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Infraction has multiple legal meanings. Generally it refers to violations or infringements; or breach of statutes, contracts, or obligations. However, the act itself is very minor and hence the resulting penalty is also very minor.

Examples of infractions include parking overtime, speeding, and tailgating.

Although it is considered an offense in the criminal justice system, it is among the most minor offenses. Indeed, they are far less serious than misdemeanors.

In the California Justice System, the highest form of punishment for an infraction is a possible maximum fine of $250. Incarceration is not an option for an infraction. However, in California, some infractions are technically in between a misdemeanor and an infraction. These infractions are known as “wobbler infractions” and include disturbing the peace and exhibition of speeding.

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]