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12500(a) misdemeanor or infraction ??

Carlsbad, CA |

I was cited 12500(a) as misdemeanor. But when I received court notice I was asked to appear at traffic court as 12500(a) infraction. Does it mean that my case was charged only as 12500(a) infraction? Shall I assume my background check is not hit by 12500(a) misdemeanor? This is at San Diego North County Traffic Court at Vista.

Attorney Answers 4


It is possible that the charge was reduced when it got filed by the court. I have seen that happen sometimes on tickets in Vista. Another way to tell is whether the case is in the traffic annex or the main court house. The great majority of misdemeanors are in the main court, while infractions are dealt with in the traffic annex. Also, if this is the first time you were cited for something like this, it is likely going to be prosecuted as an infraction. If you can get your license prior to going to court you have a good chance at reducing the fine amount on the ticket. If it becomes a misdemeanor for some reason, proof of having obtained a license can help it get reduced to an infraction also.

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VC 12500(a) is often offered as an infraction at traffic court arraignment. If you fight the case, it could be treated as a misdemeanor, but if you plead guilty or no contest, you'll pay a fine of approximately $150 plus penalty assessments (total will be around $800). They'll usually give you a year to pay. So you won't have any misdemeanor on your record.

That said, if you get a valid license before your court date, they may be willing to dismiss the charge altogether. This would save you a great deal of money.


Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
t. 323.803.4352 | f. 323.617.3838
Sunset Law Building | 1295 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA | 90026

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Can be either one, but the fact you are now in traffic court leads me to believe it is being charged as an infraction only, not a crime. Thus, it is technically not an open "criminal" case, nor would it result in a "criminal conviction" for background check purposes, assuming you are convicted of the VC12500 infraction.

Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555

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The DA rejected it as a misdemeanor and it went to traffic court. May pop up in a thorough background check. 12500's are "wobblettes", they can be charged as a misdemeanor or infraction.

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