Being charged with a crime could be one of the scariest moments of your life. Being accused of a criminal traffic violation could turn out worse than you think — on top of fighting a criminal charge, you could also lose your driver’s license.
Did you know that certain traffic violations are criminal offenses? Some are even felonies, meaning that the penalties upon a conviction could include a long period of incarceration. Anyone who receives a ticket for any of the following offenses should seek quality criminal defense representation in West Palm Beach. In many cases, receiving a second charge for a misdemeanor traffic offense can raise the charge to a felony.
Multiple DUI Charges
DUI is one of the most common traffic violations in every state, and it’s also a serious offense. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), there were 5,125 alcohol-related accidents in Florida in 2017. While this number is 16% less than in 2016, 350 people lost their lives.
DUI is completely preventable, which is why law enforcement makes a serious effort to curb drunk driving. If you’re arrested for DUI, your first-degree misdemeanor charge resembles a felony in that the effects of the DUI could seep into many areas of your life. You could even face some jail time for a first offense. A third DUI within 10 years is a third-degree felony offense, for which it’s possible to spend up to 5 years in prison and be fined up to $5,000.
Leaving the Scene of a Severe Car Crash
It’s completely normal to feel a rush of anxiety immediately after a car accident. If you believe you were at fault for the crash, your instinct might be to get away from the accident scene. But as a fellow traveler, you owe any potential victims a duty of care. This means that, by law, you must stay and call for aid to help anyone who suffered an injury or died in the crash. If you leave, and if the accident resulted in another’s severe pain and suffering, you could face a criminal charge for leaving the scene of an accident.
Leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in a serious injury is a third-degree felony offense, while a crash that resulted in a fatality is a first-degree felony offense. A first-degree felony offense could send you away for decades, with a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Charges of Driving with a Suspended License
Driving with a suspended license could result in the permanent revocation of your license. A license suspension means that you have temporarily lost your driving privileges. Most likely, after meeting the traffic court’s demands, you could have your license reinstated. Sometimes, this could be fulfilling a requirement to purchase car insurance or pay child support. Regardless, driving while your license is suspended shows disregard for the traffic court.
Many times, a person with a suspended license doesn’t realize his or her license is temporarily invalid. This might happen when the DMV sends the license suspension notice to the wrong address, or it gets lost in the mail. Fighting a suspended license charge where you didn’t know about the suspension has a higher success rate than fighting a DWLS charge in which you knew about your suspension but drove anyway. If you drive with a suspended license a third time, you could face a third-degree felony charge. If all 3 suspended license offenses occurred within a 5-year period, you could also be labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender and lose your license for five years.
These are just a few examples of traffic crimes that double as felonies. If you’re charged with any traffic offense, it’s crucial to get a local traffic attorney involved.
Trust Gabriel Law Team for Comprehensive Traffic Defense
Driving is almost a complete necessity in South Florida, particularly in the area’s most populated cities like West Palm Beach. A commute without a vehicle is unreliable and impractical. If you need to drive, you need to fight for your license.
Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has been defending traffic charges in Palm Beach County for 30 years. He enjoys a positive professional relationship with prosecutors, judges, police officers, and others who might be involved in your case, which empowers our firm to achieve the best possible outcome. As a National Trial Lawyer Top 100 Trial Lawyer, you can count on him to provide the best experience possible when helping you navigate the criminal justice system. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us for a free consultation.