Criminal Traffic Violations

Understand the differences between traffic infractions and criminal traffic violations

Understand the differences between traffic infractions and criminal traffic violations

Turn to the trust attorneys in Leesburg, VA

There are traffic infractions and criminal traffic violations in Virginia. It is essential that drivers understand the difference between the two because the consequences vary significantly. For example, a speeding ticket is a traffic infraction whereas driving on a suspended license is a criminal traffic violation.

At Koehler & Vernail, we can help. Our focus on client-centered representation allows us to make certain our clients understand the risks and benefits of any potential trial or plea agreement. We discuss both direct and collateral consequences with our clients, so they understand exactly what they are facing. Contact us today at (703) 669-5644 to discuss your case.


Certain traffic violations are misdemeanors in some situations a felony offenses. Since these are considered criminal offenses, they will appear on a background check. Additionally, depending on the violation, your license may be suspended for up to one year. The potential penalties for felony traffic offenses are even more severe.

Examples of criminal traffic violations include:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving with a revoked license
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving with an open container
  • Driving without a license
  • Failure to get or update a license
  • Eluding
  • Hit and run (if the victim is seriously injured or killed, this could be charged as a felony)
  • No auto insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Third DUI (felony)
  • Vehicular manslaughter

Criminal traffic violations are not to be confused with traffic infractions. Traffic infractions are violations of Virginia law that result in traffic tickets but are not considered convictions that would result in a criminal record and do not carry with them the possibility of jail time.

Some examples of traffic infractions include:

  • Driving too close to another vehicle
  • Driving with a non-working headlight or taillight
  • Failing to come to a complete stop
  • Failure to obey a traffic sign
  • Failure to yield
  • Illegal U-turn
  • Improper passing
  • Improper turn
  • Running a red light
  • Speeding

    If you resolve a traffic ticket by paying the fine and the offense goes on your record and the points for the offense stay on your record for two years. When you obtain a certain number of points within a certain period of time, your license may be suspended.


It is important to understand that every motorist has a constitutional right to counsel, and that the police must obtain a warrant to obtain any of your information. With the proper knowledge and understanding of these rights, you will be prepared for court in defense of your criminal case.

In most instances, with an experienced attorney who understands the facts and circumstances of your case, it can be possible to negotiate a plea deal that is in your favor.