Misdemeanors are series of crimes under California Jurisprudence that are more serious than infractions and less serious than Felonies. Generally, misdemeanor crimes involve a fine and/or county jail sentence for up 364 days. California Legislatures recently changed the laws defining misdemeanors to 364 days to limit immigration consequences for potential defendants.
California misdemeanors fall into two basic categories: (1) “Standard” California misdemeanors, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; and (2) “Gross” or “aggravated” misdemeanors,” punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 or more.1
There are also certain crimes known as California “wobbler” offenses. These are crimes which the prosecutor can choose to charge as a misdemeanor or a felony (or, in some cases, a misdemeanor or an infraction).
THE DEFINITION OF MISDEMEANOR
A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction yet less serious than a felony. Although generally accompanied by fines, misdemeanor charges may sometimes result in jail time. Some common examples of misdemeanors include: petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, driving under the influence, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, and vandalism.
Under California law, the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor charge is one year in county jail. It is really important to consult with an attorney before entering your plea in a misdemeanor case. The plea may have significant effects on the direction of the case, thus communicating with a California Criminal Defense Lawyer before entering a plea is of utmost importance.
Most misdemeanor cases permit the defendant’s attorney to appear on his/her behalf. If permitted, the defendant is not required to accompany his/her attorney to court, which is quite helpful for defendants who cannot miss work or school to attend court.
If the defendant is in custody, he/she will have access to bail, which is set forth in the county bail schedule. See Bail for more information.
The pretrial conference occurs after the arraignment and provides the defense attorney an opportunity to negotiate a plea offer or convince the prosecutor to drop the charges completely. During the pretrial conference, the defense lawyer may discuss the weaknesses and flaws in the prosecution’s case in the hope that doing so will prompt the prosecutor to drop the case entirely. In addition, an experienced California Criminal Defense Attorney at KN Law Firm will introduce mitigating factors in the hope that doing so will prompt the prosecutor to make a more lenient offer. Mitigating factors may include the defendant’s providing restitution to the victim, attending counseling sessions, and/or obtaining awards or accolades for his/her work.
SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS
If the defendant is charged and not in custody at the time of his/her arraignment, he/she has a right to trial within forty-five days of the arraignment date. If the defendant is charged and in custody at the time of his/her arraignment, he/she has a right to trial within thirty days of the arraignment date. The right to a speedy trial can be waived to grant the defense counsel sufficient time to prepare for the case.
HELP YOU NEED
Consulting with a California Criminal Defense Lawyer at KN Trial Attorneys is the most effective way a defendant can ensure that his/her right to a speedy trial is honored.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor or believe you may face a misdemeanor charge in the near future, please contact us as soon as possible through this link or give us a direct call at (888) 950 0011 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.