Infraction Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Infraction, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Infraction?

A minor law that was broken and not punishable by imprisonment.

History and Meaning of Infraction

Infraction is a term used in the legal system to refer to a minor breach of the law that does not result in imprisonment. These minor offenses are considered less serious than misdemeanors and are often punished with fines or community service. In many cases, the punishment for an infraction is simply a monetary penalty, and the infraction does not result in a criminal record.

Examples of Infraction

Some common examples of infractions include traffic violations such as speeding or running a red light, littering, and vandalism of a minor nature. Some states classify possession of small amounts of marijuana as an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor or felony.

  • A driver gets a ticket for running a stop sign.
  • A person is fined for littering in a public park.
  • A dog owner is cited for failing to clean up their pet's waste in a public area.
  • A student receives a citation for texting during class.

Legal Terms Similar to Infraction

Other legal terms that are similar to an infraction include "violation" and "citation." Both of these terms refer to a less serious offense that is punishable with a fine or other minor penalty. A violation is a term used in some states to refer to a minor traffic offense, while a citation is a written notice that alerts a person they have violated a law and are subject to a fine or other penalty.