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What is the difference between an infraction, a misdemeanor, and a felony in California Law?

Posted by Thomas "Doug" Allen | Jul 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

In California, there are three (3) types of criminal offenses; they are defined as follows:

  • Infraction: An infraction is a minor offense such as petty theft under $50 (490 PC), and can only be punished with a fine. Certain non traffic infractions can now be expunged.
  • Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that can be punished by up to one (1) year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or both. Examples of misdemeanors are such things as DUI without injury, theft, battery, and disturbing the peace.
  • Felony: A felony is a more serious criminal offense. Felonies carry with them the possibility of a fine of up to $10,000.00 as well as incarceration in the State Prison system for many years. Some felonies require registration as narcotics or sex offenders. If you served time in State Prison your case cannot be expunged.

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About the Author

Thomas "Doug" Allen

Doug has practiced law in California for the past 25 years, and has represented clients charged with offenses ranging from possession of an open container of alcohol to first degree murder. He has extensive courtroom and trial experience and has personally litigated more than 4,000 California expungement cases.

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