What is the difference between an infraction and misdemeanor in California? 15 Answers as of July 24, 2011

What is the difference between an infraction and misdemeanor in California? Which one is worse?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
A misdemeanor carries a jail sentence and is clearly classified as a crime. An infraction is comparable to most traffic tickets and does not and is not. The former is clearly worse.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/24/2011
Grech & Firetag
Grech & Firetag | Paul Grech, Jr.
An infraction is punishable by a fine. Jail time cannot be imposed for an infraction. A misdemeanor generally carries a maximum of one-year in jail and a $1,000.00 plus penalty assessments. Frequently penalty assessments can cause the fine to triple in amount. I hope this answers your question. The main difference to remember is that you cannot go to jail for a
conviction of an offense which is an infraction.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/6/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
A misdemeanor is a crime an infraction is not. If you want to preserve a clean record you should get an infraction if the D.A. will offer it.For more info or to retain our firm call
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/1/2010
Law Offices of Juan Dotson
Law Offices of Juan Dotson | Juan Dotson
No jail, right to a jury trial, or attorney for infractions. The only time you can go to jail for an infraction is if you fail to appear or pay off your fine, a warrant would be issued and you may be detained until you post bail (amount of citation) or released with a
citation to appear.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/1/2010
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
A misdemeanor can have up to a year in jail while an infraction does not carry jail time. A misdemeanor is much worse.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/30/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    A misdemeanor is worse than an infraction. The penalty for a misdemeanor can include jail time, an infraction does not. Additionally, a conviction for a misdemeanor goes on your criminal record. An infraction is not considered "criminal." For example, running a red light is an infraction. Getting a DUI is a misdemeanor (...a DUI can also be a felony, which is more
    serious than a misdemeanor). Note that depending on the infraction charge, there can be additional consequences besides fines.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    The Law Office of Stacey Wolcott
    The Law Office of Stacey Wolcott | Stacey Wolcott
    An infraction is typically the caliber of a speeding ticket. An infraction is typically punishable by a fine only, no probation. A misdemeanor is the next step up from an infraction. A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine and / or jail time which can be up to 1 year in length. So a misdemeanor is considered worse or harsher than an infraction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Those accused of infractions are not entitled to jury trials nor can they be sentenced to custody time if convicted. The opposite is true for misdemeanors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You cannot go to jail for an infraction. Max. Jail time for a misdemeanor is one year in county jail. Misdemeanor is more serious of the two.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Infractions are generally regulatory, like running a stop sign and are minor. Misdemeanors can carry criminal penalties of up to a year in jail. Common misdemeanors are petty theft, DUI, Hit and Run.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by jail. Infraction is not a criminal offense and can only be punished by fines.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    An infraction is the best result you can get. A limited number of criminal offenses can be charged as either misdemeanors or infractions. ie. trespass; disorderly conduct, etc. It is the equivalent of a traffic ticket and does NOT go on your record. It is 1000 times better than a misdemeanor which does show up on your record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Infractions include traffic tickets, minor finable offenses. Misdemeanors carry up to one year in jail and $1000 fine.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
    Law Offices of Philip P. De Luca
    Law Offices of Philip P. De Luca | Philip De Luca
    An infraction is a very minor crime for which there is no possible jail time nor right to be represented by an attorney, however, you can retain an attorney to represent you. Usually, conviction of an infraction either requires payment of fines and/or some remedial or corrective action.

    A misdemeanor is a more serious crime for which the right to counsel attaches and if convicted, jail time is a possibility. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction, but not as serious as a felony.

    If you have any further questions, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2010
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