How to Know if Your Traffic Offense Will Be Treated as a Crime
Ohio treats most alleged traffic offenses as minor violations. You should expect no more than a ticket, potential points on your driving record, and higher insurance rates if you get cited for speeding, running a red light, or doing something else that draws the negative attention of a traffic patrol officer or state trooper.
You have the right to hire a Columbus traffic defense attorney to fight any kind of ticket, of course. But you should also have the option of simply signing and returning the ticket with payment of applicable fines and fees.
An exception would come if you are pulled over for, say, speeding when you already had two speeding convictions within the previous 12 months. Similar two- and three-strike escalations from minor misdemeanors to actual misdemeanors that are punishable by jail terms exist for several moving violations.
Few drivers will ever find themselves in the situations of receiving three separate tickets in a single year. So you must know about four alleged traffic offenses that you must take seriously at all times. Under Ohio law, the following offenses are always treated like crimes:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which state statutes call operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI);
- Physical control, which is similar to OVI except that the police only need to find the accused driver sitting behind the wheel and holding the keys;
- Reckless operation, which is what state statutes call reckless driving; and
- Hit and run, which is also called hit-skip by some police officers and courts.
If you get charged with any of these, you should call a Columbus traffic defense lawyer to discuss the implications and explore your legal options. Been In An Uber Accident? Here’s What You Need To Know
Police need specific types of evidence that they must collect in specific ways to make a case for OVI or physical control. A reckless charge can sometimes amount to a judgment call that you were acting in willful or wanton disregard for other people’s safety. An accusation that you fled the scene of a crash can expose you to felony penalties if someone suffers severe injuries or dies. Collecting, organizing, and presenting evidence that shows you are innocent or deserve a chance to enter a plea to a lesser offense can be difficult or impossible if you act on your own.
A Columbus traffic defense attorney with The Maher Law Firm will welcome opportunities to assist people with all types of traffic, misdemeanor, and felony cases. We offer free phone consultations, and we take on most clients for a flat fee. You can reach us by filling out this online contact form or speak with a lawyer now by calling (614) 205-2208.