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Which Texas Traffic Violations Result in Criminal Charges?

In many states, traffic tickets are citable offenses that do not result in criminal charges. However, under Texas law, it is critical to know that you could be facing charges for a Class C misdemeanor merely for speeding or another type of traffic violation that would only be a citable offense in another state. Accordingly, in nearly all traffic violation cases, it is essential to have an experienced Texas traffic ticket defense lawyer who can help you with your case. You should also learn more about the distinctions between misdemeanor and felony charges for traffic violations, and the possible consequences for criminal traffic violations

Most Seemingly Minor Traffic Violations Are Class C Misdemeanors in Texas

Nearly all traffic violations in Texas result in a minimum of a Class C misdemeanor charge. To be clear, common traffic violations such as speeding or running a red light in Texas, which may be only a citable offense in other states, is usually a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law. While Class C misdemeanors are the least serious of the misdemeanor offenses, a conviction will still result in a criminal record and required disclosures of that criminal record in various circumstances. A Class C misdemeanor in Texas is punished with a monetary fine of up to $500 under the Texas Penal Code

If you receive a speeding ticket or another traffic violation that is a Class C misdemeanor and you do not pay the ticket, you can face additional consequences that can include jail time. According to data from the Texas Office of Court Administration, approximately 1.5 million arrest warrants were issued in 2018 alone for unpaid Class C misdemeanor fines, and more than 500,000 people served jail time for unpaid Class C misdemeanor debts. 

Some Traffic Violations Can Result in Felony Charges

While many traffic violations in Texas are charged as Class C misdemeanor offenses, some traffic violations can result in felony charges and, ultimately, serious penalties in the event of a felony conviction. Examples of traffic violations that may result in felony charges under Texas law include but are not limited to the following:

  • Intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter;
  • DWI convictions after a first offense;
  • DWI with a child passengers in the car; and
  • Traffic violations in which another person is injured or killed.

If you are facing felony charges of any type, including for a traffic violation, you need to have one of our Texas traffic attorneys assist with your case.

Citable Offenses That Do Not Result in Criminal Charges

Parking tickets in Texas are really the only type of traffic-related violations that will not result in criminal charges. However, you can even face consequences for unpaid parking tickets, including additional fees and the possibility of being unable to renew your driver’s license.

Contact a Texas Traffic Violation Defense Attorney

If you were stopped and issued a ticket for a traffic violation, you need to have an experienced Texas traffic defense lawyer on your side to avoid having a criminal record. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm to learn more about how we can assist you. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for more information.