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Civil vs. Criminal Traffic Tickets: What’s the Difference?


When you’re pulled over by the police, your first thought may be frustration at being pulled over. It can be an embarrassing situation, and it can cause a lot of trouble for you now and in the future. Plus, the type of traffic ticket you’ve received, whether civil or criminal, can make a big difference. 

How do you fight these different tickets, and how do you know the difference between them? Let’s take a look at some of the key ways these traffic ticket types can differ. 

Impacts of a Civil Traffic Ticket 

When you’re issued a civil traffic ticket, you’ve been accused of committing a traffic violation. That may include speeding, illegal U-turns, or failing to stop at a traffic light, among others. But these lesser traffic violations can still come with severe consequences. 

A fine may not seem so bad, but paying your traffic ticket can come with a steeper price than that. For example, the insurance company will notice the traffic ticket. That can lead to higher insurance premiums. In some cases, you may even lose your insurance coverage, leaving you to find an insurance policy that covers your needs despite your ticket. 

You can even lose your drivers license. Every traffic ticket conviction adds points to your license. If you earn twelve points within twelve months, your license can be suspended. Some tickets can trigger an automatic suspension all by themselves.

Penalties for Criminal Traffic Violations

When you’re accused of a criminal traffic violation, you may face harsher penalties that may even end in jail time and other serious repercussions. Criminal traffic tickets are issued for situations where the police have charged you with a crime. You may be arrested for the alleged offense and taken to jail. 

These traffic tickets are often more dire because you may be left with a criminal record. That record can haunt you for years following a conviction, impacting job and housing opportunities. For example, if you’re a truck driver and you’re convicted for driving under the influence while driving a commercial truck, you may lose your license, among other potential penalties for a DUI.

How a Lawyer Can Help in Both Cases 

Whether you’re facing a civil traffic ticket or a criminal violation, you need the help of a seasoned attorney to get the best results. Both types of tickets can impact your life with consequences that will follow you for months or years. Luckily, you don’t have to plead guilty. 

Your lawyer at Hersem Law can help you plead not guilty to your traffic ticket in a Florida courtroom. They can then help you to prepare your defense, which will depend on the details of your case. Then, your lawyer can represent you in the courtroom. They can seek out a reduction in your charges or even get your ticket dismissed in some cases. 

Bring Your Traffic Ticket to a Lawyer 

When you’re facing a traffic ticket, ignoring it or paying it without fighting back can hurt your future. That ticket can leave you in trouble that may last for months or even years. 

Here’s the good news—the lawyers at Hersem Law want to help you fight your ticket. Start with a free strategy session, where we can discuss your best options to get your charges reduced or dismissed, whether it’s a civil or a criminal ticket. Call 813-251-7291 or complete the following online contact form to get answers about your case.