Sure, getting pulled over for something like a broken headlight isn’t a big deal; you get it fixed the next day, you send in paperwork showing that it’s fixed, and everything goes back to normal. But most misdemeanor traffic violations can’t be solved with a quick trip to the repair shop, and even though they might seem simple on the surface, they actually could have some serious long-term consequences.
Traffic laws vary from state to state, and if you get a traffic ticket while driving in a state that you don’t live in (i.e., a state different from the one your license is from), you’ll be charged according to the laws in the state where you were driving. To make things more difficult, misdemeanor traffic offenses can easily be bumped up to felony offenses depending on the circumstances.
There are a few consequences that are overlooked too often when it comes to misdemeanor tickets:
- Misdemeanor charges increase in “degrees,” meaning that a “first degree misdemeanor charge” is less serious than a “third degree misdemeanor charge.” The more misdemeanor charges you rack up, the higher the degrees will become (simply because you’ve proven to be quite dangerous).
- Simple misdemeanor charges, like red light violations and speeding tickets, often incur a simple fine as long as there were no damages or harm caused to others. That being said, many of these charges are circumstantial and the punishments can vary widely. It’s possible to spend a few months in jail for a misdemeanor traffic offense.
- Along with a fine, these traffic violations usually add some points to your driver’s license. If you acquire too many points, you run the risk of losing your license and your car insurance will skyrocket.
- Speaking of car insurance, insurance companies have the right to raise your rates and premiums for years after you’ve been convicted of a traffic violation.
- On an even bigger scale, it’s possible that one misdemeanor violation could cause problems if you try to obtain a visa or citizenship (even years after your conviction occurred); it could inhibit job, education, and scholarship opportunities; and depending on your career, if you work in a field where you need to be licensed in order to work, you could even lose your industry license.
Quite simply, no driver can afford to think of small traffic violations as problems that will disappear after a short time. By nature, traffic laws are based largely on circumstances, and the punishments for a violation can be very hard to predict. Obviously it’s best to avoid these violations altogether, but if you’ve found yourself in traffic ticket situation, you owe it to yourself to seek any and all help you can find. Visit here for more.