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Home 9 Criminal Defense 9 What Is PA’s Infraction Law?
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What Is PA’s Infraction Law?

Minor infractions of Pennsylvania law often result in fines rather than jail time. But even if they are less serious than major felonies or misdemeanors, it doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Learn more about these crimes and what you should do about them.


  • Pennsylvania’s infraction law is defined as a minor offense punishable by a fine rather than jail time.
  • Infractions are considered less serious than felonies or misdemeanors, but ignoring them can lead to more severe consequences.
  • Traffic infractions in Pennsylvania fall under the category of summary offenses, including common violations like speeding and running red lights.
  • The maximum penalty for a summary offense in PA is a $250 fine and 90 days in jail.
  • Infractions will not appear on your criminal record but will be shown on your driving record.

Imagine you are driving down the road in Pennsylvania, and suddenly, you see flashing lights behind you. You pull over and realize that you are likely going to be given an infraction for speeding. Many people have encountered this common situation.

After receiving the infraction, you may be wondering about the consequences and what steps to take next. In Pennsylvania, infractions are typically handled through traffic court or by paying a fine. The specific consequences will depend on the severity of the infraction and any previous violations on your record.

If this is your first infraction, you may be able to attend a traffic safety course to have the violation removed from your record. However, if this is not an option or if you have multiple infractions on your record, you will likely have to pay a fine and possibly face points on your driving record.

In this blog post, we will discuss what an infraction is, the difference between an infraction and a misdemeanor, and how it shows up on your criminal record. Additionally, we will talk about minor traffic offenses, how ignoring traffic violations can build up to a more serious criminal offense, and how to prevent a traffic infraction from going from a fine to jail time.

What Is the Legal Definition of an Infraction?

Before we dive into the details of Pennsylvania’s infraction law, it is important to establish a clear definition of an infraction. An infraction is typically defined as a minor offense that is punishable by a fine or other penalties but not by imprisonment. So, if you are found guilty of an infraction, you will likely face a monetary penalty rather than jail time.

What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and an Infraction?

Infractions are typically considered to be less serious than a felony or misdemeanor charge, which are both criminal offenses that can result in jail time. However, this does not mean that infractions should be taken lightly. They can still have consequences on your record that can lead to more severe charges within the criminal justice system if not addressed.

What Are Pennsylvania’s Laws Around Infractions?

In Pennsylvania, infractions fall under the category of summary offenses. Summary offenses are considered to be the least serious type of crime. These include things such as littering, disorderly conduct, and underage drinking. Infractions, such as traffic violations, are also considered summary offenses.

The Penalty For Infractions

The maximum penalty for a summary offense in Pennsylvania is a $250 fine and/or 90 days in jail. However, most infractions do not result in jail time unless there are multiple violations or other extenuating circumstances.

However, the punishment for an infraction is usually a fine or other penalty. The law does not usually require you to appear in court or have the possibility of jail time unless they are ignored, which leads to a more serious criminal violation. However, if left unaddressed, multiple infractions on your record can eventually lead to a misdemeanor charge.

Traffic Infractions & Your Record

Pennsylvania’s traffic infractions are outlined in Title 75 of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes, which covers vehicle codes. According to this code, some common infractions include driving over the speed limit, running a red light or stop sign, not using your turn signal, and illegal passing.

How Does an Infraction Appear on Your Criminal Record?

picture of hands in handcuffs

In Pennsylvania, a traffic offense is not shown on your criminal record, but it is shown on your driving record. A traffic offense is considered a summary offense and is handled separately from other criminal charges. However, if you fail to pay the fine or attend a required court appearance, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

How Violations of Infraction Law Can Lead to a Larger Criminal Charge

While a minor traffic ticket may seem insignificant at the time, ignoring it can lead to more serious consequences. Suppose you consistently ignore traffic violations and continue to accumulate points on your driving record. In that case, it can eventually result in a driver’s license suspension or even criminal charges that require you to appear in court.

Compounding Infractions

Additionally, if you are involved in an accident when getting a traffic ticket, it could lead to more severe charges such as reckless driving, reckless endangerment, or vehicular manslaughter.

These crimes may seem like they do not hold a lot of weight in our legal system, but they do and can lead to a prison sentence. Therefore, it is important to address all infractions promptly and take the necessary steps to prevent them from compounding into misdemeanors.

How to Prevent an Infraction from Escalating

The best way to prevent traffic infractions from turning into a more serious criminal offense is to stay informed about Pennsylvania’s traffic laws. Being aware of speed limits, broken lights on your vehicle, driving without a license, stop signs, and other common examples of traffic violations can help you avoid receiving an infraction in the first place.

If you do receive a traffic ticket, it is important to address it quickly and follow any necessary steps outlined on the ticket. You may be required to appear in court, pay the maximum fine on the ticket, or pay a fine by a certain date.

By taking these actions and staying up to date on Pennsylvania’s infraction law, you can prevent the infraction from escalating into a larger crime that could have more severe repercussions.

If You Need An Attorney to Help You Fight Mounting Infractions, Turn to Marinaro Law Firm

If you have found yourself in the middle of mounting infractions and need someone on your side throughout the legal process, trust our experienced law office at Marinaro Law Firm. Our impressive track record, coupled with our years of dedication to criminal defense, makes us the best choice to be your legal team. Schedule your legal consultation with us today, and let us help you get back on the right side of the law.


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