Traffic offenses may seem minor on the surface, but they can have far-reaching impacts on your life through your car insurance rates, points on your driver’s license, or by affecting your employment if you drive as any part of your job.
When you get a ticket, you may think you should just pay it and move on with your life. However, paying a ticket is the same as a guilty plea, and if you’re charged with a criminal traffic offense such as aggressive driving, you don’t have the option of paying a ticket and must go through the court process.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a traffic infraction or a criminal traffic offense, you may find that possible consequences include:
- Jail time in the case of a misdemeanor or felony traffic violation
- Points on your driver’s license
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Increased car insurance premiums
- Loss of your commercial driver’s license
- Increased likelihood of being found negligent in a civil lawsuit if your traffic violation resulted in an accident
It’s always worth considering whether an Indianapolis traffic lawyer can help you to minimize the effects of a traffic ticket on your life, or help you to fight a criminal traffic charge.
Common Indiana Traffic Offenses
There are dozens of types of traffic infractions and violations on the books in Indiana — anything from having a busted tail light to passing another car by crossing the center line. At Hessler Law, we can help with any type of moving violation for which you may have received a ticket, or any type of criminal traffic charge.
However, some of the most common types of traffic offenses we see include:
Speeding is an infraction in Indiana, and the fines you pay depend upon how fast you were alleged to have been driving and by how many miles per hour you exceeded the posted or legal speed limit. In some instances, when your speed is so fast that other people or their property was endangered, you may be charged with the misdemeanor offense of reckless driving in Indiana.
When you plead guilty or are found guilty of speeding, in addition to fines you also will accrue points on your driver’s license. The number of points is based on how much you were over the posted or legal speed limit at the time you were clocked for speeding. Under the Indiana Administrative Code, when you get a speeding ticket, the number of points that may be added to your license include:
- 2 points if the excessive speed isn’t indicated on your ticket
- 2 points for 1 to 15 mph over the limit
- 4 points for 16 to 25 mph over the speed limit
- 6 points for more than 25 mph over the speed limit
Sometimes it may seem like the only option you have when you get a speeding ticket is to pay it and move on. However, when you pay a speeding ticket, you’re actually admitting guilt, and that can have consequences beyond a mere fine — and there may be several potential ways that a skilled Indiana traffic defense lawyer can help you fight the ticket and avoid higher insurance premiums and points on your driver’s license.
Driving With A Suspended or Revoked License
If you’re caught driving when you know that your license is suspended or revoked, a first offense is a Class A infraction punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 under Section 34-28-5-4 of the Indiana Code. Driving under suspension is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 when your license was suspended because you were convicted of a criminal misdemeanor or felony offense, such as a DUI.
If you are convicted of a second or subsequent offense of knowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license within 10 years, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
However, for offenses committed after January 1, 2015, driving with a suspended license may be a felony:
- Level 6 Felony — Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 when you are convicted of causing someone injury while driving under suspension.
- Level 5 Felony — Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a Level 5 felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 when you are convicted of causing a death while driving under suspension.
In addition to a jail or prison sentence and fines, when you are cited or convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license, your driver’s license suspension may be extended, and you’ll accrue 8 points on your driver’s license.
In Indiana, you may be charged with the criminal traffic offense of reckless driving when you’re suspected of:
- Driving so unreasonably fast or so unreasonably slow that you endanger the safety or property of others, or block traffic
- Pass another vehicle on a slope or curve where you can’t see more than 500 feet ahead
- Unlawfully drive in and out of a line of traffic
- When someone else tries to pass you, you speed up or refuse to give half of the roadway to the passing driver
- Pass a stopped school bus when the signal arm is extended
Reckless driving is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 when you pass a school bus and that results in someone getting injured.
Additionally, you’ll accrue 6 points on your driver’s license just for a reckless driving conviction. However, if your reckless driving resulted in injury or property damage, you’ll accrue 8 points on your driver’s license and a mandatory driver’s license suspension.
In addition to reckless driving, you may be charged with the more serious misdemeanor offense of aggressive driving in Indiana when you are suspected of certain behaviors on the road that some people might consider “road rage” behaviors. A charge of aggressive driving may result from doing at least three of the following during one episode of driving:
- Following another car too closely
- Unsafe operation of a vehicle
- Passing another vehicle on the right by driving off the roadway
- Unsafe stopping or slowing
- Unnecessary sounding of your car horn
- Failing to yield
- Failing to obey a traffic signal device
- Driving at an unsafe speed
- Repeatedly flashing your headlights
When you do any of these things with the intent to harass or intimidate someone in another vehicle, and you both know that you’re driving aggressively and intend to drive aggressively, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for conviction include up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, 8 points on your driver’s license, and a driver’s license suspension.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
When a driver gets into a car accident in Indiana, he or she is required to stop and provide information, including your name, address, and vehicle registration number, to any other people involved in the crash. If someone was injured or killed, Indiana law says you must render reasonable assistance, and immediately report the accident to law enforcement.
If you fail to stop or fail to report an accident as required, you may be charged with a criminal offense. The basic offense of leaving the scene of an accident or failing to report, also known as hit and run, is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, the offense may be more serious under certain circumstances.
- Class A Misdemeanor — You may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 when the accident resulted in physical injury to another person.
- Level 6 Felony — You may be charged with a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 when the accident resulted in serious physical injury to another person or when you have a previous conviction for certain types of traffic offenses within the preceding 5 years.
- Level 5 Felony — You may be charged with a Level 5 felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 when the another person was killed in the accident.
- Level 3 Felony — You may be charged with a Level 3 felony punishable by 3 to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 when you are convicted of knowingly and intentionally failing to stop or report an accident that caused serious injury when you were driving while intoxicated.
