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The Difference Between Traffic Infractions and Traffic Offenses

person driving car

Recently on this blog, we've been discussing the habitual offender classification under Colorado law, and how due to current state regulation, it's possible to be hit with a five-year license revocation for an excessive number of smaller traffic violations. For example, while a case of vehicular homicide coupled with a few reckless driving or DUI convictions could put you at risk this punishment, 10 or more minor traffic offenses within a certain time period could also lead to severe repercussions.

However, there is one important distinction that will help you determine your risk for habitual offender penalties, and that is understanding the difference between traffic infractions and traffic offenses:

Traffic infractions - An infraction, according to the Colorado state court system, can include violations such as failing to use a turn signal. These citations lead to civil cases, in which you can either pay a fine or schedule a court appearance to defend your case. Under the definition of a habitual offender, these tickets will not directly affect your status provided they do not warrant the assessment of three or more points on your license.

Traffic offenses - A more serious violation under the law, traffic offenses can include reckless or careless driving. Unlike traffic infractions, these arrests lead to court cases, and if found guilty, you could face fines and jail time as the driver. By racking up three or more separate convictions in a period of seven years, traffic offenses could lead you to be given increased penalties under the law.

Still, while the state makes this information available, understanding how your past convictions put you at risk for a habitual offender designation can be complex. If you're worried about how your driving privileges could be impacted by an upcoming case, don't hesitate to contact a reputable law firm in Denver.