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What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Alaska?

Alaska State traffic-related offenses may be violations or infractions. The state’s trial courts hear traffic crimes, and their penalties are determined based on the severity of the offense.

While traffic infractions are minor offenses that offenders may resolve by paying fines and participating in driving programs, traffic violations are more severe and punishable by imprisonment. Under Alaska traffic laws, traffic violations are generally classified as misdemeanor and felony offenses. In most cases, individuals that commit traffic violations may be required to make an appearance before a traffic court.

What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Alaska?

Under Alaska law, felony convictions are serious offenses that are punishable by at least a year imprisonment in a state jail facility. The penalty for felony traffic violations might also include fines. Felony traffic offenses typically attract the state’s highest penalties because they often involve death, serious injuries, or destruction of property.

Under the Alaska statutes on Classification of Offenses, there are three classes of felony offenses:

  • Class A felony: This class contains traffic violations that result in serious physical injury to individuals. It is potentially punishable by up to 20 years incarceration and a potential fine of up to $250,000
  • Class B felony: offenses under this class typically result in bodily injuries or property destruction. It potentially carries a penalty of up to 20 years in state prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000
  • Class C felony: This class contains felony offenses that are not severe enough to be classified under class A or B. It may incur a penalty of up to $50,000 fine and 5 years incarceration.

Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Alaska?

Felony traffic violations in Alaska may include:

  • Use of electronic device while driving that caused death (Class A felony)
  • Texting while driving causing death (Class A felony)
  • Texting while driving that results in serious injuries (Class B felony)
  • Third and subsequent DUI offense (Class C felony)
  • Failure to stop on the order of a law officer (Class C felony)

What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Alaska?

Traffic misdemeanors in Alaska are generally less severe than felonies and are punishable by a year of incarceration or less. Some traffic misdemeanors may lead to the suspension or revocation of offenders’ licenses and points may also be incurred on their driving record. Alaska criminal law establishes two classes of misdemeanor offenses:

  • Class A misdemeanors: They typically involve less threatening violence leading to injuries and fewer property damages than a felony offense. Class A traffic misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of a year in jail up to $10,000 fine.
  • Class B misdemeanors: Offenses in this class pose minor risks of physical harm to persons and damage of properties. They may attract up t0 $2000 fine and a possible incarceration period of 90 days.

Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Alaska?

Traffic offenses that are misdemeanors in Alaska may include:

  • First-offense driving under influence DUI (Class A misdemeanor)
  • Overtaking an emergency vehicle that results in personal injury (Class A misdemeanor)
  • False insurance information (Class A misdemeanor)
  • Failure to stop for a school bus (Class B misdemeanor)
  • Refusal to do a breath test (Class B misdemeanor)
  • Driving with an invalid license (Class A misdemeanor)

What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Alaska?

Traffic infractions in Alaska fall under the Minor Offense Rule and are generally not criminalized violations. Most infractions are punishable by payment of fines and the accumulation of points on the offender’s driving records. Offenders that have many points on their driving record may have their licenses suspended or revoked.

Unlike traffic violations, the penalty for infractions typically does not include imprisonment. If the offender qualifies, the traffic court may also mandate a driving improvement program.

Examples Of Traffic Infractions In Alaska?

Traffic violations that are infractions in Alaska may include:

  • Speeding above the speed limit
  • Refusing to stop on stop signs
  • Running a traffic light
  • Making an improper U-turn
  • Following vehicles too closely
  • Failure to yield when turning left
  • Driving on the wrong lane or taking a one-way route
  • Disobeying traffic signal devices
  • Not using a seatbelt
  • Use of electronic devices while driving (no injuries caused)

How Do Traffic Tickets Work In Alaska?

Traffic tickets in Alaska is a citation issued to persons who disobey the state’s traffic laws. Law officers in Alaska are responsible for issuing traffic tickets to offenders. Upon the issuance of a ticket, offenders may be required to resolve them within 30 days to avoid further penalties. Traffic tickets are usually punishable by fines and the addition of points to driving records.

To contest traffic tickets, interested individuals may plead not guilty to the violations and argue it in a court for possible dismissal of the ticket.

Law officers may issue tickets for a moving violation if the car was in motion when the violation occurred or a non-moving violation such as a broken taillight.

In Alaska, the Division of Motor Vehicles assigns points value for traffic offenses to recognize and rehabilitate problem drivers. Traffic offenses that are more likely to cause accidents have higher point values. The accumulation of 12 points within a year or 18 points within 24 months may result in a suspension or revocation of the offender’s driving privileges. To reduce incurred points, motorists can complete a defensive driver course for a point reduction. Interested individuals can view the points assigned to different traffic violations on the DMV points webpage.

Are Traffic/Driving Records Public In Alaska?

Traffic-related records and driving records are public information in Alaska following Sec. 28.15.151. of the Alaska Statutes. Upon request, the Alaska DMV can provide records maintained for copying and inspection. The DMV records services may provide records within 10 days after receipt of requests. However, the public does not have access to information that the department may feel poses a potential threat or breach of privacy to individuals.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. Operating independently of any government agencies, such 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 may need to provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, 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 person resides in or was accused in.

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

How To Find Traffic/Driving Records In Alaska?

The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles is responsible for the management and dissemination of traffic-related records and driving records within the state. In Alaska, points gotten from traffic violations can stay on driving records for up to 5 years.

Records maintained by the DMV may be obtained online via the Driving Record Request site. Interested individuals may fill in the required details and get desired records in a pdf format or via email. Requesters can also complete the Request for Driving Record Form and submit it at their local DMV office. The DMV records division charges a fee of $10 for each driving record obtained.

Can Traffic Violation And Infractions Be Expunged/Sealed In Alaska?

Typically, Alaska laws make no provisions to expunge convictions including traffic violations and infractions. When records are expunged or sealed, they become inaccessible to the public.

While the Alaska laws don’t generally allow the expunction or sealing of traffic offenses, interested persons may petition the court to seal records if it is beyond a reasonable doubt, that is, cases of false accusation or mistaken identity. Individuals who fall under either category may complete the Request to Seal Criminal Justice Information form and submit it to the address:

Chief, Criminal Records and Identification Bureau
5700 e. Tudor Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99507

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