What to Know About Criminal Infractions
Many people accidentally break a few minor ones here and there, such as driving a few miles over the speed limit. These criminal infractions don’t usually lead to big consequences, such as time in prison, but they can cost you a lot of money. If you are worried about criminal infractions, check out these commonly asked questions to learn more, so you can better protect yourself.
What Is a Criminal Infraction?
A criminal infraction can also be considered a petty crime. It’s usually done on accident and/or doesn’t cause any injury or damages. In most cases, a criminal infraction doesn’t include any jail time. It, however, will likely include fines.
Of course, a criminal infraction can lead to a criminal arrest. For example, if you are pulled over for speeding, you will probably get off with just a speeding ticket. However, if the officer spots an open bottle of alcohol in your vehicle, it may suddenly turn into a DUI arrest, which may include jail time. An infraction doesn’t usually give an officer right to search your car, but if they spot something through the windows or notice something odd about you, it may give them reason to search.
What Are Common Examples of Infractions?
Many infractions involve driving: speeding, not stopping at stop signs, running through red lights, etc. In some cases, however, depending on how reckless you were driving, the infraction may advance to a misdemeanor or felony. Other common examples of infractions include jaywalking, littering, walking an unleashed dog and drinking in public.
If you own a business or are going to be building on your property, make sure you have the right permits and license. Failure to do so can also lead to an infraction and fines. Last, in many states, the possession of cannabis has been reduced to an infraction (depending on how much you have).
What Happens When You Receive an Infraction?
When you receive an infraction, make sure to follow all the instructions. Typically, however, you need to respond to the infraction within a short timeframe. Failure to do so doesn’t usually lead to jail time, but it may lead to a license suspension. Responding to the infraction involves physically mailing the ticket or taking it into the court office.
Infractions are petty crimes with little punishment. Because of this, unfortunately, you have fewer rights when trying to fight an infraction. You don’t get to choose a jury, so the decision is fully made by the judge. You can, however, call witnesses and appeal the judge’s decision.
Do You Need an Attorney for an Infraction?
Even though you aren’t facing jail time, you should hire an attorney for your infraction, especially if the infraction occurred under special circumstances. It’s hard to fight an infraction alone, but your attorney will have the skills and knowledge needed to know how to get your fine reduced or eliminated completely.
Getting an attorney on your side is especially important if the infraction lead to other fines and/or charges, such as driving with an open alcohol bottle you weren’t/didn’t drink, etc. Your attorney may also be able to reduce other punishments, such as revoking your license or having negative marks on your driving record.
Most criminal infractions will only result in a minor fine, but an infraction is an excuse for an officer to look inside your car via the windows, which can result in a bigger fine or eve an arrest. Infractions are so common, it’s important to fully understand them to better protect your finances and driving record. For more information about infractions, contact us at the law offices of Carl L. Britt, Jr. today.