It appears that some states, for example, Wyoming, classify most traffic infractions as misdemeanors.

Does it imply that someone who has committed a 5 mph speeding in such a state is technically a full fledged criminal, whereas another person doing the same in a state like California never is?

1 Answer 1


Your question assumes that there is a universal, legal definition of "criminal." Since there is not, it can't be answered.

Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies are all criminal offenses defined by criminal law. There may be different implications involved in being found guilty of an infraction rather than a misdemeanor, but it's not the case that one of them makes you a "criminal" and the other does not.

  • Perhaps the OP meant "having a criminal record" as a definition of "criminal"? In that case, committing a misdemeanor would make one a criminal. May 28, 2015 at 18:47
  • 2
    @Petr--so would an infraction, in most jurisdictions. Again, this is not standardized enough to make a definite statement.
    – chapka
    May 28, 2015 at 20:47

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