What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Louisiana?
A breach of traffic laws in Louisiana constitutes a traffic violation. The severity of the offense is graded based on the potential harm to property and life. Milder cases are referred to as infractions, while more severe cases are termed misdemeanors or felonies. The State’s laws view traffic violations seriously, and as such, different penalties are issued to the offenders. Penalties range from fines, withdrawal of driving privileges to jail terms. With a few exceptions, a traffic offense is recorded against the offender with the state.
What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Louisiana?
Felony traffic violations refer to traffic offenses that amount to felonious acts under Louisiana’s penal code. This group of traffic violations is interpreted as the most serious traffic offenses in the state. They consist of repeat offenses of what may have been misdemeanors on the first offense. Usually, felony cases are given a jury trial and an attorney representation of the offender. The judge gets to determine the penalty based on the severity of each case. Penalties for traffic felonies include substantial fines of over $2000 and over a year of jail time.
Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Louisiana?
The list of felony traffic offenses is similar to that of misdemeanors, except that repeat or multiple violations scales it up as a felony. Some of them are:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Drunk driving
- Leaving the scene of a crash
- Driving with a revoked license
- Attempted evasion of a police officer
What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Louisiana?
Traffic misdemeanors comprise offenses that are, in addition to fines, punishable by a jail term of three months to one year. Fines may rise as high as $2000 for these cases. Court sessions for misdemeanors often do not need a jury, so the judge gets to determine the appropriate sentence for the offense. While first-time misdemeanors are treated as such, repeat offenses will, by law, attract felony penalties.
Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Louisiana
- Reckless driving
- Unlawful departure from the scene of an accident
- Driving with a withdrawn or suspended license
- Failure to stop at the instance of the law enforcement agent
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)/Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Louisiana?
The mildest traffic offenses are infractions. There is a wide variety of crimes under this category. Most of them will earn the offender a traffic ticket fine in proportion to the offense committed and points on a driving record. However, points on a driving record can lead to hikes in insurance premiums, employment status problems, etc. An accumulation of them will ultimately lead to stiffer penalties such as the suspension of driving privileges or revocation of the driving license altogether.
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Distracted driving
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Not stopping at an intersection
- Driving too close to another vehicle
- Driving too slowly
- Wrong parking
- Driving on the wrong lane
How Does A Traffic Ticket Work In Louisiana?
A traffic ticket (otherwise known as traffic citation in Louisiana) is a copy of a “notice to appear” issued to persons deemed by the law enforcement agencies to have violated traffic regulations. Law enforcement agents could be local or state. An e-ticket could also be generated and transmitted electronically to the offender using the data on the vehicle registration information. Although it reads a notice to appear, it is an option for mild offenses. The alternative is to pay the ticket fine indicated. Others may read a mandatory “notice to appear” in court for more serious crimes and a bail forfeiture/fine.
It is mandatory to pay all ticket fines on or before the due date. Failure to do so can result in the court issuing an arrest warrant or higher fines.
A ticketed individual can either choose to pay the fine or contest the ticket in court. To pay the fine without a contest is to admit guilt. When the court with the appropriate jurisdiction receives payment, it closes the case and sends an abstract of the conviction to the Office of Motor Vehicles. The abstract contains details of the offender, the offense, and the court disposition. Persons opting to fight a ticket in court must enter a not-guilty plea and appear in court on the due date. A traffic ticket attorney’s services give the defendant a better chance to overturn the conviction in court. The non-appearance of the ticketing officer on the day of the hearing also leads to the case’s dismissal. If the defendant is acquitted, all court fees or fines paid will be returned, and the conviction will be deleted from the driving record.
Are Driving Records Public In Louisiana?
Driving records in Louisiana contain personal information that is not available for public access. The Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act protects such contained information. Under this law, eligible entities apart from the person listed in the record are:
- Insurance companies
- Government-authorized staff
How To Find Driving Records In Louisiana?
Driving records in Louisiana can be found at each agency involved in regulating traffic laws in the state. It means that the law enforcement agencies, the traffic courts, and the Office of Motor Vehicles all maintain information about a vehicle user’s driving record in the state. Drivers who have been ticketed before can find copies of their records at the court with current jurisdiction. The Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) generates and maintains all state drivers’ driving records, ticketed or not.
- Requests in person: fill out the Official Driving Record Request Form and bring it along with a $16 fee-payment to the OMV to:
Office of Motor Vehicles
7979 Independence Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
- Mail requests: complete the ODR form. Be sure to include the following information:
- Driver’s license number
- Date of birth
- Class of License (A, B, C, D, or E)
- Audit Number
Enclose a check or money order payment of $16 to:
Office of Motor Vehicles
P. O. Box 64886
Baton Rouge, LA 70896
- Online requests: Involved parties can request an electronic copy of an official driving record by visiting the OMV website and following the instructions. The service is available from 4:00 a.m. till 11:30 p.m. Have ready the necessary information aforelisted and a means of online payment such as a credit/debit card by approved financial agencies. The processing fee is $18- $16 for the record and $2 for the online transaction. For further inquiries, call (225) 925–6146.
Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged Or Sealed In Louisiana?
Yes. Traffic violations and infractions can be removed depending on the nature of the offense. Traffic convictions stay on a record for between 3 to 5 years. The Code of Criminal Procedure Laws of the state makes provisions to remove infractions and misdemeanor convictions from the record by paying the fine and attending a defensive driving school program. Afterward, the following conditions must be met to qualify for removing a conviction from a driving record:
- Article 892.1 of the criminal code enforces the following conditions:
- A notarized affidavit of compliance with court orders
- A 90-day schedule of the court date for the completion of the defensive driving course
- First-time offenders, with no moving violation convictions
- A valid driver’s license
- Traffic misdemeanors only
- No other dismissal in the last two years
- Article 984 enforces the following for traffic misdemeanors, DUIs, and DWIs
- Only one previous moving violation conviction in the last three years
- A 6-month court date schedule for the completion of the defensive driving course
- A 6-month probation period during which no other criminal or traffic violations must be recorded
- A notarized attesting affidavit to court orders
- $50 fee paid to the Department of Public Safety-Motor Vehicles (for DWIs)
- A valid driver’s license
Article 978 allows traffic felonies to be expunged ten years after completing the sentence and all requirements by the law, provided that there has been no pending criminal charge or conviction against the defendant during the period.