Law gavel laying on various denominations of American money

Unlike felony or misdemeanor offenses, a defendant who is convicted of an infraction cannot be sent to jail or prison or placed on probation. Infractions are considered low-level offenses that are punishable by a maximum fine of $250 plus penalties and assessments. Infractions may also trigger other consequences such as driver’s license suspensions. The majority of infractions in Los Angeles are traffic violations; however there are a number of non-traffic offenses with which someone can be cited.

Certain misdemeanors may be considered “wobbler” offenses that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or an infraction. The prosecutor may decide at the time of filing whether or not to file misdemeanor charges or handle the offense as an infraction. Alternatively, the prosecutor may agree to reduce a “wobbler” misdemeanor to an infraction as part of a plea negotiation. This is often the case for defendants who are charged with driving without a license in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 12500(a) VC. This is a misdemeanor charge; however the prosecutor may offer to reduce the charge to an infraction if the defendant obtains a valid license. Other “wobbler” offenses that can be charged or reduced to an infraction include disturbing the peace under California Penal Code Section 415 PC and exhibition of speed pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC.

When a person has been cited for an infraction, he or she will be provided a citation with a court due date. Unlike misdemeanor or felony offenses, the date on an infraction citation is usually a due date by which the defendant must schedule an arraignment. This can be done at the assigned courthouse or can be handled on the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s website. The defendant may be given the option of paying the infraction online or scheduling an arraignment date in court.

Like misdemeanor offenses, an attorney can appear on behalf of the defendant for all court appearances. At the arraignment, the defendant can enter a plea of “guilty,” “not guilty” or “no contest.” If the defendant enters a plea of “not guilty,” the matter will be set for trial. The defendant is entitled to a speedy trial within 45 days of the arraignment. If the defendant waives time for a speedy trial, the trial may be scheduled several months later.

A prosecutor typically does not appear at the arraignment and the judge will not hear arguments from the defense at arraignment. In the past, the judge usually required that the defendant post bail if he or she requested a trial on an infraction. The bail amount would be the fine owed on the ticket. However, the law has been changed to allow defendants charged with infractions to be released on their own recognizance (“OR release”) pending trial. Defendants who fail to appear at their arraignment can have their driver’s license suspended and can be charged with failing to appear in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 40508 VC.

Unlike misdemeanor or felony charges, the defendant would not receive discovery prior to trial on an infraction. Usually, the defendant will only receive a copy of the citation. For red light camera tickets, the defendant will be sent a copy of the red light violation that may have occurred.

The officer who issued the citation will be given the ticket trial date. If the officer does not appear in court on the trial date, the matter will be dismissed. In addition, the officer may appear but may have no independent recollection of the offense. The infraction may be dismissed in these circumstances as well.

There are certain infractions, such as fix-it tickets or citations for not having insurance, which can be cured by the defendant. If the defendant makes the necessary repairs or obtains valid insurance, the Court will dismiss the infraction and will assess a $25 dismissal fee.

If the defendant loses at trial, he or can face a maximum fine of $250 plus penalty assessments. In addition, the defendant may face additional consequences. For example, if the defendant is convicted of speeding in excess of 100 mph, he or she would face a 30 day driver’s license suspension.

If you have been cited for a misdemeanor or infraction offense, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively defend those charged with felony, misdemeanor and infraction offenses.

For more information about Los Angeles infractions, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Featured on CNN
ABC News
NBC News
Los Angeles Times
CBS News
The New York Times
Us Weekly
Entertainment Tonight
Good Morning America
Legal Broadcast Network
Avvo Rating 10.0
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs! Shaquan
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire. Brad
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny. Lida
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer. Daniel
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us. A.N.