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Feifer & Greenberg, LLP
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27 Oct2016

Have I Been Charged with an Infraction or a Misdemeanor?

When you are issued a traffic ticket in New York, they “typical” ticket you might expect to receive is for a moving “violation”.  Speeding tickets, red light tickets, portable electronic device tickets…all are examples of moving violations.  Violations are considered infractions and are the lowest type of “criminal” (as compared to a civil) charge.  There are parking violations, environmental violations like littering or excessive noise, etc.  While these penalties can of course be severe in some cases, in general they will be at the lower end of the penal spectrum.

Since our firm focuses on driving related violations and misdemeanors, we’re going to take a quick look at when your car stop can result in more than just a violation and rise to the level of misdemeanor or even felony. Either of these instances will have you facing more sever potential penalties.


Misdemeanors are the next level of criminal offense after violations. The most typical misdemeanors we’ll see at a firm with a focus on vehicle and traffic law are:

  • Alcohol or drug related driving incidents
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident or fleeing the scene
  • Driving without a valid license
  • Driving without insurance
  • Reckless driving

When a driver is charged with a misdemeanor, they may be taken into custody and forced to pay a bond to get out of jail. Consequences of a misdemeanor traffic violation includes jail time of up to one year, fines, court costs and surcharges.


In some instances, a traffic violation is charged as a felony. When this is the case, someone has typically been injured or there has been significant property damage. In other instances, it is a second, third or fourth offense of the same type. If a person is convicted of a felony, they face prison time, fines, court costs and surcharges. The consequences of a felony are more severe than those of a misdemeanor.

Any person that has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony after a traffic stop in New York needs to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Reach out to our office today for a free case evaluation and learn about the options available to you under current law. Don’t be tempted to fight your ticket on your own. An attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your unique situation.