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The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense attorney, misdemeanor, felony charges,  criminal conviction, felony offensesGetting charged with any type of crime in California is a serious matter. A criminal conviction will remain on your permanent record, impacting you for years to come. In addition to the fines and potential jail time you may be facing, your charges could prevent you from obtaining jobs, student loans, and even a mortgage or housing. Of course, the types of charges you face are a major consideration. Whatever your situation, our San Jose attorneys will work to build you a strong criminal defense. However, it is important for you to be aware of the differences between misdemeanor and felony charges and how California handles each of these types of charges.

California Misdemeanor Crimes

Misdemeanor crimes are considered less serious than felony offenses, but they still carry potentially severe penalties upon conviction. Depending on the charges, you could be facing fines up to $1,000 and up to a one year mandatory jail sentence. Examples of misdemeanor crimes handled through the Santa Clara County courts include:

  • Driving under the influence;
  • Driving with a suspended license;
  • Petty theft;
  • Vandalism;
  • Public intoxication; and
  • Simple assault.

Certain types of crimes are known as ‘wobblers’ under California law. These are crimes that can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the judge and the circumstances involved. Examples of wobblers include domestic violence, assault, and certain types of drug crimes.

Immediately upon your arrest, our San Jose criminal defense attorneys can assist in arranging for bond, while appearing with you at arraignment to enter a plea. After speaking with the district attorney assigned to your case, we may be able to negotiate having your charges reduced or even dropped. If neither is an option, we immediately begin gathering evidence to build you a strong legal defense.

California Felony Crimes

Under the California Penal Code, felony crimes are a far more serious matter, which could result in multiple years in prison or even the death penalty. Examples of felonies include:

  • Armed robbery;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Arson;
  • Drug manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking;
  • Vehicular homicide; and
  • Murder.

Once bail and arraignment proceedings are held, there will be a preliminary hearing at which your charges and the evidence against you will be reviewed by a judge. If there is insufficient evidence or if certain procedures were not followed, your charges may be dropped or reduced. Otherwise, we will begin gathering evidence to present at trial.

Building a strong criminal defense against felony crimes is particularly important in light of California’s ‘Three Strikes’ sentencing laws. Each prior felony conviction acts as a strike against you. If you have two or more prior strikes, you will face a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life, regardless of the crime you are charged with.

Let Us Help You Today

The most effective legal defense begins early. If you were arrested or have been charged with a crime, contact Jachimowicz Law Group right away. We can arrange a consultation with a passionate San Jose criminal defense attorney who will work with you to strategize a strong legal defense in your case.

Source:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=17.

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