What are Common Misdemeanors in California?

A woman in jail in Riverside

Being arrested for a crime is a haunting experience for many, especially those being arrested for the first time. At DeLimon Law, we help clients who have been arrested in the Riverside area in dealing with the criminal justice system. The consequences one faces after they have been arrested and charged with a crime depends on how the person is charged. There are two broad categories of criminal offenses – misdemeanors and felonies. This article deals with misdemeanors.

Misdemeanors in California

In California, a misdemeanor is a crime for which the maximum sentence is not more than one year in county jail and a fine of not more than $1000. Any crime for which punishment or penalty exceeds those levels is what is classified as a felony under California law.

We also have what are known as “wobbler” crimes, which are crimes where the prosecutor has the discretion to charge a suspect as either a misdemeanor or felony. A major consideration by the prosecutor in deciding on how to charge between those two options is the defendant’s criminal history and circumstances of the case.

In some cases, a defendant can have their misdemeanor offense be an aggravated misdemeanor, which can increase fines. Also, a defendant who is convicted of a misdemeanor can be placed on probation for a period longer than one year – usually three to five years.

Common Misdemeanor Crimes in California

The following are some of the most common misdemeanor crimes in California:

  1. Penal Code 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery
  2. Penal Code 273.6 – Violation of Restraining Order
  3. Penal Code 242 – Battery
  4. Penal Code 240 – Assault
  5. Penal Code 415 – Disturbing the Peace
  6. Penal Code 647 – Disorderly Conduct
  7. Penal Code 647(f) – Public Intoxication
  8. Penal Code 314 – Indecent Exposure
  9. Penal Code 647(b) – Prostitution
  10. Penal Code 459.5 – Shoplifting
  11. Penal Code 484(a) – Petty Theft
  12. Penal Code 496 – Receiving Stolen Property
  13. Health and Safety Code 11350 – Drug Possession
  14. Vehicle Code 23103 – Reckless Driving
  15. Vehicle Code 23152 – Driving Under the Influence
  16. Vehicle Code 14601 – Driving on Suspended License

What Happens After an Arrest for a Misdemeanor?

Following an arrest, the arrested person is brought before a judge or magistrate as soon as possible for what is known as “arraignment.” This is the time when the prosecutor reads the charges against the person who has been arrested and for that person to admit or deny those charges. At this point, the person arraigned is referred to as the “defendant.” A defendant has both federal and state constitutional rights that must be followed before the arrest and throughout the criminal process.

Once you have been arraigned, your lawyer will start negotiations with the government prosecutor to either have the charges against you dismissed or to reach a plea agreement that allows you to avoid the full consequences of violating the law.

Consult with a Riverside, CA Misdemeanor Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor crime, contact DeLimon Law today. We can help defend against your charges and minimize the consequences you face.

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