If I got charged with a “Non-traffic Citation” criminal trespass, Would this show up in a criminal background check?

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If I got charged with a “Non-traffic Citation” criminal trespass, Would this show up in a criminal background check?

From my understanding, this is not a misdemeanor, whereas on my citation there is no court date listed – just a place that asks if I plead guilty or not guilty, and I was not processed (fingerprints, etc.). If job applications ask me I have ever been convicted of a crime, would this show up? Also, I have never even received a traffic ticket before, what are the chances I can get this dismissed? Should I contact the commonwealth attorney first or wait until I got to court by pleading not guilty?

Asked on March 3, 2014 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A Felony vs. A Misdemeanor

Many people do not know the difference between the type of charges they face. The three categories are divided based on the type of punishment you face depending on the seriousness or non-seriousness of your conduct.

There are three types of charges:

  • *  An Infraction  -fines only, no probation, no jail time
  • *  A Misdemeanor -fines, probation, maximum 1 year in county jail,
  • *  A felony -fines, probation, up to 1 year in county jail, possibly state prison for more than 1 year, parole


An infraction is not considered a "criminal" charge and is a type of charge which does not carry any incarceration or jail time. There is also no probation for infractions and the only punishment is financial. This means, if you are charged with an infraction, the punishment you may receive can not include jail time.

The reason an infraction is not considered "criminal" is because it does not appear on your Department Of Justice criminal records. Infractions do appear on your driving record, court record, local police agency records but generally are not reflected on your DOJ records because they are not considered as serious as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Common infractions are seatbelt violations, simple speeding tickets, littering citations, running a red light, and failure to stop properly at a stop sign. Many times traffic school is offered for certain infractions considered a moving violation- infractions that carry a point on your driving record. Certain charges like disturbing the peace or trespassing can be charged either as an infraction or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.

Because of the non-criminal nature of infraction charges, the accused does not have the right to a jury trial but does have the right to face the allegations against him/her by way of a bench trial (no jury, the judge will decide the facts).

Answer: I would go to court and contest the citation. If you are found guilty, the citation for the infraction will not appear on a background check of you. I suggest you consult with an attorney in your locality. One can be found on attorneypages.com.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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