AskDefine | Define violate

Dictionary Definition



1 fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns; "This sentence violates the rules of syntax" [syn: go against, break] [ant: conform to]
2 act in disregard of laws and rules; "offend all laws of humanity"; "violate the basic laws or human civilization"; "break a law" [syn: transgress, offend, infract, go against, breach, break]
3 destroy; "Don't violate my garden"; "violate my privacy"
4 violate the sacred character of a place or language; "desecrate a cemetary"; "violate the sanctity of the church"; "profane the name of God" [syn: desecrate, profane, outrage]
5 force (someone) to have sex against their will; "The woman was raped on her way home at night" [syn: rape, ravish, assault, dishonor, dishonour, outrage]
6 destroy and strip of its possession; "The soldiers raped the beautiful country" [syn: rape, spoil, despoil, plunder]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈvaɪəˌleɪt/, /"vaI@%leIt/


  1. to break, disregard, disagree or not act according to (rules, conventions, etc.)




  1. second-person plural present tense of violare
  2. second-person plural imperative of violare
  3. feminine plural past participle of violare

Extensive Definition

Infraction as a general term means a violation of a rule or local ordinance or regulation, promise or obligation.

United States law

An Infraction in legal sense (minor offense, minor violation, petty offense, or frequently citation, sometimes used as synonymous with violation, regulatory offense, welfare offense, or contravention) is a "petty" violation of the law less serious than a misdemeanor.
Typically, an infraction is a violation of a rule or local ordinance or regulation.
Some refer to an infraction as quasi-criminal, because conviction for an infraction is generally not associated with the loss of liberty, or even social stigma. Infractions are often considered civil cases, in which case an infraction is not even considered a crime. Nonetheless, most infractions are indeed violations of statutory law, but in differing with criminal law where the burden of proof is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the standard for the civil infraction is a Preponderance of Evidence.
Infraction is a term in United States law; it is not a term commonly used in the United Kingdom or other countries following English common law.

Punishments for infractions

In the United States, the key characteristic of an infraction is that the punishment seldom includes any amount of incarceration in a prison or jail or any other loss of civil rights -- typically the only punishment is a fine, although sometimes other regulatory actions are possible (e.g. revocation of a license or permit) or an order to remedy or mitigate the situation. According to the USC title 18 Part II Chapter 227 the fine for an infraction is not to exceed $5000 (although normally less then $1000) and the maximum prison sentence is 5 days of incarceration.

Mechanics of adjudicating infractions

The power to cite persons for infractions is usually left with administrative officials; it is often not necessary to hold a court hearing -- in which case a citation is the same as a conviction.
Examples of infractions include jaywalking, littering, violations of municipal codes (such as building or housing), disturbing the peace, or falsification of information. In many jurisdictions today, minor traffic violations have been decriminalized and classified as infractions. For example, in Kern County, California (a county in which Interstate 5 crosses its western edge), large numbers of speeders are ticketed every year while travelling between the Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area for excess of 100mph. This is generally considered an infraction resulting in only a fine. In the state of Oregon, possession of less than one ounce of cannabis (marijuana) is an infraction rather than a crime.
Nowadays, many jurisdictions allow first time offenses for minor misdemeanors including trespassing, petty theft, disorderly conduct, and marijuana possession to be reduced to infractions, or municipal ordinance violations, allowing the defendant to avoid having a criminal record which would otherwise jeopardize his long term prospects. This is particularly true if the defendant received only a citation instead of being arrested. However, by allowing a first time misdemeanor offense to be reduced to an infraction, this could also serve as an aggravating factor if the person were to be caught committing another crime.

Similar terms

Compare with


  • Black's Law Dictionary, ISBN 0-314-25791-8
violate in German: Ordnungswidrigkeit
violate in French: Infraction
violate in Italian: Contravvenzione
violate in Hebrew: עבירה
violate in Dutch: Overtreding (strafrecht)
violate in Polish: Wykroczenie
violate in Portuguese: Contravenção

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abuse, adulterate, afflict, aggrieve, alloy, assault, assault sexually, attack, barbarize, batter, befoul, betray, bewitch, blight, breach, breach the law, break, break the law, brutalize, burn, butcher, canker, care naught for, carry on, cheapen, circumvent the law, coarsen, commit a crime, condemn, confound, contaminate, contravene, convert, corrupt, crucify, curse, damage, debase, debauch, deceive, defalcate, defile, deflorate, deflower, defy, degenerate, degrade, denature, deprave, desecrate, despoil, destroy, devalue, devirginate, disadvantage, dishonor, disobey, disobey the law, disregard, disregard the law, disserve, distort, distress, divert, do a mischief, do evil, do ill, do violence to, do wrong, do wrong by, doom, embezzle, envenom, err, flout, force, foul, get into trouble, go counter to, go on, hammer, harass, harm, hex, hurt, ignore, impair, infect, infract, infringe, injure, jinx, lay waste, lead astray, loot, maladminister, maltreat, maul, menace, misapply, misappropriate, misemploy, mishandle, mislead, mismanage, mistreat, misuse, molest, mug, not conform, not heed, not keep, not listen, not mind, not observe, offend, outrage, overpass, peculate, persecute, pervert, pilfer, pillage, play havoc with, play hob with, poison, pollute, possess sexually, prejudice, profane, prostitute, rage, ramp, rampage, rant, rape, ravage, rave, ravish, refuse to cooperate, riot, roar, ruin, sack, savage, scathe, scoff at, seduce, set at defiance, set at naught, set naught by, sin, slaughter, soil, sow chaos, spoil, storm, sully, taint, take, tear, tear around, terrorize, threaten, torment, torture, trample, trample on, trample underfoot, trample upon, transgress, trespass, twist, ulcerate, vandalize, violate the law, vitiate, vulgarize, warp, wound, wreak havoc on, wreck, wrong
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