When you’re pulled over for a traffic ticket, chances are good that you’re not expecting to be arrested for a little speeding or a faulty brake light. However, people are arrested in traffic stops all the time. So, what’s the big difference between the two? 

It may seem obvious that there’s a big difference between the two, but it’s not always so easy. Often, the line between the two may not seem so clear. That’s why we’re here to lay out the differences between the two and what you can expect when you see blue lights in the rearview mirror. 

The Costs of a Traffic Violation

When you’re pulled over, you may be dealing with a simple moving violation. Typically, if the infraction wasn’t severe, you’ll be dealing with what may seem like a small deal. You may even be debating whether you need a traffic ticket lawyer in Denver, though they may be vital for your license. 

Your typical traffic violation is usually relatively minor, but could have caused an accident. For example, making an illegal U-turn is dangerous, but it’s not enough to warrant an arrest. That doesn’t mean you should just accept the penalties, though. 

In fact, the penalties may be more severe than you realize. The fines may not seem so severe, for example, but they can add up. Worse, the penalties to your license could affect your future. Enough points on your license could lead to a license suspension, which leaves you without driving privileges for some time after your traffic stop. 

Criminal Traffic Violations Can Affect Your Freedom

If you’re accused of making a criminal traffic violation, the penalties may be more severe. For example, you may be arrested for the charges against you. First, though, what counts as a criminal traffic violation? 

Typically, the difference is how severe the potential for damage is. For example, texting while driving is dangerous, and it causes a lot of accidents, but you’ll only receive a ticket for it. Drunk driving, however, is a crime because it can be so deadly. It’s more avoidable, too, which means it’s especially reckless. 

If you’re arrested for a criminal traffic violation, chances are good that you’ll face more severe penalties, too. For example, you may receive months or years in jail or prison, depending on whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. You may also face higher fines and other restrictions to your license. You could even have your license revoked completely. 

Talk to a Lawyer Before Any Traffic Court Dates

When you’re pulled over for a traffic violation, you may simply be holding a ticket after the fact. You’re not being read your rights, and you’re not being taken to the police station. However, that traffic ticket can still do some damage to your driving record, and it can affect your life. 

Because of this, you may need to contact a lawyer anyway. If you’re worried about a criminal traffic offense, or if you’re just trying to beat a traffic ticket rather than face the consequences, you may need to take the ticket to a lawyer. 

While the difference can be pretty stark, it’s important to understand it before you’re pulled over. You need to know what to expect when your future could be on the line.