Top Sacramento Criminal Lawyer for Infractions, Misdemeanors & Felonies
Under California law, there are three main types of charges that can be brought against a party and they include infractions, misdemeanors and felonies. Each brings a unique set of punishments and will affect your life in different ways. It is important to understand the severity of the situation you have been dealt so that you may take the necessary steps to limit the effect it will have on your life. The first step of this process is understanding the charges that you face.
An infraction is technically not considered a criminal charge and it does not carry incarceration or jail time as a possible punishment. Infractions cannot result in probation either, meaning that if you are charged with an infraction, the only punishment you can receive is financial. Infractions can involve anything from your standard motor vehicle violations, to jay walking or littering.
With regards to your criminal record, infractions will appear on your driving record, court records and local police agency records, but are generally not reflected on your Department of Justice (“DOJ”) records because they are not considered as serious as a misdemeanor or a felony.
A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is generally punishable by a fine, incarceration in a local jail, or both. Many states classify misdemeanors into three separate categories to determine the level of punishment, but in California, the severity of punishment is determined on a crime-by-crime basis, and if no punishment is fixed in the statute, it could include up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Misdemeanors charges can be brought against an individual for a wide range of activities including shoplifting, petty theft, public intoxication, simple assault, trespassing, vandalism and prostitution.
Misdemeanors will be reflected in your local records and the DOJ records due to the severity of the crime, and can affect your ability to secure employment, financing and housing.
Felonies are the most serious charges that can be brought against an individual in the state of CA. Currently, depending on the felony you have committed, punishment can include fines, life in prison and/or death by lethal injection. The severity of your punishment will be determined based on the type of felony you have been charged with.
Felonies are often referred to as “true crimes” and include homicide, rape, arson, burglary, robbery, larceny, escaping from prison and assisting in a felony. Felonies will show up on all criminal records, including local police and court records, and all DOJ records. A criminal record that includes a felony can have serious implications on your life, and in the state of CA, you will have your right to possess a firearm taken away.
In the state of CA, prosecutors are given the option to file some crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies, based upon the specific facts of the case and/or your criminal history. These crimes are called “Wobblers” and if you are charged for a felony, will carry all the same penalties as a felony conviction. There are many different crimes that are considered Wobblers in the state of CA, and they span across the criminal spectrum. Assault, vehicular manslaughter, and insider trading are examples of crimes that could be brought as misdemeanor or felony charges in California.
Although it is imperative to secure proper legal representation for any and all charges filed against you, it is especially important if you have been charged with a “wobbler” offense. The difference between penalties for a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge are immense. Call a Sacramento criminal lawyer at this law firm a call today to discuss your charges.