A criminal offense is punishable by jail time, as opposed to a civil traffic infraction which is punishable by a fine only. In Florida, crimes on the roadway or involving a motor vehicle are known as criminal traffic cases.
After being accused of a misdemeanor or felony traffic offense, you might be:
- released at the scene with a “notice to appear” in court at a later date; or
- formally arrested before being transported to jail.
Either way, you must answer the criminal traffic charge in court. The first court date is the “arraignment,” scheduled about four weeks after the incident.
In Pinellas County, misdemeanor traffic crimes are prosecuted in the county court, and felony traffic crimes are prosecuted in circuit court. The cases are heard at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) courthouse in Clearwater, FL.
Attorney for Traffic Crimes in Pinellas County
If you were accused of a crime while operating a motor vehicle in Pinellas County, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm.
We represent clients charged with traffic crimes, both felony and misdemeanor offenses, at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) courthouse in Clearwater, FL.
Visit our office in Pinellas County at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820. We also have offices in downtown Tampa and New Port Richey, FL.
Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for Pinellas County, FL.
Types of Traffic Crimes in Florida
Florida law contains numerous crimes classified as traffic crimes. Most traffic crimes are misdemeanors, although more serious offenses are charged as a felony. The most commonly prosecuted traffic crimes in Florida include:
- Driving under the Influence (DUI)
- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (DWLS)
- No Valid Driver’s License
- Attaching Tag Not Assigned
- Leaving the Scene of a Crash (Hit and Run)
- Street Racing on a Highway
- Reckless Driving
- No Motorcycle Endorsement
- No Valid Registration
The most serious felony traffic crimes prosecuted in Florida include the following:
- Fleeing and Attempting to Elude
- Felony DUI
- DUI with serious bodily injury
- DUI manslaughter
- Vehicular manslaughter
Penalties for Criminal Traffic Crimes
The penalties or punishments for a criminal traffic violation might depend on a variety of factors, including the way the crime was committed, the number of prior convictions, and whether anyone was hurt.
While civil traffic infractions are punishable with a fine, criminal traffic offenses are punishable with jail time. Traffic crimes can be classified in the following manner:
- second degree misdemeanor (punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine)
- first degree misdemeanor (punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine)
- third degree felony (punishable by up to 5 years in prison)
- second degree felony (punishable by up to 15 years in prison)
- first degree felony (punishable by up to 30 years in prison)
Some misdemeanor traffic crimes like DUI come with a host of minimum mandatory penalties such as jail time, fines, mandated community service, a vehicle impound, a requirement to install an ignition interlock device or a driver’s license suspension.
Many criminal traffic offenses cause points to be added to the driving record if a conviction occurs.
Any criminal traffic offense is serious because it comes with the possibility of criminal penalties and punishments that can be imposed by the court and a lifetime of collateral or indirect consequences that come with a criminal record.
Finding a Traffic Crime Lawyer in Clearwater, FL
If you were accused of a criminal traffic offense committed while you were operating a motor vehicle, then seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
We are familiar with traffic enforcement tactics used by law enforcement agencies in Pinellas County, including the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the local police departments in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Largo, Tarpon Springs, Gulfport, Kenneth City, and Treasure Island, FL.
Our attorneys fight various misdemeanor traffic crimes, including DUI, reckless driving, and racing on the highway.
We also fight the most serious felony traffic offenses, including fleeing to elude, DUI with serious bodily injury, DUI manslaughter, or vehicular homicide.
Sammis Law Firm’s main office is in downtown Tampa, FL. We recently opened an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Visit our office at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820.
Contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for Pinellas County, FL.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.