Is a violation treated the same as a criminal offense on a background check?

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Is a violation treated the same as a criminal offense on a background check?

I just received a “Simple Trespass” citation for hiking in an off-limits area (HI Section 708-815). There’s no fee assessed (yet) but there is a summons for a court date. State law designates this as a “violation”, versus a misdemeanor, etc. I believe this is the same as an “infraction” in other states. Pending the judge’s decision, how will this affect me? If it’s a small fine so I don’t really care. I’m more concerned about what would be on my record, especially being in the military currently. Is this on par with a parking or speeding ticket? Basically, what are the ramifications?

Asked on March 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, Hawaii

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I would speak with an attorney in your area on the matter. Violations can indeed be categorized as misdemeanors depending on state laws.  Some are definitely adjudicated by paying a fine but they can still show up on your record if a background check is run.  So I might think twice about paying it up front without speaking with someone as seeing how it will impact on your military status.  Maybe it could be negotiated down to something that is really insignificant.  But only an attorney that knows the law in your area can really let you know.  Good luck to you and thank you for your service to our country. 


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