When Car Accidents Become Criminal

After getting a speeding ticket recently in Chicago, I became more interested in car-related laws throughout the United States. I know that a lot of Americans have trouble obeying the rules of the road and many people get injured as a result. States are cracking down on their drunk driving and distracted driving laws to prevent accidents from occurring, which I believe is a good thing. 

Some states, like Florida, have no-fault insurance laws, making it hard for victims of car accidents to sue when they’ve been injured by drunk or distracted drivers. However, these no-fault laws don’t apply to every situation and criminal consequences still stand.

If you’ve been injured in a Florida car accident because of a drunk or distracted driver, you may want to speak to a personal injury lawyer from Gross & Schuster, P.A.. A personal injury lawyer can give you guidance on how to get the money you deserve for your injuries. You can let the police deal with how to criminally charge the at-fault party in your case.

Driving-Related Criminal Penalties in Florida

One criminal charge related to driving in Florida is leaving the scene of an accident. If you get in an accident and the person who hit you leaves the scene, they can be charged with a hit and run. 

If only property damage occurred in the accident, the driver may face a second-degree misdemeanor charge for fleeing the scene—which can result in up to sixty days in jail and up to $500 in fines. If you were injured in an accident and the driver flees, the driver may face a second-or third-degree felony. This felony may result in their driver’s license being revoked for a minimum of three years, a prison sentence of up to five years, and a $5,000 fine. 

Drivers may face criminal charges for driving under the influence as well. For a first-time DUI in Florida, the driver may have to spend up to six months in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines. Penalties are increased if the driver is drinking and causes an accident with bodily injury.

Even though Florida is a no-fault insurance state, drivers aren’t off the hook when they act negligently behind the wheel. Drivers can face both civil and criminal charges for their negligent actions whether they’re drinking, distracted, or if they flee the scene of an accident. As a Canadian in America, I’m glad I know these laws. I’ll definitely stay hyper-aware when behind the wheel!

Speeding in the United States vs. Canada

I was recently visiting Chicago and rented a car to go sightseeing. Unfortunately, while I was driving, I got pulled over for speeding. I considered hiring a Chicago speeding ticket lawyer to fight the ticket because I didn’t feel that the ticket was warranted, but because I was going home to Canada in a week, it was easier for me to pay the ticket and a call it a day.

After dealing with the speeding ticket fine in Chicago, it got me thinking about speeding laws in Canada versus speeding laws in the United States. I wondered what the difference was between the two countries and whether the penalties were more severe in one place. I also wondered which country made it easier to fight the ticket and get it reduced, so I began my research.

Speeding in the United States

Speeding laws vary depending on which part of the United States you’re in. Usually, there are levels of speeding penalties, with the least severe penalties being civil infractions. If you’re caught speeding, you may have to pay a fine and points may be added to your driving record. If you pay the fine, you’re automatically admitting guilt to the speeding charge. 

You can, however, fight your speeding ticket in traffic court. You won’t need a lawyer to fight your case, although a lawyer can be beneficial. When you speak to the judge, you can either admit guilt and try to enter a plea bargain to lessen your charges and keep points off your driving record or you can plead not guilty and argue your case for innocence.

More severe speeding charges in the United States may result in criminal misdemeanor or felony charges. If your speeding charge involved a minor in the vehicle, bodily injury, or reckless driving, you may be required to attend court.

Speeding in Canada

Speeding laws in Canada are similar to speeding laws in the United States. The speed limits vary in Canada by province, and fines vary depending on speed. If you’re caught going 50km over the speed limit, your car will automatically be impounded for a week. Similar to the United States, paying a speeding ticket automatically results in a guilty plea and demerit points on your driving record.

If you want to fight your ticket, you can do so by attending court. If the ticketing officer doesn’t appear, your case will be dismissed. No matter where you live, it’s important to assess your driving record and determine whether you can afford more points. If you can’t, fighting your ticket may be essential to avoid a license suspension.