In the United States, a summary offense is a minor criminal offense that is generally considered less serious than a misdemeanor or a felony. Examples of summary offenses may include traffic violations, disorderly conduct, or minor drug offenses.
In some jurisdictions, it may be possible to have a summary offense expunged from a person’s criminal record. Expungement of a summary offense means that the record of the offense will be removed from the person’s criminal record and will not appear on background checks.
The process for expunging a summary offense varies depending on the jurisdiction. In some states, a person may be eligible for expungement if they have completed their sentence or probation, while in others, they may need to wait a certain amount of time before being eligible for expungement.
It’s important to note that not all summary offenses may be eligible for expungement, and the eligibility requirements can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense and the jurisdiction. It’s always best to consult with an attorney familiar with the expungement laws in your jurisdiction to determine whether you are eligible for expungement and to guide you through the process.
The term “summary offense” comes from the legal system in England and Wales, where offenses were traditionally divided into two categories: summary offenses and indictable offenses.
Summary offenses were minor criminal offenses that could be heard and tried summarily, which means they could be heard and decided without a jury, by a magistrate or judge. Indictable offenses were more serious criminal offenses that required a trial by jury.
In the United States, the term “summary offense” is used in some states to describe minor criminal offenses that are generally considered less serious than misdemeanors or felonies. The term “summary” is still used to describe these types of offenses because they can be disposed of summarily, without a jury trial, in a manner similar to the English system.