Difference Between Infraction, Misdemeanor and a Felony Offense

Feb 14, 2018

If you have gotten in trouble, the legal system can be quite complicated. There are several different levels of offenses in California, including infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. 

There are major distinctions between each of these categories. Which one you are accused of and convicted of can really change your life.

An infraction is the lowest offense that you can get. Infractions are, generally, considered petty offenses.  Infractions only result in a fine, possible license suspension, and points on your driving record.  These offenses, range from jay walking, speeding, and depending on how its charged, driving without a license (Vehicle Code 12500). 

Even though most people don't consider infractions a crime, there are consequences that may follow you for years. Your crimes will come up in a background check so you may struggle to find a job, apply for college, work around children, and much more!

misdemeanor is one step up from an infraction. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies but still have serious ramifications. If you do spend time in jail, you could end up with a sentence of up to 364 days. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you will probably be on probation up to five years.  Sometimes formal probation may also be required, and fines can be several thousand dollars.

Then, the next step up is a felony. Felonies can result in either county prison sentences, depending upon the offense, or incarcerations with the California Department of Corrections.  Felonies can range from the most serious, such as murder, rape, robbery, arson, etc., to less serious offenses such as evading and drug sales. 

Because there are many consequences for crimes, it is important that you hire a good lawyer. If your lawyer is not able to get your charges dropped, he or she will attempt to get a lesser offense.

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We would be glad to help you through this difficult time. If you want to schedule a free initial consultation, we can go over your case and discuss your options.




Category: Criminal Cases

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.


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Michael E. Mitchell, at the Mitchell Law Group, Inc., is one of the top DUI defense attorneys in Fresno, California. He has over a decade of experience handling DUI cases throughout the Central Valley, including in Clovis, Madera, Tulare, Visalia. He is a certified field sobriety instructor and practitioner under the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association. His advice and knowledge is, routinely, sought after by other attorneys practicing in the area of DUI defense. He is an expert in the area of DUI defense in both Federal, State, and on the Appellate level. If your looking for the best DUI Lawyer in Fresno to handle your case, give us a call today to see how we can put our knowledge to work for you.