Criminal traffic violations are crimes and can subject you to jail time and criminal convictions. Just because an officer issued you a written promise to appear (PTA) does not mean that you were not arrested. For misdemeanor offenses, police have the option of issuing a PTA if they can be reasonably assured that you will appear in court.
Some examples of criminal traffic offenses are:
2) No valid driver's license (NVDL)
3) Reckless driving
4) Leaving the scene of an accident (LSA)
Technically, a DUI is a criminal traffic offense but it is usually in its own category. If arrested for DUI, you will not be issued a PTA but will be taken to jail.
Now regarding criminal traffic offenses, a good South Florida criminal defense attorney will do everything in his or her power to guarantee the best result for you.
Typically, the best result is to get the charge dismissed. Sometimes with cases involving driver's license, obtaining a good license may help you to get the charge dropped. However, if that is not possible, a plea negotiation that includes a withhold of adjudication may be in your best interest.
A withhold of adjudication is not a conviction. In terms of criminal traffic offenses, a withhold will not put points on your driving record. Points on your driving record can mean higher insurance premiums and even driver license suspension (point suspension).
A withhold of adjudication, since it's not a criminal conviction, will not require you to tell prospective employers that you have been convicted of a crime.
For criminal traffic offenses, prosecutors may offer withholds of adjudication, along with the payment of court costs, and possibly traffic school and fines, depending on the accused's driving record.
My practice area is Miami-Dade County and Broward County. I handle many criminal traffic offenses, and when I was a Miami-Dade prosecutor, I handled thousands.
If you have been arrested (even issued a PTA, which yes, is an arrest) call me to discuss the best options for your case.