How Often Do First-Time Misdemeanor Offenders Go to Jail?

Man getting a mug shot in Riverside, CA

California divides criminal cases into misdemeanors and felonies. The main difference between the two classifications is that a felony is a significantly more serious offense, and a conviction can mean years in the California state prison system. 

Conversely, a misdemeanor has the potential for up to one year in county jail for a conviction. There is no chance of state prison time or jail time longer than one year for a misdemeanor offense. Further, many people convicted of misdemeanors avoid jail time altogether thanks to the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

When facing a misdemeanor charge in the Riverside area, always take the matter seriously, as there is a possibility of jail time. You want to contact Delimon Law as soon as possible, as we are ready to provide you with legal guidance and direction with your case.

Probation as an Alternative to Doing Time in Jail for a Misdemeanor

For most misdemeanor defendants, especially those facing first-time charges for a non-violent offense, being convicted of a misdemeanor charge does not result in incarceration. This is because California law provides an alternative to doing time for first-time offenders, especially those involved in non-violent crimes.

Instead, the person convicted for a misdemeanor is often placed on misdemeanor probation, referred to as summary probation. While you might have a misdemeanor offense on your criminal record, you will maintain your freedom, which can help you keep your job and family life intact.

A person convicted of a misdemeanor for the first time is often considered a low-risk defendant and is, therefore, often given an alternative to doing time in jail by agreeing to serve their sentence under court supervision. However, this offering is not automatic, and some prosecutors seek jail time even for misdemeanors. You must have a defense attorney fighting for the most lenient sentence possible for your misdemeanor conviction.

Take Probation Seriously

While probation is preferable to jail time, it is not always easy. Misdemeanor probation usually lasts one to three years but may last as long as five years for certain offenses. The person subject to misdemeanor probation must comply with specific terms and conditions, such as performing community service, participating in drug testing or other counseling, paying restitution, etc.

If the defendant fails to comply with these terms and conditions, the judge overseeing the case could revoke probation and send the defendant to jail. You must comply with all the terms of your probation, and this is something you should discuss with your defense lawyer. We can fight for the most lenient terms possible to increase your chances of probation success.

Consult with a Riverside Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing a misdemeanor charge or the possible revocation of your misdemeanor probation, DeLimon Law can help. Please contact our office today and schedule your consultation.

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