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Class A traffic violations are highest, Class D lowest

I see references to people getting cited for traffic offenses that are Class A, Class B, etc., violations, and I assume the fines levied are commensurate with the class of the infraction. But what are the different classes, and how much are the fines for each of them?

— John D., Medford

Violations, in general, are any infraction in which fines and fees, as opposed to jail time, may be used as penalties. Infractions in state law that may involve jail time (such as driving with a suspended license for the first time) are misdemeanors, and violations of the law that can be penalized with more than a year in prison are felonies. There are four classes of violations, running from Class A to Class D, and three classes each for misdemeanors and felonies, running from Class A to Class C.

Traffic laws are enforced the same statewide, so exceeding the speed limit is a Class B traffic violation whether you're speeding here in good 'ol Jackson County or out of town visiting Multnomah County.

According to Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 153, revised most recently by the 2015 Oregon Legislature, the maximum fine for a Class A violation such as driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit is $2,000, the minimum fine the court may impose is $220, and the presumptive fine is $435 — assuming it didn't happen in a construction zone.

A Class B violation, such as exceeding the speed limit between 21 to 30 mph or failing to obey a traffic signal, maxes out at $1,000, can be dropped to $130 and has a presumptive fine of $260.

A Class C violation, such as exceeding the speed limit by 11 to 20 mph or less, is a maximum $500, minimum $80 and presumed at $160.

A Class D violation, such as exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph or less, is a maximum $250, minimum of $60 and presumptive fine of $110.

If the traffic infraction occurred in a highway work zone or school zone, the presumptive fines double — so be careful out there.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.