Driving offenses


Driving Offenses

Traffic tickets and charges in involving driving not only can land you in court, but a conviction for some driving offenses, or a combination of traffic tickets or convictions, can also suspend your driver's license.  If you are charged with one of the following driving offenses, you need an attorney that will help you not only with fighting your case in court, but is knowledgeable about all the implications, including those on your license and how you may be able to obtain a restricted license to drive.

If you have a commercial license, it is even more imperative you consult with an attorney that knows the traffic laws as any criminal traffic offense or major moving violation can result in a suspension of your CDL and loss of your job.

Hit and Run

Hit and Run is divided into two categories: 

1. Hit and Run Attended involves being in an accident when the other vehicle is occupied, and then leaving the scene without exchanging information with the other driver. This is a Gross Misdemeanor, and if you are convicted, results in a one year license suspension.

2. Hit and Run Unattended results from being in an accident with an unoccupied vehicle or other property and is a simple misdemeanor, and a conviction does not result in a license suspension.

While Hit and Run Attended has more severe penalties than Unattended, both are criminal charges and you should discuss the implications with a knowledgable traffic lawyer.

Driving While License Suspended

There are three categories of Driving While Your License is Suspended (DWLS):

 1. DWLS 1st Degree is driving while being suspended as a Habitual Traffic Offender (See Below).  

2. DWLS 2nd Degree is  driving a vehicle while you are under an active period of suspension, such as driving when your license has been suspended for a DUI conviction and is a gross misdemeanor. A conviction for DWLS 2nd results in an additional one year suspension, and counts towards being HTO.

3.  DWLS 3rd Degree is driving when you are suspended generally because you have failed to pay for a previous traffic ticket or have not filed high risk insurance. Even though it is the least serious degree, DWLS 3rd is still a misdemeanor which carries a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.  Consulting with an attorney can help you clear up past traffic tickets that are preventing you from reinstating your driver's license.

Habitual Traffic Offender

If you are convicted of 3 major driving offenses in 5 years, or accumulate 20 moving infractions in 5 years, your license will be revoked for a minimum of 7 years as a Habitual Traffic Offender.  If you drive while being HTO and are convicted the penalties are severe including a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail and, 90 Days for a Second, and 180 Days  in jail for a third offense plus additional license suspensions.  It is imperative to consult with an attorney that knows the traffic laws to not only prevent you from being HTO, but can help you get on the path to reinstatement if you are.

Ignition Interlock

If you have been convicted of an alcohol related offense such as a DUI, or even if the charge was reduced in some circumstances, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (blow and go) in your car. An ignition interlock device can also be ordered as part of any pre-trial release conditions. The DOL also has specific requirement for when the IID can be removed. If you drive without one, you could be facing a separate criminal gross misdemeanor charge.  With the laws continually changing, it is important that you consult with an attorney that knows the pitfalls and can make sure you avoid them.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor, and carries with it a license suspension of 30 days.  You may be eligible to drive with an occupational or other restricted license during this time, depending if it was reduced from a DUI or other alcohol related charge.  It also requires that high risk insurance is maintained for a period of 3 years.  Reckless driving can be charged as a result of driving that was deemed "willful and wanton" and with disregard for the safety of persons or property, or it could be a charge that was previously a DUI or other alcohol related offense.  

Negligent Driving

There are two categories of Negligent Driving .

1. Negligent Driving in the 1st Degree is a criminal offense, and is a simple misdemeanor.  It is charged when the driving was alcohol related, or can be a charge that was reduced from an alcohol related offense.

2.  Negligent Driving 2nd Degree.  This is an infraction, not a criminal offense, and is cited when the driving was allegedly negligent and "likely to endanger persons and or property". Even though it is not a criminal charge, if it is on your record, it would have a negative impact on your insurance as it is considered more serious than a regular traffic ticket and you should consult an attorney about contesting it.

Want more information?

Go to the following link on the Department of Licensing Website for more information on license suspensions: