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Is a traffic ticket a criminal offense?

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  • Is a traffic ticket a criminal offense?

    On most police applications, one of the questions asks whether you've been charged with a criminal offense, either as a juvenile or as an adult.

    I've received traffic tickets, it is technically a criminal offense, so I generally answer this question "Yes." Should I be answering this question with "No"? I've never been arrested for anything or been charged with any misdemeanor or felony, just traffic tickets...

    Anyone else have some input? I guarentee I will get mixed decisions here but I thought I'd throw this one out there to clarify my understanding. Thanks.

  • #2
    Traffic tickets are non criminal 'infractions'. If it was criminal, you'd go to jail for blowing a red light.

    Also, there's a lengthy thread on exactly this already if you wanna parooze this section a bit.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Arewethereyet View Post
      On most police applications, one of the questions asks whether you've been charged with a criminal offense, either as a juvenile or as an adult.

      I've received traffic tickets, it is technically a criminal offense, so I generally answer this question "Yes." Should I be answering this question with "No"? I've never been arrested for anything or been charged with any misdemeanor or felony, just traffic tickets...

      Anyone else have some input? I guarentee I will get mixed decisions here but I thought I'd throw this one out there to clarify my understanding. Thanks.
      Question: Have you tried the SEARCH function yet?
      Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

      [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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      • #4
        Well, they are issued by the Police. Some (not all) require a court appearance in front of a Judge or Magistrate. Failure to comply can (not always) get you locked up in jail.

        This is a really tough question! Maybe some Rhodes Scholar can give his opinion?


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        RKT
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        • #5
          If the charge is a misdemeanor I would say yes. Some states label their traffic offense different so people don't get hung up but there was a law broken and someone got punished. Although its low level stuff, it is still a crime.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Unit453 View Post
            Traffic tickets are non criminal 'infractions'. If it was criminal, you'd go to jail for blowing a red light.

            Also, there's a lengthy thread on exactly this already if you wanna parooze this section a bit.
            That depends on which state you are in......

            They are CRIMINAL infractions here for the most part.....with some misdemeanors thrown in for good measure
            The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

            "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LA DEP View Post
              That depends on which state you are in......

              They are CRIMINAL infractions here for the most part.....with some misdemeanors thrown in for good measure
              Yep... TX doesn't even have infractions. All traffic offenses are misdemeanors. Almost all of them are arrestable.
              If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

              ---Jack Handey

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              • #8
                Here we have traffic infractions and misdemeanors. Have you ever been summonsed to court for a ticket? Meaning have you ever NOT been given the option of paying the fine?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by School Cop View Post
                  Yep... TX doesn't even have infractions. All traffic offenses are misdemeanors. Almost all of them are arrestable.
                  So if you write someone for 15 over, it's a criminal offense? WTF?

                  The vast majority of traffic offenses here are violations, but we can arrest for them as well.
                  summer - winter - work

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                  • #10
                    Here you have unclassified offenses, felonies, misdemeanors, and violations. Most traffic statutes and game and fish regulations are violations if that makes sense. In Arkansas, highway and traffic law, for example, falls under Title 27 of the Arkansas Code. Some elements of traffic code, such as racing on a highway, do however result in criminal penalties (potentially jail time) with that actually being a Class A misdemeanor buried in the traffic law. Violations generally result in fines and/or community service while crimes usually result in some type of imprisonment excluding many misdemeanors which often result in the imposition community service and/or fines for a variety of reasons and on a case by case basis.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JLee View Post
                      So if you write someone for 15 over, it's a criminal offense? WTF?

                      The vast majority of traffic offenses here are violations, but we can arrest for them as well.
                      Ditto for us with regard to going more than 15 over, but it's left to officer discretion. I believe at that point it can be classified as a Class C misdemeanor rather than a violation. I've never arrested someone for that and most likely will never do so.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JLee View Post
                        So if you write someone for 15 over, it's a criminal offense? WTF?

                        The vast majority of traffic offenses here are violations, but we can arrest for them as well.
                        OK. Everything traffic is a misdemeanor. A lot of it is a Class C, and a lot is just listed as "misdemeanor punishable with a fine not more than $xxx."

                        Class C includes non-traffic offenses as well. PI is one, Assault without injury or pain (what most states call battery) is another. Theft under $50 is another. They are all equal. Well, except that we the police can't treat them all equal (PI). And the fines aren't equal. So, scratch that!

                        We just don't seem to want civil infractions. Even city ordinances are written in my same ticket book as a gal who is caught stealing $38 of hair weave from the ghetto dollar store. (Yep, true. Plus the goop and spray to make it look "good".)
                        If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

                        ---Jack Handey

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JLee View Post
                          So if you write someone for 15 over, it's a criminal offense? WTF?

                          The vast majority of traffic offenses here are violations, but we can arrest for them as well.
                          All traffic offenses are misdemeanors in TN as well. As far as 15 over the posted limit, it's deemed reckless driving in Nashville/Davidson Co if the officer chooses to cite for such and it is on the burden of the driver to prove otherwise in court.

                          When drivers refuse to sign the citation, they can end up going to jail. I would think that if traffic offenses were civil in nature, this would not be possible.
                          I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JLee View Post
                            So if you write someone for 15 over, it's a criminal offense? WTF?

                            The vast majority of traffic offenses here are violations, but we can arrest for them as well.
                            Yup. I can take someone to jail and impound their car for failing to signal intent - lane change. All minor traffic offenses are Class C Misdemeanors.

                            Not that I've ever done that

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Unit453 View Post
                              Traffic tickets are non criminal 'infractions'.
                              Is that like a myocardial infarction?
                              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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