Skip to main content

Which traffic violations are considered misdemeanors? civil infractions? and felonies? (Ohio vs. Michigan)

Toledo, OH |

Please correct me if I am wrong in any of the below statements

In Michigan:
My understanding was that violations like speeding tickets and A.C.D.A are considered civil infractions.
Things like DUI, reckless driving, driving without license/insurance, etc are considered felonies.

Which traffic violations are generally considered misdemeanors under Michigan state law?
and how do the above statements differ under Ohio state law?

In Ohio:
My understanding was that, almost all traffic incidents, including speeding tickets, are generally considered misdemeanors
What are considered traffic civil infractions? What are traffic felonies?

If anyone could also reference government websites highlighting the specific differences, I would appreciate it. Requesting specific answers. Thank you

Some facts pertaining to a situation that I am in: I have only 2 criminal/misdemeanor records: 1) speeding ticket in Toledo Ohio (minor misdemeanor) back in 2010 2) ACDA in Sylvania Ohio (minor misdemeanor) back in 2008 The reason why I'm questioning the differences between Ohio and Michigan traffic laws is because I was offered a job in Ann Arbor MI and the employers performed a background check on me. Needless to say, the report indicated "misdemeanor" on the report. Because of the ambiguity of the term "misdemeanor" being used in completely different ways in Ohio and Michigan, the job offer was rescinded and now pending for reconsideration. The employers in Ann Arbor think that I was DUI, driving with suspended license, driving with alcohol, etc. What can I do in a situation where there are conflicting state laws?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    it would be easier to answer your question if it were more specific, like give us the facts of your situation -- but yes, in ohio most traffic offenses (e.g. speeding, running red lights) are minor misdemeanors (max $150 fine, no possibility of jail). there are many exceptions, though; for example, a third speeding ticket in 12 months will be charged as a 4th degree misdemeanor. a red light camera ticket is a civil matter. there really aren't "traffic felonies"; something like a 4th OVI in 6 years would be charged as a felony, but would be considered a criminal, rather than a traffic, offense.

    i'm not licensed in michigan. maybe you should talk to someone in the toledo area who practices in both jurisdictions.

  2. i can only answer about Ohio traffic violations. You are correct that, in Ohio unlike some states, all traffic offenses are classified as some type of misdemeanor, usually minor misdemeanors which are only punishable by fine. Not all may agree with this, but I actually like the fact they're classified as misdemeanors because you get the entire panoply of constitutional rights associated with criminal offenses, such as privilege against self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and, especially, presumption of innocence. The only type of civil traffic infractions in Ohio are those detected by those red-light cameras we've all grown to hate.

    Some more serious traffic offenses may be classified as more severe types of misdemeanors, punishable by a jail sentence, for which you need to get a lawyer. Driving under suspension, OVI, reckless operation, driving without a license, second-offense speeding within a year, and hit-skip, are all more serious types of misdemeanors.

  3. I am only licensed to practice in Ohio and I don't know much about Michigan law. However, I highly doubt Michigan treats most instances of DUI, reckless driving, no license/insurance as felonies. A felony by definition is any crime thats carries a potential sentence of 12 months or more in prison. A quick internet search shows that a low tier DUI in Michigan is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and therefore, it is not a felony. has some useful info.

    I suggest paying a good private investigator to perform a background check on you and see what they come up with. Then you will have some idea of what shows up.

Wills and estates topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics