Published in Criminal Law by Carey York on September 27, 2023.
If you are facing misdemeanor or felony traffic violations, having these types of charges on your record can make life more difficult. It is important to know exactly what type of criminal charges you are facing and how they can affect your livelihood. Here, we’re explaining the differences between misdemeanor and felony traffic violations and their potential consequences. If you have an ongoing case you need help with, reach out to Eskew Law to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.
Firstly, it is worth noting that there is a significant difference between basic moving violations, also known as infractions, and misdemeanor or felony violations. Basic moving violations are typically minor and involve paying a monetary fine with no criminal charges. Examples of basic traffic infractions include, but are not limited to speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, failure to use a turn signal, and littering.
While these violations are typically considered minor, they can be considered a misdemeanor if the offense has the potential to result in injury or destruction of property. Some examples of criminal misdemeanor traffic violations include DUI and OWI, Reckless Driving, Driving Without a License, Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License, and Aggressive Driving.
In Indiana, there are three classes of misdemeanors, Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A misdemeanors are considered the most severe.
Each class carries a maximum punishment:
- Class A: Up to one year of jail time and/or fines of up to $5,000
- Class B: Up to six months of jail time and/or fines of up to $1,000
- Class C: Up to sixty days of jail time and/or fines of up to $500
When Does a Misdemeanor Become a Felony
Misdemeanors have the potential to turn into felonies if the offense is deemed severe or in the case of prior traffic violation convictions on your record. Additionally, there are several traffic offenses that are considered felonies In Indiana.
Some examples of felony traffic violations include, but are not limited to vehicular homicide, multiple DUI convictions, repeatedly driving without a license, fleeing from law enforcement, leaving the scene of an accident – also known as a “hit and run,” and reckless driving that results in injury or property damage.
Levels of Felonies in Indiana
There are six levels of felonies in Indiana, with Level 1 being the most severe. Each level carries a maximum punishment including imprisonment and/or fines:
- Level 1: 20 – 45 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 2: 10 – 30 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 3: 3 – 20 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 4: 2 – 12 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 5: 1 – 6 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- Level 6: 6 months – 2 ½ years and/or up to $10,000 in fines
Felony traffic violation charges can also result in other penalties such as the suspension of your driver’s license for up to ten years, insurance premium increases, driver training or re-training classes, being prohibited from owning a firearm, and others.
Contact Eskew Law
Are you facing felony traffic violation charges? Our team of dedicated and experienced Indiana criminal defense attorneys are available to discuss the charges you are facing and develop an effective defense strategy based on your case needs. Contact Eskew Law today!