A traffic ticket may seem like no big deal, especially when you compare it to other serious offenses like robbery and murder. In fact, many people simply accept the consequences, pay the fine and move on with life without realizing that they may now have a criminal record. Yes, that’s right; many traffic offenses are misdemeanor charges, and paying the fine means you have accepted a guilty plea for those charges.
Again, you may think these are small matters. You may even be among those who believe a first-time DUI conviction is not enough to cause real harm as time passes. It may come as a shock to learn just how much of an impact on other areas of your life certain traffic violations can have and why it may be in your best interests to fight the charges, especially if you believe police got it wrong.
Not as minor as you think
If you think a traffic violation is not a serious issue, you may be like many who put it out of their minds completely. Forgetting to pay a fine or show up for your hearing can have a domino effect you never imagined. For example, some North Carolina jurisdictions will add fees to your unpaid bill before turning you over to a collection agency. This delinquency may show up on your credit rating. An unpaid fine, even for a minor violation, may lead to your arrest.
Some traffic violations carry more serious weight right from the start. For example:
- Causing an accident while speeding
- Causing someone else’s death when driving with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit
- Obtaining a conviction for multiple drunk driving charges
- Reckless driving that results in the serious injury or death of another person
Any of these may end up as a felony on your record, which means you may lose many rights, such as the right to vote and to receive certain federal benefits. You may also have difficulty finding work in certain industries since you may not be able to obtain a professional license with a criminal record. Depending on your career at the time of the incident, your arrest may result in the loss of your job.
A hike in your insurance premiums is likely unavoidable when you have traffic violations on your record. This and other consequences may lead to financial hardships you may find it difficult to overcome for years. It does not take a serious violation to wreak havoc on your life. This is why it is important for those facing traffic violations to seek legal advice about the best course of action to protect their rights and their futures.