What are the offense levels for traffic violations?

| Nov 9, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Traffic violations are incredibly common due to so many people using the roadways. Minnesota House Research explains there are four offense levels of traffic violations that you could face. 

The offense levels are the same as they are for all criminal charges in the state. As levels get higher, the potential sentence and fines increase. 

Petty misdemeanor

The lowest level is the petty misdemeanor. It is not a crime under the law, so there is no potential jail sentence. It usually is an offense for which you receive a ticket, and you can pay the amount listed on the ticket instead of going to court. Fines can run up to $300. If you choose to just pay the fine instead of going to court, then it is the same as pleading guilty. For the most part, traffic violations will fall in this category. 

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are the next offense level, and they are a crime. You will face a criminal charge and have to go before the court. Some are payable offenses where you can pay the fine listed on the ticket, but even if you do this, you still must go to court. There is a jail sentence potential at this level of up to 90 days. Fines may range up to $1,000. 

Gross misdemeanor and felony

The two highest offense levels are gross misdemeanors and felonies. These are severe criminal charges that carry longer jail or prison terms and high fines. Most traffic offenses will not be at these levels, but certain ones, such as a DUI, could be either a gross misdemeanor or a felony.