A traffic violation occurs when one breaks the rules of the road. Unlike a violent crime or even other types of nonviolent crimes, traffic offenses generally aren’t treated as seriously by the court system as are other criminal offenses. However, that doesn’t mean that traffic offenses don’t have consequences and, in some cases, those consequences can be severe. If you are charged with a traffic offense in Rhode Island, our Providence traffic offenses lawyer at the Law Offices of Jay Bianco can help. Reach out to our law firm today to learn more about our services and how we can help.
Types of Traffic Offenses in Rhode Island
Traffic offenses run the gamut in Rhode Island, ranging from very serious crimes–such as drinking and driving–to more minor offenses–such as performing an illegal U-turn. Our lawyer has years of experience representing those facing a number of different traffic offense charges, including:
- Drinking and driving. Drinking and driving, also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired/intoxication (DWI), is one of the most serious traffic offenses in our state. This violation type is so serious that it can even result in jail time.
- Driving without a license. Driving without a license, as well as driving with a suspended license, is another serious offense in our state. This is a misdemeanor offense.
- Reckless driving. Reckless driving is defined by Rhode Island Code Section 31-27-4 as operating a motor vehicle “recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered.” It is also considered “reckless” to elude or flee from a police officer. Both crimes can result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending on whether or not it is a first-time offense.
- Speeding. Speeding varies in its degrees of severity; while few police officers will fault someone who is going one or two miles over the speed limit, going 15 miles over the limit is a different story. Penalties for speeding are assessed based on how much faster than the posted speed limit the offender was traveling.
- Hit and run/leaving the scene of an accident. When two motor vehicles are involved in an accident resulting in injuries or damages, both are required to stop at the scene of the accident. If one leaves before exchanging information with the other driver, they have committed a hit and run, and may face charges for leaving the scene of an accident as such. This can have serious penalties, including immediate license suspension.
In addition to the above, we can also represent clients facing a range of other charges, both minor and severe. We also represent those who are facing vehicular manslaughter charges.
Penalties for Traffic Offenses
The penalties for traffic offenses vary on the type of offense committed, whether or not the offender has any past offenses on their record, and whether or not the offense resulting in injuries or damages to other parties.
For example, failing to stop at the scene of an accident after being involved in a crash that results in injuries will result in an automatic one-year license suspension (up to five years), as well as imprisonment for up to five years, or/and a fine of up to $5,000.
For committing a DUI/DWI offense, the penalties are equally as severe, and include up to one year in jail, license suspension for up to 18 months, and a fine and penalties.
The speeding fine, on the other hand, is $95 for traveling one to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit; traveling 11 miles per hour over the speed limit will result in a fine of $205, with an additional $10 assessed for every mile per hour over 11 that the driver is found guilty of.
In addition to mere fines, though, as well as potential jail time and a license suspension, you may also face a hike in your insurance rates. Note that because the state does not rely on the point system to punish offenders, serious traffic offenses usually result in immediate and harsh penalties.
Should I Defend Myself Against a Traffic Offense?
Sometimes, a person who is charged with a traffic offense wonders whether or not fighting the charge and defending themself is even worth it, especially if the offense they’ve been convicted of is minor. While you are more than welcome to simply pay your fee if you’re facing a non-severe traffic offense (such as a speeding nine miles over the speed limit), doing so may not always be in your best interest. This is particularly true if you’ve been charged with a serious crime, such as fleeing the scene of an accident or driving while impaired. Defending yourself against charges may help you to evade a large fine, jail time, a license revocation, and an increase in your car insurance premiums.
How Can a Traffic Offenses Attorney Help Me?
Working with an attorney can prove very valuable. The first important thing that an attorney can do for you is to explain to you the charges that you’re facing, the potential penalties you’re looking at, and what your rights are. This information in itself can help you to make a smarter decision about what steps to take next.
The next thing that we can do is review the prosecution’s evidence against you, any other evidence relevant to your case, and all of the details of your charges. If we think that you have a strong defense, we can start building your case and advocating for you. If not, we can help you to understand other options available to you, such as negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution in some cases.
Finally, we can make sure that your rights are protected. For example, if the police officers who pulled you over did so without probable cause or searched your vehicle illegally, we can make sure that evidence obtained isn’t used against you.
Call the Law Office of Jay Bianco Today
If you have been charged with a traffic offense and need a lawyer on your side who you can trust to advocate for you and protect your best interests, call our Providence traffic offenses lawyer at the Law Office of Jay Bianco.