Traffic violations are divided into major violations and minor violations. The most minor type is a parking violation, which is not counted against a driving record, though a person may be arrested for unpaid violations. Increasing in severity are speeding and other moving violations, which usually do not require a court appearance. More serious moving violations are reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. The most severe violation is drunk driving, also called DUI or DWI.
All but the most serious traffic violations generally are prosecuted as misdemeanors; however, repeat offenders may be prosecuted at the level of felonies. As misdemeanor charges, most traffic violations require payment of a fine but no jail time. State laws do not allow a judge to impose a jail sentence for speeding or failure to stop at a signal. However, more serious traffic violations, such as drunk or reckless driving, may result in jail time at the judge’s discretion.