Legal Dictionary


Definition of infraction


    From Latin infractio < infractum, past participle of infringere < in ("in") + frangere ("to break").


  • Rhymes: -ękʃən


infraction (plural infractions)

  1. (law) A minor offence, petty crime
  2. a violation; breach
  3. (ice hockey) A major violation of rules which leads to a penalty, if detected by the referee.

Related terms


  • Anagrams of acfiinnort
  • infarction

Further reading

Infraction as a general term means a violation of a rule or local ordinance or regulation, promise or obligation.

United States law

An 'infraction' in legal sense is a summary offence, or "petty" violation of the law less serious than a misdemeanor, and usually does not attach certain individual rights such as a jury trial.[1][2][3] It is sometimes called a minor offense, minor violation, petty offense, or frequently citation, and sometimes used as synonymous with violation, regulatory offense, welfare offense, or contravention.

Typically, an infraction is a violation of a rule or local ordinance or regulation

Some refer to an infraction as quasi-criminal, because conviction for an infraction is generally not associated with the loss of liberty, and are often considered civil cases. Nonetheless, in the United States, most infractions are indeed violations of statutory law, but in differing with criminal law where the burden of proof is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the standard for the civil infraction differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, some jurisdictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt while others may only require proof by a preponderance of evidence.

Infraction is a term in United States law; it is not a term commonly used in the United Kingdom or other countries following English common law.

Punishments for infractions

In the United States, the key characteristic of an infraction is that the punishment seldom includes any amount of incarceration in a prison or jail or any other loss of civil rights - typically the only punishment is a fine, although sometimes other regulatory actions are possible (e.g. revocation of a license or permit) or an order to remedy or mitigate the situation. According to the USC title 18 Part II Chapter 227 the fine for an infraction is not to exceed $5000 (although normally less than $1000) and the maximum prison sentence is 5 days of incarceration, and common law puts the maximum incarceration at 6 months for local jurisdictions.[1][4]


  1. Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540 (1888)
  2. Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968)
  3. 18 U.S.C. § 19
  4. Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968)


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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