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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Distinguishing between infraction and misdemeanor tickets

In California, there are a number of different types of tickets that a law enforcement officer has the ability to issue depending on the violation of law you are deemed to have made. When it comes to driving a car, there are three categories of tickets: parking, infractions and misdemeanors. Each has their own progressive amounts of fines and sentences.

As for infraction tickets, these are issued in cases in which a driver either violates local ordinances or vehicle codes. Among the most common vehicle code infractions are speeding, having a broken tail light or other non-functioning automobile equipment, driving on an expired registration or license or running a stop sign or red light.

Assessments of penalties and fines are made relative to the violation that has been committed; however, this type of infraction rarely, if ever, carries with it any sentence of jail time. Additionally, for those convicted who have an inability to pay a fine, an imposition of community service can made made in lieu of the driver making a monetary payment.

In contrast to infraction tickets, misdemeanor ones are those that are issued in response to the commission of a more serious traffic-related crime. Among the many traffic violations that carry misdemeanor charges, driving without a license, vandalism, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license are among the most common ones.

With misdemeanor traffic violation cases, those convicted of these crimes are subject to up to a year in jail or significant fines, or both. Restitution may be required to be paid on top of the fine imposed as well.

When a law enforcement officer attempts to issue you a ticket for an alleged traffic violation, in signing the ticket, you are not admitting your guilt, but instead are guaranteeing that you will either make an appearance in court to contest the charges or merely pay your ticket. If you have been charged with a traffic violation, a Van Nuys, California, misdemeanor defense attorney can advise you in your criminal matter.

Source: Superior Court of California - County of Los Angeles, "What are the different types of tickets issued?," accessed April 07, 2017

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