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What Is a Petty Misdemeanor?

There exist 2 kinds of violations of the law; the most severe law violation is referred to as a felony while the second kind is called a misdemeanor. However, within the category of a misdemeanor, there are 2 poles of differentiation. The first refers to a gross misdemeanor, which is more serious and may carry with it an imprisonment term. The second is called a petty misdemeanor that may only result in fines. This degree of misdemeanor is also called a non-criminal offense since it is possible that this may not result in a criminal record.

Depending upon the jurisdiction, a petty misdemeanor may be anything ranging from a traffic ticket to violating a city ordinance. Since this type of offense usually means a fine, the maximum fine within the US jurisdiction is $300. Individuals who have been found to commit a petty misdemeanor usually pay the fine since their court presence is unnecessary. However, it is possible for individuals to challenge any petty misdemeanor charges. Such incidents are uncommon since these offenses most often do not reflect on a person’s criminal record.

Because petty misdemeanors often involve fine payments, individuals who are financially burdened or incapacitated may not have the ability to pay such payments on the dates required. When this happens, the person may negotiate with the court to create a payment scheme that will allow payment of the fine without compromising the financial situation of the individual. This type of negotiation is preferred over completely ignoring a petty misdemeanor fine since the offense may become greater as the time of non-payment grows longer.

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