The justice system has many rules which are simply meant to “keep the peace.” They help keep communities safe, calm and clean. There are obvious ones such as speed limits, running stop signs and building code violations, however less common ones such as jaywalking and littering may catch people by surprise. Additional infractions include:
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Not abiding by land use rules
- Disturbing the peace
- Drinking in public
- Fishing without a license
- Operating a business without a license
The key thing to remember is that an infraction violation will never lead to jail time unless it leads to a much more serious offense. Running a stop sign? Traffic ticket. Running a stop sign and hitting a person? It’s now a far more serious offense. The worst that can happen is an individual may receive points on their license. An infraction also waves certain rights you would normally have during a criminal charge, such as a trial by jury or access to free legal counsel. This is because none of your liberties will be withheld.
When you receive a ticket, make sure to read it all the way through. It will give you a full explanation of what it means, why it was issued (if not already clear), how to pay it or how to contest it. From there, you can respond to it in a few ways:
- Admit guilt and pay the fine.
- Give an explanation to why the infraction took place, then pay the fine (This may dismiss is or lower the charge).
- Request a hearing with the magistrate and issuing officer.
- Hire a lawyer and request a dispute in court.
Failing to respond to an infractions by the dates listed on the ticket may lead to more severe consequences which would normally follow serious crimes. Driving infractions can lead to suspension or revocation of a license. Disregarding fines could lead to additional ones or short jail sentences. If a hearing or trial is requested and the individual does not show up, a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
Infractions may put a damper on an otherwise great day, but not following them up can lead to serious consequences. If you have received a ticket it’s crucial to take care of it now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.