When you’re pulled over for a traffic offense in Texas, you may not be extremely worried, as many people receive traffic tickets. However, you may not know these can be civil or criminal charges. As such, proceeding properly is critical to ensure you keep your record as clean as possible. If you’ve been pulled over and aren’t sure if you’re now technically facing criminal charges, you’ll want to keep reading. The following blog explores what you must know about how Texas treats these offenses and why it’s imperative to connect with Houston criminal defense attorneys.
Are Traffic Violations Criminal or Civil Charges?
When you get a traffic ticket, you may not know whether or not this is a criminal or civil offense. Unfortunately, the answer depends on where you are and what offense you’re cited for. In Texas, many driving offenses can escalate to criminal charges.
While a speeding ticket or failing to stop at a stop sign in another state may result in a fine, in Texas, this is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. Most traffic offenses are considered criminal in Texas, and most result in a low misdemeanor charge. Generally, the only ticket that does not come with a misdemeanor charge in Texas is a parking ticket.
However, other driving offenses can be more severe, like driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, or vehicular manslaughter. These can result in more intense misdemeanor charges or a felony offense.
What Should I Do if I’m Facing a Criminal Charge for a Driving Offense?
Though it may seem silly to receive a criminal charge for something as ordinary as speeding, Texas does handle these charges differently than other states.
Even though a Class C misdemeanor is one of the least severe criminal offenses you can be charged with, you should still take this seriously. Generally, you will face a $500 fine, but if you do not pay this fee, you can face jail time. Data shows that nearly 500,000 people in previous years spent time behind bars for failure to pay fines associated with a Class C misdemeanor.
Because this is technically a criminal offense, you should connect with an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you through these challenging times. If you do not fight the ticket, you’ll end up with a tarnished record that will follow you for the rest of your life. However, working with an attorney gives you the best chance of evading the charges.
At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand that everyone makes mistakes. However, if you don’t deserve the charges against you, we will work to help you fight them. Our team will do everything we can to improve the chances of a favorable outcome to keep your record clean. Contact us today to learn more.