San Diego Criminal Attorney
Felony vs. Misdemeanors
The California Penal Code categorizes criminal offenses as the following:
Your typical traffic violation. These cases involve no probation, just fines up to $250. More importantly, there is no possibility of jail.
These are more serious crimes punishable by up to one year in local, county jail. Additionally, fines up to $1,000 can be ordered by the court. The most common types of misdemeanor offenses are D.U.I., petty theft, simple drug possession, and most domestic violence. While jail is a distinct possibility, other more likely outcomes can include counseling and/or work service. Additionally, unlike felony cases, you have the right to “waive” your presence at all misdemeanor court appearances and have your lawyer appear on your behalf. We do this every day for our misdemeanor clients. Not only does it save you time, but it saves you money and the potential for embarrassment. And contrary to what you think, your “waiver” does not harm you in the judge’s eyes. In fact, given that most clients at this level “waive” their appearance, an actual client appearance is a most unusual sight in the courtroom. Regardless, it is your decision and we advise you accordingly.
These represent the most serious types of crimes, and for that reason, you must personally appear for each court date. Common types of felonies include robbery, grand theft, drug possession and/or sales, sexual assault, and some domestic violence. Punishment can range from probation to straight prison time with a minimum sentence of 16 months. Typical probation terms can include the following: fines, restitution, counseling, work service, and up to one year of county jail.
If you have questions regarding your criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. We are available to take appointments days, evenings, and weekends. We serve the communities of El Cajon, Vista, Chula Vista and San Diego as well as communities throughout Southern California, including Temecula.
Crimes that are regarded as less serious are referred to as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor usually is punishable by a fine, or by incarceration in a local jail for a period of less than one year. Prosecutors typically do not convene a grand jury to investigate or issue indictments for misdemeanor charges, although the same conduct may give rise to both felony and misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors are usually charged by a written complaint, or “information.” In some states, poor defendants are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney when charged only with a misdemeanor. The charges may be considered minor, but being accused of a misdemeanor–not to mention being convicted of one–can cause a major disruption in the life of an accused. As in any criminal case, it is essential that a defendant in a misdemeanor prosecution have zealous representation backing him or her up.
If you are facing felony criminal charges in San Diego County, contact a criminal defense attorney without delay.