Whenever you drive, you must follow "the rules of the road" to avoid getting a ticket for a traffic violation. For serious traffic violations, you may have to appear in a traffic court. In most states, driving under the influence of alcohol, or DUI, is a serious crime and if you are found guilty, a traffic court judge may sentence you to jail.
Avoid Traffic Court for Minor Violations
After a police officer pulls you over, the ticket you receive will usually state whether you must appear in traffic court or not. If it doesn't, you probably just have to pay a fine if you choose not to dispute it. Common types of minor traffic violations that typically require the payment of a fine include driving a few miles faster than the speed limit and rolling through a stop sign.
Sometimes You Must Appear in Traffic Court
If your traffic violation is serious, for example, driving at dangerous speeds or without a valid license you'll probably need to appear in traffic court. These types of violations have more severe consequences. can include expensive court fines, community service hours, and loss of your driver's license if you have too many points on your record.
You May Be Pulled Over for a DUI
A police officer doesn't always need to suspect that you're drinking and driving to pull you over, but a valid reason is needed, which can be for something as minor, for example, as driving three miles over the speed limit.
However, if after a cop pulls you over he has a reasonable suspicion that you've been drinking, things become more serious than just a minor traffic violation. Depending on the state, you may be asked to submit a breath test, to perform some basic exercises like walking a straight line, or to answer some questions.
Sentences Vary Among States
The sentence, or punishment, you'll face if found guilty of your DUI charge will always depend on the state you're in. However, possible punishments typically include expensive fines, serving time in jail, temporary or permanent loss of your driver's license, and being ordered to complete an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.
A Criminal Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding traffic court sentences is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a criminal lawyer.