What are criminal traffic violations?

Most traffic violations, such as driving under the influence, driving without insurance and texting and driving, are considered criminal.

Traffic violations in New York can often be broken into the two categories of civil and criminal. Not all states have civil traffic violations on the record, which is why most tickets received while on the road are actually considered criminal. Of course, there are different levels of criminal charges. Petty offenses usually include speeding or driving with an expired license. This type of crime does not go on a person's criminal record. More serious offenses, often referred to as misdemeanors or felonies, can include hit-and-runs and reckless driving.

Driving while intoxicated

Driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol can lead to a criminal charge. There are a number of violations related to operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of New York, including the following:

  • Chemical test refusal can be given to anyone who refuses to take either a breath, blood or urine test
  • Driving while intoxicated is given to someone with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher
  • Driving while ability impaired by alcohol is given to anyone with a BAC between .05 and .07
  • Driving while ability impaired by drugs is given to someone who is on drugs
  • Aggravated driving while intoxicated is given to someone who has a BAC of .18 or greater

There can be fines and jail time associated with a DWI for repeat offenders.

Driving without insurance

Most states require drivers to have a minimum amount of insurance on their vehicle. If someone does not meet these minimums, he or she could have his or her license revoked or get a ticket. If an uninsured vehicle is involved in a car accident, the driver could be fined $1,500. In order to avoid this charge, drivers should get liability coverage for any vehicle they plan to drive and surrender any license plates for vehicles that are not covered.

Driving while texting

Many states have incorporated anti-texting and driving laws to help eliminate distracted driving. Using a portable device, such as a cell phone or tablet, to take a picture, text, play a game or read an email while driving is illegal and can result in a maximum fine of $450 for repeat offenders. Even talking on a handheld phone is considered illegal in some states because it requires drivers to push multiple buttons in order to make or receive calls and takes away a hand from the steering wheel.

Criminal traffic violations in New York can include any activity that could put other drivers and pedestrians in harm's way. When someone is charged with a traffic violation, it may be helpful to contact an attorney who is familiar with these cases.