What are Traffic Offenses in Philadelphia?
Traffic offenses involve unlawful conduct while in charge of a vehicle. Also referred to as traffic violations, they are usually prosecuted at a state level.
There is often a distinction made between traffic offenses committed while a vehicle is moving and while it's stationary. Moving traffic violations include speeding and running a red light. Some examples of non-moving traffic violations include illegal parking and displaying expired plates.
The term traffic offense describes a wide range of conduct from minor infractions to more serious crimes.
If you've been charged with a traffic offense, you should call me today to schedule a free consultation.
Traffic Offense Classification in Pennsylvania
Traffic infractions in Philadelphia are minor traffic offenses. If you commit a traffic infraction, you're usually issued with a ticket, which may require you to attend court.
The penalties for a traffic infraction include fines, attending traffic school, and demerit points. Accumulating demerit points can affect the cost of car insurance and eventually result in a license suspension.
Common examples of traffic infractions include:
- Speeding (under a certain limit)
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Failing to stop or signal
- Following to close to another vehicle
- Failing to wear a seatbelt
- Disobeying a road sign
- Driving uninsured
- Parking illegally
The majority of traffic infractions are strict liability offenses - the prosecution does not need to prove any criminal intent, only that the violation occurred. This means you're liable even if you didn't know it was a no-parking area or didn't realize you were driving over the speed limit.
Traffic Crimes in Pennsylvania
Traffic crimes are more serious than infractions. They can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the relevant laws and circumstances of the offending. For example, you may be charged with a felony if you have previous traffic history or where the conduct results in injury or death.
Traffic crimes are usually heard in a criminal court.
Some common examples of traffic crimes often charged as a misdemeanor include driving on a suspended license or low-range driving under the influence (DUI). Traffic offenses usually charged as a felony include reckless driving causing injury or death, high range or repeat DUI, hit and run, or vehicular homicide.
Potential penalties for traffic crimes include fines, probation, community service, parole, or imprisonment. You're more likely to receive imprisonment if you are charged with a felony or you have a history of committing traffic violations.
A conviction for a traffic crime can also result in the suspension or loss of your license, demerit points, and your vehicle being impounded.
Why You Need a Traffic Offense Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania
The law around driving offenses can be technical and is also constantly evolving. Especially if you're considering challenging the allegations, it pays to speak with an experienced traffic offense defense attorney who can review your case and explain your options.
For many people, the ability to drive is essential to their daily life. While the majority of traffic violations result in a small fine and some points, if you're charged with a serious traffic violation, you may be at risk of imprisonment and losing your license. Call me at (267) 931-7900 to schedule a free consultation.