Jurisdictions typically classify traffic offenses into three categories: misdemeanors, felonies and infractions. Each classification denotes the seriousness of the traffic crime. A misdemeanor traffic violation, in some jurisdictions, may include excessive speeding. Driving under the influence, or DUI, can be categorized as a felony depending on a driver's past DUI convictions or harm caused. A traffic infraction such as failing to stop at a stop sign is another type of traffic violation.
Traffic Infraction Definition
A traffic infraction results in a traffic ticket and is less serious than a felony or misdemeanor traffic violation. The infraction is termed a "strict liability offense." Thus, law enforcement officers don't have to prove intent to write a person a ticket for breaking the law. A traffic infraction doesn't warrant a trial or hearing in traffic court unless a driver challenges the violation.
Read More: What Is a Traffic Citation?
Types of Traffic Infractions
Traffic infractions consist of two types: moving and non-moving. A moving traffic infraction occurs while a driver is operating a vehicle. Some moving traffic infractions include turning into the wrong lane, failing to use a turn signal, speeding and failing to stop for pedestrians or traffic. A non-moving traffic infraction happens when a driver is parked. Non-moving traffic infractions include such things as failing to control muffler noise or parking in a handicap space, in an illegal area or at an expired meter.
The consequences of committing a traffic infraction range from receiving a ticket to a suspended license. Traffic tickets typically carry fines that depend on state law and/or on a driver's record. When a fine depends on a person's driving record, the cost increases with the result of other recent traffic infractions. When states set fine standards, everyone pays the same amount. A routine ticket for speeding, failing to yield or failing to stop at a stop sign normally costs $75 to $400 -- depending on state laws, reports Nolo Press. Another consequence, a suspended license, occurs with repeated traffic infractions. A driver with at least three moving violation traffic infractions in approximately three to five years can lose driving privileges.
A car insurance company may raise a driver's rates with certain traffic infractions. A driver who receives more than two moving infractions within a certain time frame may notice a jump in premium rates. A driver facing a suspended license may request a hearing before a hearing officer. To fight the suspension, a driver must persuade the officer that the infractions were her fault, but a mistake of the ticketing officer. Attending traffic school is one way to eliminate a ticket from a person's driving record. Traffic school involves a 6- to 8- hour class in traffic safety.
Demetrius Sewell is an experienced journalist who, since 2008, has been a contributing writer to such websites as Internet Brands and print publications such as "Cinci Pulse." Sewell specializes in writing news and feature articles on health, law and finance. She has a master's degree in English.