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What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Kentucky?

Traffic violations and infractions are terms used to describe breaches of the traffic laws of the state of Kentucky. The law may address the offenses by issuing a fine to the trespasser or schedule a trial. The Courts of Justice have exclusive jurisdiction over traffic offenses within the state. Infractions are generally less severe in gravity than traffic violations. For this reason, persons charged for traffic violations are more prone to stiffer penalties, sometimes even jail terms.

What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Kentucky?

Felony Traffic violations are criminal offenses that were committed in association with the violation of traffic rules. They attract much higher fines, withdrawal of driving rights, or even a jail term. They can be defined from the onset by the nature of the crime ab initio or a traffic violation that led to property damage, injury to persons, or even the loss of life. A typical example of a traffic felony ab initio is Driving Under the Influence (DUI).. On the other hand, a collision with another road user due to the refusal to yield the right of way could become a felonious traffic assault. Felonies are punishable by more than one year in jail under Kentucky traffic laws. Felonies are generally classified in the state as Class, A, B, C, D:

  • Class A felonies are more severe and attract a minimum of 20 years in jail.
  • Class B felonies are served prison terms ranging from 10 to 20 years.
  • Class C felonies risk a five to 10-year prison term.
  • Class D felony punishments lie between two and five years.

All felonies almost always attract increased payments of fines, according to Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 534.030 (2019), and persons with a previous felony record are awarded more severe punishments based on Ky’s provisions in Rev. Stat. Ann. § 532.080 (2019).

Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Kentucky

Felony traffic violations in Kentucky include:

  • Driving with a revoked license
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Reckless driving

What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Kentucky?

Traffic misdemeanors in Kentucky are milder in severity than felony traffic violations. Most traffic misdemeanors are awarded a ticket fine except in cases where alcoholic influence is involved or the traffic offender resists being ticketed. Most traffic misdemeanors also require a mandatory court appearance. In Kentucky, misdemeanor charges are classified into A and B. Class A misdemeanors attract jail terms up to a year while class B misdemeanors are awarded prison terms not more than three months. Note that fines are included in all cases of traffic misdemeanors.

Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Kentucky?

Some of the typical traffic misdemeanors in Kentucky are

  • Driving without an insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Assault at another vehicle user
  • Refusing to stop at the scene of an accident
  • Evidence of alcohol consumption while driving example, the presence of an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
  • Distracted driving leads to the injury of another.

Some cases may use a jury trial; some may not. However, the judge gets to decide the sentence based on the severity of a case in point. Additionally, if an individual is charged with a repeat offense, the penalty awarded may be scaled up to a felony’s equivalent.

What Constitutes a Traffic Infraction In Kentucky?

Traffic infractions in Kentucky represent the mildest of all traffic violations. They do not require any form of incarceration as a penalty unless there is a secondary offense, such as assaulting the patrol officer. However, they attract traffic ticket fines as well as a negative traffic record.

Common examples are

  • Distracted driving example texting while driving
  • Ignoring a red light signal
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Improper parking
  • Tailgating
  • Going with an expired license
  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Changing drivers in a moving vehicle

The infractions above attract ticket fines and points from 3 to 6. An accumulation of 12 points within 24 months can lead to the withdrawal of driving privileges. The Kentucky point system also recognizes repeat offenses and treats them with more severe penalties, including higher fines or a court hearing. Mandatory court hearings for traffic infractions in Kentucky are reserved for the following offenses:

  • Twenty miles-per-hour beyond the speed limit
  • Car racing on an unauthorized road
  • Attempt to evade a patrol officer

How Does A Traffic Ticket Work In Kentucky?

Kentucky traffic tickets are formal allegations issued in writing by a patrol officer to someone who has violated the traffic law. There are two kinds of tickets in the state:

  • Moving violation tickets
  • Non-moving violation tickets

Moving traffic violation tickets are issued to offenses that occur when the vehicle is in motion. All moving violation tickets attract both fines and a driving conviction. Non-moving violation tickets are issued for fences such as wrong parking or incomplete vehicle equipment. This type of ticket attracts fines, but they’re often not filed against the offender as a conviction. The rule of prompt payment, however, applies to both tickets. Failure to do so will attract penalties such as the suspension of driving licenses, higher fines, or even a court arraignment.

When an offender receives a ticket, there are three possible ways to respond to it.

  • Plead guilty and pay the fine
  • A no plea bargain and pay the fine.
  • A not guilty plea and fight the ticket

The first two options will result in a driving conviction after the payment. Here, the Court of Justice to which the case was filed closes the case and enters a conviction on the offender’s driving record with the Division of License. A conviction is represented by points that will remain on the driving record for two years from conviction. Points on a driving record can lead to higher insurance rates, difficulties getting employment, and a minus on the criminal history record.

If the offender chooses to fight the ticket, they must enter a not guilty plea for which a court hearing will be arranged. The individual may opt to self-represent or get the services of a traffic ticket lawyer. The case could be dismissed if the issuing officer fails to appear on the day of the hearing. If there is overwhelming evidence that the ticketed individual was innocent of the charges, the case will also be dismissed. When this happens, all initial fees paid by the individual is returned in full. Such individuals can also file for the expunction of that record from their driving history.

Are Driving Records Public In Kentucky?

The Division of Driver Licensing in Kentucky offers three-year driving records to the public and third-party requests by Kentucky state laws. However, the third-party requesters will not have access to any personal information in the record, such as social security number, physical description, or address. A full driving history record will contain identifying information and is issued to third parties only if they present a notarized release from the driver named in the record or a subpoena.

How To Find Driving Records In Kentucky?

A full driving history record is a five-year record. It can be obtained from the division of driver licensing for $3 as a money order or certified check made payable to the Kentucky state treasurer. A request could be sent in person or by mail. To do so in person, visit the Division of Driver Licensing Regional Field Office. To submit a request by mail, put it in writing, enclosing the following information:

  • The name of the requester
  • Social security number or driver’s license number
  • Date of birth current address
  • A copy of a notarized release (in the case of third-party request)

Enclose the check or money order and mail it to

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Division of Driver Licensing

Attn: Driver History Records / Fees Section

200 Mero Street

Frankfort, KY 40622

A full driving history record is not available via an online application. However, three-year records are obtainable at $5.50. The request is processed in the form of a downloadable copy. Note that online requests are approved only for the holders of the record.

Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged Or Sealed In Kentucky?

Generally, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet removes points two years after the conviction date but retains the violation for five years. More serious traffic violations such as a DUI will stay on the record for at least ten years. Traffic misdemeanors will attract a five-year waiting period before the individual can file for an expunction, provided that the individual does not get recorded for another conviction. DUI is a class D felony conviction on the eligibility list for expunction in Kentucky, and an individual may only have this privilege once. In other words, repeat felony convictions cannot be expunged. Also, note that felony expunction is based on the discretion of the judge. It cost $100 per case to expunge a traffic misdemeanor and $450 to $500 for a felony expunction process. Persons seeking expunction due to an acquittal or dismissal of their case do not have to pay. If the individual cannot afford the expunction fee, he/she may attempt to have it waived using an in forma pauperis motion. Non-conviction filings are expunged 60 days from the date of dismissal, while others may take longer.

To begin and expunction process, obtain a certificate of eligibility. It cost $40 to do this. Next, file all documents with the court where the charges originated along with the certificate of eligibility. The filing must be done within 30 days of receiving the certificate.

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