kind of charge in this category can lead to arrest and jail time. While each state has its own specific misdemeanors, common ones include driving under the influence, driving without a license (or with a suspended license), reckless driving and others.

One of the most serious is driving under the influence or while intoxicated (DUI/DWI). This can have major ramifications, both on you and those around you. Many people believe that a few cups of coffee or other remedies can sober you up quickly. The fact is, only time can make you sober. If you do decide to drive while intoxicated and are pulled over for it, you can face huge consequences.

The severity depends on how many times you have been caught drunk driving before and how much alcohol is in your system. But if you are of legal drinking age, you can expect to pay at least $500, even on the first ticket. In addition, you may face jail time and a license suspension or revocation. Driving drunk is never worth it.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you have time before you have to pay the fine. Take that opportunity to discuss your case with a qualified attorney. They may be able to help you with your case.