In addition to a potential jail or prison sentence and significant fines, a conviction for hit and run results in 8 points added to your driver’s license, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension.
Habitual Traffic Violators
Drivers who are convicted of multiple traffic violations in a 10-year period may may be designated as Habitual Traffic Violators. Underlying offenses that may result in a Habitual Traffic Violator designation may include:
- Reckless driving
- Leaving the scene or failure to report an accident
- Driving under the influence
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter involving a vehicle
- Drag racing
- A sufficient number of any moving violation convictions
Habitual Traffic Violators face serious potential penalties in Indiana that may include:
- Suspension of your driver’s license for life when you have two or more convictions for OWI that resulted in death within a 10-year period
- 10-year driver’s license suspension when you are convicted of two or more traffic offenses in a 10-year period that involved an injury or death
- 10-year driver’s license suspension when you are convicted for three major traffic offenses in a 10-year period
- 5-year suspension when you accumulate 9 or more traffic violations in a 10-year period, such as speeding tickets, plus one major offense, which can include driving with a suspended license
If you’re currently facing an infraction or offense that will put you into the category of Habitual Traffic Violators, it’s crucial that you talk to an experienced Indiana traffic defense lawyer about your options if you don’t want to lose your license for years — or even for life.
Driver’s License Points
Many traffic violations and criminal traffic offenses in Indiana result in points being added to your driver’s license when you pay the ticket, plead no contest, or are found guilty of the violation or offense. Points can range from 2 points added for relatively minor offense such as an equipment violation up to 8 points added for a serious offense such as aggressive driving or leaving the scene of an accident.
Points stay on your record for 2 years from the date of your conviction, and when you accrue a certain number of points, you face suspension of your driver’s license. Under Section 1.4-5.4 of the Indiana Administrative Code, cumulative points result in the following penalties:
- 18 points — 12 months of probation
- 20 points — 1 month driver’s license suspension and 11 months of probation
- 22 points — 2 months suspension and 10 months of probation
- 24 points — 3 months suspension and 9 months of probation
- 26 points — 4 months suspension and 8 months of probation
- 28 points — 5 months suspension and 8 months of probation
- 30 points — 6 months suspension and 6 months of probation
- 32 points — 7 months suspension and 5 months of probation
- 34 points — 8 months suspension and 4 months of probation
- 36 points — 9 months suspension and 3 months of probation
- 38 points — 10 months suspension and 2 months of probation
- 40 points — 11 months suspension and 1 month of probation
- 42 or more points — 12 months suspension
You may be able to offset some of the points on your license by taking a state-approved driver improvement course. Indiana allows you to get up to 4 points of credit once every three years in this manner.
However, if you’re facing a traffic violation or offense that can be penalized with enough points to result in suspension of your license, your best option for keeping your driver’s license may be to seek help from a skilled Indiana traffic defense lawyer who can help you fight the infraction or charge, or work to convince a prosecutor or judge to reduce the charge to one that carries fewer or no points.
Indianapolis offers many attractions that bring in tourists and visitors, including professional sports teams and the world-famous Indy 500 auto race. It’s not unusual for people to drive to Indianapolis from other places around the Midwest to take in the sports scene, or our thriving local arts and entertainment scene. It’s also not unusual for drivers from other states to find themselves facing speeding tickets or other traffic violations from Indiana law enforcement.
It can be a stressful proposition to have to fight a ticket — or to face a criminal traffic charge — in another state while you’re away from home. However, you don’t have to go it alone. You can hire an attorney to appear on your behalf in court and to minimize — or depending on your circumstances even eliminate — the possibility that you have to spend time and money traveling back to Indiana because of your alleged traffic violation.
If you’re a driver from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, or another state who got a ticket in Indiana and you want to explore your options for a defense, call Hessler Law for a consultation today.
Key Topics Related to Indiana Traffic Violations
A traffic violation Indianapolis can result in points being added to your driver’s license. What may not seem like a big deal now could have detrimental consequences on your future. When you’re looking for the right Marion County traffic lawyer to handle your traffic case, you want someone who knows the details of Indiana’s traffic laws, and how traffic offenses are treated in courtrooms in Indianapolis. At Hessler Law, we offer relevant information on these pages, but also invite you to call us to discuss the individual circumstances of your case and what you can do about your traffic violation.
- Driving Under Suspended License — If you are caught driving under a suspended license, you likely have many questions about your future. There are many options for a good defense. At Hessler Law, our Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys will analyze every aspect of your case to make certain your rights are protected.
- Reckless Driving — Facing a charge of reckless driving in Indiana can terrifying. Charged with reckless driving in Indiana? Don’t delay in giving yourself a strong defense. At Hessler Law, we have helped numerous individuals fight their reckless driving charges.
- Speeding — For help in fighting your speeding ticket, contact one of the experienced Indianapolis traffic lawyers at Hessler Law today.
- Why Fight an Indianapolis Traffic Citation? — At Hessler Law, our Indianapolis traffic lawyers have a proven track record helping people like you beat their traffic citations. Learn how we can help you today.
Experienced Defense For Your Indiana Traffic Offense
When you’re looking for the right lawyer to handle your traffic case, you want someone who knows the details of Indiana’s traffic laws, and how traffic offenses are treated in courtrooms in Indianapolis and Marion County. At Hessler Law, we have experience defending a variety of traffic charges, and ensuring that our clients get due process in court — no matter how small the case seems. We fight zealously for every client we represent, and put our years of experience on both the prosecution and defense sides of criminal and traffic matters to work for you.
This website is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.