Traffic Accident Equals a Misdemeanor Charge

Many traffic offenses are petty misdemeanors, which means they are NOT a crime.  A petty misdemeanor is punishable by only a fine up to $300 plus fees and surcharges.  Some examples are: speeding, running a stop sign, failing to move over for an emergency vehicle, making an illegal U-turn, and failing to signal a turn.  However, when the police officer determines that you “endangered person or property”, (s)he can check the so-titled box on the citation, which enhances the petty misdemeanor to a misdemeanor.  A misdemeanor is a crime, punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.  Causing an accident essentially guarantees that the officer will check this box and means that you are facing a more serious offense than a “simple” traffic offense.  If at all possible, you want to keep these types of offenses off of your driving record.