What are Conviction Codes?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A conviction code is typically a number — or letter and number combination — used in law enforcement for the identification of a particular type of crime. For example, a jurisdiction may assign a unique conviction code for murder and a different code for petty theft. Sometimes insurance companies and motor vehicle agencies use conviction codes as well. In such cases, they may be used in applying penalties and setting insurance rates.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

The code that is used for a particular conviction may depend on the jurisdiction in which a crime was committed. In some places, the code 187 is used to identify a murder, but in other jurisdictions murder may be given an entirely different code. Voluntary manslaughter has the conviction code 192 in some places while torture is identified by the conviction code 206 in others. Since different jurisdictions may use varied conviction codes, an individual may need to check his jurisdiction’s penal code to find those that apply in his area.

Often, crimes that fit within the same category are given similar conviction codes. For example, in some places, the crime of desecrating a flag may have the conviction code 2102 while the crime of insulting the flag may have the criminal code 2103. Likewise, murder in the first degree may be given a code that includes a number and a letter, such as 2502(a), in some places. Second degree murder in the same jurisdiction may be given the code 2502(b), and third degree murder may be given the code 2502(c).

While conviction codes for serious crimes such as murder may be the most familiar to the average person, even less serious types of crimes may have their own conviction codes. For example, false advertising is considered a crime in some places and may have its own conviction code. Likewise, theft from a library may have a unique conviction code in some jurisdictions.

Vehicle conviction codes may be used by courts, departments of motor vehicles, and insurance companies. For example, a department of motor vehicles may use these codes in determining the points, which are derogatory marks, it will apply to a person's driver's license. An insurance company may use these codes in deciding whether to offer insurance to an individual or how much to charge him. In many cases, vehicle-related conviction codes are used to identify everything from disobeying a traffic officer to killing someone with a motor vehicle.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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