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What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Alabama?

Traffic violations and infractions are infringements on the Alabama State traffic codes. Sentences differ depending on the gravity of these violations. Sentences typically range from hefty fines, incarceration, suspension of license, community service, and additional driving record points. In Alabama, a traffic violation is usually considered a misdemeanor or a felony. However, misdemeanors are not as severe as felonies. A traffic infraction is a breach of specific Alabama Judicial Administration Rules (rule 20). Traffic infractions are relatively minor; hence they are not treated as criminal offenses. Violations classified under offenses typically incur two or more points on your traffic record or a fine.

What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Alabama?

Alabama Felony traffic violations are considered the most grievous of crimes possible on the state's roads. The penalty for felony crimes includes a hefty fine and indictment, Jail time, or suspension of driver's license. While almost the entire Alabama traffic code implements only misdemeanor sanctions for traffic violations; however, some offenses are explicitly expressed as crimes. Penalization of felony traffic depends on the severity of the crime and if the individual is a first time offender or otherwise. Below are some Alabama felony crimes and their possible penalties.

  • Reckless Driving: First time offender may incur 5-90 days jail term with fines ranging from $25-$500. Multiple time offenders can get about ten days to 6 months of jail term along with a $50-$500 fine. A six-month license suspension will also be added.
  • A hit and run scene resulting in bodily injury or even death: The offender may face around ten years of imprisonment and a fine of about $15,000.
  • Fleeing an Officer in an incident that results in injury or death: About ten years of jail term and a fine up to $15,000. A driver's license suspension ranging from six months to two years.

Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Alabama?

  • Shooting or throwing into a vehicle that's occupied
  • Illegally driving past a school bus
  • Counterfeiting or forging an insurance card
  • Forging or altering the certificate of title
  • Vehicle jacking
  • DUI (driving under the influence)
  • DUAC (driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration)
  • Hit-and-run accidents leading to injury or even death of pedestrian or motorist

What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Alabama?

Most Alabama state traffic violations are categorized as misdemeanors; although these offenses are not as grievous as felonies, they are taken seriously in the state. Misdemeanors violations occur when the state's Motor Vehicle and Traffic Code (title 32) are violated. Traffic misdemeanors are more atrocious than infractions. Incidents considered as traffic misdemeanors in Alabama are driving with a suspended driver's license and fleeing a law enforcement officer (no damage or injury).

Penalties for these include community service, license suspension, jail time, and fines. All depending on the degree of the violation as some traffic misdemeanors can quickly become felonies. The standard punishment meted for this violation range from fines of up to $6,000, a year in any county jail facility, and six months or two years of license suspension.

Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Alabama?

Below are some Alabama traffic misdemeanors classed according to the severity of the offense;

  • Hit-and-run (no damage, injury, or death)
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Driving without a driver's license
  • Driving while under intoxication (DWI)
  • Driving without car insurance
  • Refusal to stop after being flagged by an officer
  • Improper passing
  • Reckless driving (no damage, injury, or death)
  • Speeding

What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Alabama

Alabama traffic infractions are minor violations of the traffic laws of the state. These are the least severe traffic violation; hence they are not regarded as criminal acts. The Traffic Court upholds the statutes created as a code of conduct on the Alabama highways. The less heinous infractions mean, the individual gets a few points added to the driving record. While the more substantial violations can result in the withholding, disqualifying, or canceling of the driver's license. If that happens, the offender must pay extra fines for renewal.

Examples Of Traffic Infractions In Alabama

The following are examples of traffic infractions in the state of Alabama;

  • Driving a vehicle that has a tail light or headlight that's faulty
  • Improper parking
  • Loitering
  • Disregard for traffic lights
  • tailgating
  • Making an improper U-turn

How Does Traffic Ticket Work In Alabama?

The state's traffic tickets are issued by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). This is authorized notices given to a road-user that's believed to have violated a traffic code. All traffic violations and crimes can attract traffic tickets, whether it's a felony, misdemeanor, or an infraction. Recipients of traffic tickets should endeavor to respond as soon as possible as late responses may result in extra fines or even an arrest warrant (if the violation is grave). Alabama traffic tickets can significantly impact a diver's driving rights if the individual gets apprehended regularly enough for committing traffic offenses.

For adult and teen drivers in Alabama, the fines for driving offenses can differ. Points are added to the driver's record irrespective of the driver's age at the time of the infringement. The sanctions can be both administrative and criminal. Penalties and fines are also dependent on the seriousness of the breach.

Certain traffic offenses are also categorized as non-moving and moving violations. Moving violations are offenses that occur while the vehicle is in motion—for example, texting while driving. On the other hand, non-moving breaches happen when the car is static. Parking a vehicle in an illegal spot is an example of a non-moving violation. Although moving violations are more severe, they are the most recurrent traffic violation in Alabama. However, there are not regarded as significant offenses and will not lead to severe penalties.

Generally, infraction and minor misdemeanor tickets require only payment of fines. For traffic crimes (felonies), the recipient will have to appear in court. The fines stated on Alabama traffic tickets are payable by mail, online, or in person. In Alabama, some traffic tickets come with surcharges. These are extra fines, namely, processing fees, court costs, etc.

Are Driving Records Public In Alabama?

Alabama state traffic/driving records are accessible to the general public pursuant to the Alabama Code (section 36), except explicitly stated by statute. Some documents are considered sensitive and therefore sealed. Driving/traffic records are documents detailing a road user's traffic convictions, license suspensions, cancellations, revocations, and all points accumulated from those.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the record owner, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Find Driving Records In Alabama?

To obtain a traffic/driving record in Alabama, the requester should contact the state's Department of Public Safety located at:

Alabama Department of Public Safety
Driver License Department
PO. Box 1471
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

The agency is in charge of recording and maintaining all driving records within the state. Alabama driving records can be requested by mail, online, or in person. To gain access to traffic records online, interested persons will have to subscribe to the Alabama Motor Vehicle Driver Abstract Search (DPS). After that, requesters will be asked to enter their business information. (Fees apply). For in-person or mail requests, interested parties will have to fill a request form and then provide specific necessary details. In Alabama, Driving records costs $5.75 and is payable in check or money order form to the state's DPS account.

Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged/Sealed In Alabama?

The Alabama judiciary passed a bill in 2014 that enables a criminal charge on an individual's record to be erased in some instances. Minor traffic infractions are not considered as crimes; hence they are not recorded on the driver's record. However, felonies and major misdemeanor violations are detailed in the documents. The current expungement laws only allow the possibility of violent felony charges to be expunged if the individual is declared "not guilty" at a bench or jury trial. A traffic violation or major infraction can be expunged/sealed if any of the requirements below are met:

  • If a grand jury did not bill the charge
  • If the accused was declared innocent
  • If the traffic charge gets dismissed with prejudice
  • If the charges get dismissed (without prejudice) for over two years, and the case is not reopened. During this time, the defendant must not incur any form of traffic violations.

To file for a driving records expungement, interested persons will need to present a criminal record and either a certified record of arrest, a case action summary record, or disposition record from the authorized agencies. The Interested party will be required to fill an Expungement request form and file with the appropriate County Circuit Court.

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