Is a “violation” a crime?

I was arrested in Washington D.C. for possession of an open container of alcohol. I didn’t go to court or pay a fine. The courts say it was a “violation”, not a misdemeanor or felony. So when filling out a job application and it asks, “have you ever been convicted of a crime?” should I check yes or no? I’m inclined to check no because it is just a simply a violation, but I don’t want to do anything illegal.

Asked on March 8, 2011 under Criminal Law, Maryland


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A "violation", generally speaking, is a breach of any law.  They are generally not offenses that require that your Constitutional right to a jury trial be permitted but in Virginia, as I understand it, you could indeed be allowed a jury trial for a traffic ticket violation.  I think that you need to speak with someone in your area on the matter.  The arrest to me indicates that you need to disclose it.  Have you run a background check on yourself?  You should consider it and see what it says and then see about expunging the matter if you can.  Once you run the check you can also decide abut what to answer.   

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