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Representation for a Misdemeanor

California Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer

Serving Downey, CA for 35+ Years

Do not be deceived into believing that a misdemeanor, though a lesser charge than a felony, requires little legal representation. While the consequences are not as severe as a felony, you still require intelligent legal representation if you aim to achieve the best possible results in your case.

When you are charged with a misdemeanor in California, both your freedom and reputation are at stake. That is why the most important step you must take is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights throughout the entire legal process. At The Law Office of Ronald M. Hall, our Downey misdemeanor defense attorney has more than four decades of experience handling a wide range of misdemeanors and helping our clients obtain the most favorable outcome, which includes not serving any time behind bars.

Charged with a misdemeanor? The Law Office of Ronald M. Hall offers free consultations to start your defense. Contact us online or call (562) 268-5522 today.

What is Considered a Misdemeanor in California?

Handcuffs - misdemeanors in California

In California, crimes are organized into the categories "misdemeanor" and "felony" to distinguish between lesser and greater offenses. A misdemeanor is the less serious classification of the two, and carries less severe penalties.

However, a conviction of a misdemeanor in California will go on your criminal record, which can affect your reputation and ability to find work. Additionally, the penalties for a misdemeanor can still be significant, often including jail time and fines.

List of Misdemeanors in California

Crimes charged as misdemeanors in the state of California include, but are not limited to:

  • DUI (Vehicle Code 23152): While DUI charges are typically considered more serious, first-time offenses without aggravating factors might be charged as misdemeanors.
  • Petty theft, including shoplifting (Penal Code 484/488): Petty theft involves stealing property or goods with a value typically less than $950.
    • (Penal Code 459.5): Shoplifting occurs when someone enters a commercial establishment with the intent to steal merchandise.
  • Disturbing the Peace (Penal Code 415): Disturbing the peace includes engaging in loud or offensive behavior that disrupts the peace and tranquility of others.
  • Reckless driving (Vehicle Code 23103): Reckless driving involves operating a vehicle with a willful disregard for the safety of others or property.
  • "Simple assault" (Penal Code 240): Simple assault involves the intentional use of force or violence against another person.
  • Vandalism (Penal Code 594): Vandalism involves defacing, damaging, or destroying someone else's property without their consent.
  • Disorderly conduct, such as public drunkenness (Penal Code 647): Disorderly conduct covers a range of disruptive behaviors, such as disturbing the peace, loitering, or engaging in lewd conduct in public.
    • Public Intoxication (Penal Code 647(f)): Being drunk in public to the point where you are unable to care for your safety or the safety of others can lead to a public intoxication charge.
  • Trespassing (Penal Code 602): Trespassing involves entering or remaining on someone else's property without permission.
  • Additional misdemeanors include:

Though many of these crimes seem minor, the courts are not lenient in pursuing an aggressive sentence against the individual who allegedly committed the crime. For additional information on current CA laws, visit this website.

Can You Go to Jail for a Misdemeanor in California?

In California, the penalties for a misdemeanor are determined on a crime-by-crime basis. If no explicit jail sentence is stated in the law's statutes for a particular crime, then the court can sentence the defendant to a maximum of 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. (Cal. Pen. Code § 19.)

Once you have been accused and charged with a misdemeanor crime, you will not likely be immediately jailed. Most misdemeanors are charged through a ticket. Occasionally, individuals are arrested for misdemeanor crimes such as DUI and public drunkenness, but in most of these cases you will not be required to post bail.

Our experienced Downey misdemeanor defense attorney can give you the tools you need to successfully navigate these charges. When you seek the help of our team, you can expect to meet personally with a respectful and attentive lawyer.

In your free case evaluation, we review the facts of your case and explain the most likely outcomes for your case. Your initial meeting with us will include outlining potential consequences of a conviction and how we can fight against those outcomes.

Penalties for misdemeanors in California usually include some or all of the following:

  • Jail
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Rehabilitation programs

How Many Misdemeanors Equal a Felony in CA?

In California, the number of misdemeanors that equal a felony depends on the specific circumstances of each case and the charged individual's criminal history. Many misdemeanors may be punished as felonies when the defendant has a prior conviction for the same crime or for another type of serious or violent felony.

Generally speaking, certain types of misdemeanors can be charged as a felony if the defendant has prior convictions for the same offense or related offenses.

  • For example, a third conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) within 10 years can be charged as a felony in California.

Additionally, some misdemeanors may be considered "wobblers," meaning they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the offense and other factors. Examples of wobblers in California include assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft.

There is no specific number of misdemeanors that automatically equals a felony in California. It depends on the specific circumstances of each case and the discretion of the prosecutor and judge involved.

Schedule your free consultation for your misdemeanor charges by calling our Downey misdemeanor lawyer at (562) 268-5522.

If You Are Facing Criminal Charges, Don't Hesitate.

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