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Can Traffic Tickets Be a Criminal Offense?

 Posted on October 26,2023 in Traffic Violations

CT defense lawyerIn Connecticut, traffic tickets are typically considered civil offenses. They result from violations of state and local traffic laws, such as speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield. When issued a traffic ticket, drivers often face fines, potential points on their driving record, and the possibility of increased insurance rates.

However, certain traffic violations can escalate to criminal offenses in specific circumstances. While a traffic ticket should always be taken seriously, criminal matters become much more concerning. Always discuss your charges with a Stamford criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

Below are some examples of situations in which a traffic violation can become a criminal offense in Connecticut.

Reckless Driving

Connecticut law defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with a willful disregard for the safety of others. It is considered a criminal offense and can lead to fines, license suspension, and even jail time.


Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) involves driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit. These are serious criminal offenses and can result in fines, license suspension, and potential incarceration.

Evading Responsibility

Leaving the scene of an accident without providing necessary information or rendering aid is considered evading responsibility, which is a criminal offense.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Causing a fatal accident due to reckless or negligent driving can lead to criminal charges of vehicular manslaughter.

Operating a Vehicle without a License

Driving without a valid license or with a suspended or revoked license is a criminal offense in Connecticut.

Engaging in a Police Pursuit

Attempting to flee from the police during a traffic stop or pursuit is a criminal offense. The authorities take this conduct extremely seriously and often charge the harshest offense possible, given the circumstances of the pursuit. 

Excessive Speeding

Connecticut has laws against excessive speeding, and in some cases, driving at very high speeds may be considered reckless driving, leading to criminal charges.

Criminal traffic offenses come with significantly steeper penalties than traffic tickets. Even for misdemeanor offenses, there is often a possibility of jail time or at least probation, which can be costly. The fines increase, and there might be a license suspension possible. Consulting with a Fairfield County traffic defense attorney who is well-versed in Connecticut's laws is vital.

Speak With a Stamford, CT, Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away

While traffic tickets are generally civil offenses, it's essential to take them seriously and address them promptly. Ignoring or mishandling traffic violations can lead to more severe consequences, potentially including criminal charges. If you're unsure about the nature of a traffic offense you've received in Connecticut, seeking legal advice is recommended to understand your rights and responsibilities.

The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner represents clients facing a variety of traffic and criminal issues. When you call the firm, our Fairfield County, CT, defense lawyer can advise you on the possible outcomes of your case and assess legal strategies. Contact us online or call 203-348-5846 for your consultation today. 


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