There are basically two kinds of traffic tickets: infractions, which are minor violations of traffic law, and criminal offenses, which are more serious and take the form of felony or misdemeanor traffic tickets.
When the law enforcement officer (LEO) issues you a ticket, notice to appear, or citation, you can see an “I” and an “M.” When the “M” is circled, that means your traffic violation was severe enough to be considered a misdemeanor traffic ticket. However, circumstances such as injury or death could make it a felony.
Infraction Traffic Tickets
Likewise, there are two types of infractions, minor and major infractions. Minor infractions are violations like failure to stop at a stop sign or red light, an illegal U-turn, unsafe lane change, and speeding under 100 mph. Major infractions include speeding 100+ mph.
Infractions are moving violations that have as a penalty a fine of between $238 and $490, and one negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points in CA, which stays on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) for three years. Attending traffic violators school (TVS) can keep your conviction confidential from public view, including your insurance company, but can only be used once within an 18-month window.
Major infractions like speeding 100+ mph have more serious consequences such as two NOTS points, which stay on your MVR for seven years, a significant fine of between $900 and $2,500, a possible automatic 30-day suspension of driving privileges, and a mandatory court appearance.
Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets
Misdemeanor traffic tickets are criminal offenses that usually result in a substantial fine, and/or jail time or probation, and two NOTS points. Criminal offenses typically involve “willful or wanton disregard for the law and public safety.” A felony charge is generally more severe than a misdemeanor traffic ticket, but both are assessed two NOTS points by the DMV if convicted.
Some examples of a misdemeanor traffic ticket include reckless driving, DUI, exhibitions of speed, speed contests, driving without a license, hit & run, and others.
When you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor traffic violation, you are entitled to all the protections guaranteed by the Constitution, such as “the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to a trial by a jury of your peers,” and others.
Misdemeanor traffic tickets usually require incarceration in a county jail for up to one year; whereas, a felony could lead to imprisonment.
Call Bigger & Harman When You Have a Misdemeanor Traffic Ticket in Kern County
When the LEO gives you a misdemeanor traffic ticket, remember you have the “right to remain silent,” it would be best if you did and call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
As traffic attorneys, we have experience and knowledge gathered through nearly a decade of practicing traffic law in traffic and criminal courtrooms.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf