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Felonies, Misdemeanors & Infractions

Felonies, Misdemeanors & Infractions

Windham County Criminal Defense Attorney

There are two classes of crime in Connecticut, felonies and misdemeanors. The state considers infractions not to be crimes and we’ll address them separately.

Felonies & Misdemeanors

Felonies are more serious crimes. They have more serious penalties and they have life-long consequences. Felonies are those crimes punishable by more than one year in jail.

Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are less serious crimes. Misdemeanors are those crimes punishable by up to, but not more than, one year in jail.

What Is an Infraction Ticket?

An infraction ticket, also known as a citation or a traffic ticket, is a written notice issued by law enforcement officers for minor violations of local, state, or municipal laws, typically related to traffic or other minor offenses. Infraction tickets are not as severe as criminal citations, which can result in more serious legal consequences.

Here are some key characteristics of infraction tickets:

  • Minor Offenses: Infraction tickets typically involve minor violations of the law, such as speeding, running a red light, illegal parking, littering, or other non-criminal infractions.
  • Civil Violations: Infraction tickets are generally considered civil violations rather than criminal offenses. This means they are not considered crimes, and conviction does not result in a criminal record.
  • Fines: When issued an infraction ticket, the individual is usually required to pay a fine. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the nature of the violation and local laws.
  • Options: Typically, the recipient of an infraction ticket has several options:
    • Pay the fine: By paying the specified fine, the individual can resolve the matter without going to court.
    • Contest the ticket: If the individual believes the ticket was issued in error or wishes to dispute the violation, they can contest the ticket in court.
    • Attend traffic school (where applicable): In some cases, individuals may have the option to attend traffic school to have the violation removed from their driving record or receive a reduction in fines.
  • Points on Driving Record: Some infractions, particularly traffic-related violations, may result in points being assessed against the individual's driver's license. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension or higher insurance premiums.
  • Non-Criminal Nature: It's important to emphasize that infractions are not criminal offenses. They do not carry the same consequences as criminal charges, such as imprisonment or probation.

It's essential to respond to an infraction ticket promptly and in accordance with local laws. Ignoring a ticket or failing to respond can lead to additional fines, license suspension, or other penalties.

If you believe you have been unfairly issued an infraction ticket, you have the right to contest it in court and present your case before a judge. It's advisable to consult with an attorney or seek legal advice if you have questions or concerns about an infraction ticket.

How Felonies & Misdemeanors are Categorized

In Connecticut, we divide these two crime classes into subclasses. Felonies are classified A through E. Class A felonies are the most serious. Class E felonies are the least serious felonies. Similarly, misdemeanors are classified A through D. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious.

Each letter is tied directly to the maximum jail time a judge could impose for a conviction of that level of offense. For example, if you were convicted of a class E felony, a judge could sentence you to up to three years in jail. That is the maximum sentence for class E felonies.

Similarly, if you were convicted of a class A misdemeanor, a judge could sentence you to up to one year in jail because that is the maximum sentence for class A misdemeanors.

Need a criminal defense attorney? Contact us for help today!

Jail Time Isn't Always Necessary

Just because a crime has a maximum jail sentence doesn’t mean that if you are convicted, you would go to jail for that period of time. You might not go to jail at all! But if you were sentenced to jail, you couldn’t be sent to jail for more than the maximum permitted for a conviction for that level of crime.

The letter classification also tells us how much of a fine could be imposed for a conviction. To use the same examples, if you were convicted of a class E felony, a judge could fine you up to $3,500. If you were convicted of a class A misdemeanor, a judge could fine you up to $2,000.

If you were convicted of a crime, a judge could order you to pay just a fine without a jail sentence. That usually only applies to convictions for lower level crimes. But a judge could sentence you to jail and also impose a fine. That only rarely happens, unless the particular conviction, like drunk driving, requires both a jail sentence and a fine.

Seek a Professional

If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, you should retain criminal defense counsel. Your liberty is at risk. The prosecutors and judges who will confront you in court are lawyers. They have been trained in criminal law and procedure and are experienced at convicting and punishing people.

You need a criminal defense attorney in Windham County who also knows the law and procedure and can defend you. Without a defense lawyer, you are simply out-gunned.

Call The Law Office of Jerome Paun at (860) 455-4202 for a free case consultation.

Information Regarding Infractions

Infractions are the least serious offenses. They are prosecuted in Connecticut criminal courts by criminal prosecutors, just like felonies and misdemeanors. You have the same rights defending against infractions that you have defending against criminal charges.

These Include:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You have the right to be defended by an attorney you hire.
  • You have the right to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • You have the right to make the state prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial before a judge but not before a jury.

How Infractions Are Played Out

Infractions may seem like crimes but the State of Connecticut does not see them as such. If you plead guilty to an infraction or are convicted after a trial, a judge can order you to pay a fine but you cannot be sent to jail.

If you have only been convicted of infractions and you are asked if you have been convicted of a crime, your answer is no. This is important for all kinds of applications for: jobs, schools, loans, insurance, housing, and more.

Motor Vehicle Infractions

There are non-motor vehicle infractions in Connecticut, like creating a public disturbance or possession of alcohol by a minor. But the vast majority of infractions, and the kind most people encounter, are the motor vehicle variety. As with all infractions, motor vehicle infractions are only punishable by a fine. No jail time is at stake.

But there can be other consequences for an infraction conviction. Convictions for certain motor vehicle infractions can result in a suspension of your driver’s license. This is also true for convictions of certain non-motor vehicle infractions such as possession of alcohol by a minor.

Even if they do not result in a driver’s license suspension, conviction for certain motor vehicle infractions might result in points against your driver’s license. They may affect your automobile insurance.

Unless you are certain that pleading guilty to a particular infraction will not have other negative consequences for you, you should to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Don't wait to contact The Law Office of Jerome Paun at (860) 455-4202 for your free consultation!


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