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Misdemeanors and infractions are two separate classifications of crime or offense. The seriousness of the offense and impact on victims are factors that determine if the crime is classified as a misdemeanor or an infraction. In terms of California traffic law, infractions—also referred to as violations—may be processed as civil, rather than criminal, offenses. In either case, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or an infraction, you should take the matter seriously and immediately seek professional legal help if you want to stand the best chance of success.

Infractions are driving violations that are typically punishable by fine and one or more points on your driving record. For example, you could be charged with an infraction if the police stop you for running a red light or for speeding. The officer will give you a ticket and ask you to sign it. When you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, you can do the following:

1. Plead guilty and pay the associated fine by sending payment to the courthouse. Upon receipt of payment, the court will close your case and the violation will appear as a conviction on your driving record. This will result in points on your license which could remain there from three to seven years. It could also mean an increase in your insurance premium or even the possibility your insurance company will cancel your policy altogether.
2. Attend traffic school, if you are eligible and the court allows it.
3. Submit documentation as proof of correction if the ticket you received was for a “correctable violation” such as a broken headlight.
Plead not guilty and request a trial either by mail (trial by “written declaration”) or before a judicial officer.
4. Fight your traffic ticket with Ticket Beaters. You stand the best chance of success with the help of a knowledgeable traffic attorney who can represent you both in and out of the courtroom. In most courthouses you are not required to appear if you choose this route.

A misdemeanor traffic ticket, also known as a “Notice to Appear,” is issued if your traffic crime is more serious, such as driving without a license. This type of ticket will be issued if your violation involves alcohol or drugs. When you sign this notice, you do not admit guilt, but rather, you promise you will appear in court on the appointed date.

A more serious misdemeanor is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), an offense for which you will be taken into custody. A misdemeanor could be punishable by up to one year of jail time, restitution, probation, payment of a fine of several thousand dollars, or community service.
Regardless of the type of traffic ticket you receive, do not ignore it. You must take action by the due date. If you do not, the court could suspend your license, further charge you with a misdemeanor, and even issue a warrant for your arrest.

If you want to fight your traffic ticket for a misdemeanor or infraction, you stand the best chance of success with the help of a knowledgeable traffic attorney who can represent you both in and out of the courtroom. Our expert attorneys always fight for the best possible outcome. We will work to have your violation reduced or even dismissed, so you can avoid expensive fees and points that will drive your insurance rates up. The law is highly technical, but we understand the legal technicalities involved with misdemeanors and infractions, and have the experience you need on your side. Call us today, and we’ll put our experienced attorneys to work for you.