Riverside Misdemeanor Lawyer
While you may not have been charged with a felony, a misdemeanor can still be a serious offense for the following reasons:
- Many misdemeanors still carry jail sentences and stiff fines.
- Your criminal record can follow you for life and complicate job searches and background checks.
- If you have a previous misdemeanor conviction for the same crime, subsequent charges and convictions could be treated as felonies.
- Misdemeanor convictions can have collateral consequences, including possible civil lawsuits.
There Are Different Degrees of Misdemeanors
The first thing to know is not all misdemeanors are the same. Some may have lesser penalties, while others may carry jail time and fines similar to a felony. For instance, some misdemeanors in California can be punishable with up to a year in prison. Here are some examples of crimes charged as misdemeanors in California:
Thus, while the name of the alleged crime may not sound as serious, the punishment can certainly change a defendant’s life.
Some Crimes Can Be Charged as Misdemeanors or Felonies
Regardless, an attorney can help you through the criminal justice system when you face misdemeanor charges. Your lawyer could help you make the best decision on how to deal with these charges. A Riverside misdemeanor attorney from DeLimon Law can help you at the very beginning of your case. For instance, some misdemeanors can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Your attorney may be able to work with the prosecutor to ensure that your case is charged as a misdemeanor.
Criminal Penalties for Misdemeanor Convictions in California
In California, there are two main types of misdemeanor offenses: (standard) misdemeanors and gross or aggravated misdemeanors. Generally, standard misdemeanors are less serious than gross misdemeanors.
A conviction for a standard misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 6 months and/or a fine not exceeding $1,000. On the other hand, getting convicted of a gross misdemeanor carries a jail term of up to 364 days and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
Prior to 2015, the maximum sentence for a California misdemeanor was one year. However, the law changed to “up to 364 days” to prevent a misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude from being considered a “deportable crime” under U.S. law.
Misdemeanor defendants generally have two courses of action. They can fight the charges or plead guilty. If your choice is the latter, your attorney may be able to work with prosecutors to receive a lesser sentence. You may even be able to enter a diversion program for certain misdemeanors. For example, some lesser penalties can include:
- Community service
- House arrest
- Counseling or treatment programs
When your attorney works with the prosecutor, they may even be able to get the charges reduced to the lesser category of an infraction. However, you need an attorney who knows how to talk to prosecutors, knowing that they can and will defend you in court if necessary.
Of course, your attorney will give you legal advice based on your own unique situation, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a misdemeanor charge. Prosecutors do not view each misdemeanor charge the same way, and neither should your defense attorney.
Your attorney will not only assist you in dealing with and defending the current charge, but will also consider how a misdemeanor conviction would affect you in the future. At the same time, they will review the evidence against you and help you mount the strongest possible defense to the charges.
An Experienced Riverside Misdemeanor Attorney Can Help You
At DeLimon Law, we are experienced in assisting our Riverside, San Bernardino, and nearby clients in defending all types of misdemeanor cases. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Daniel DeLimon is familiar with how law enforcement thinks and uses his knowledge for his client’s benefit. Call us today at (951) 382-5559 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.
Every case has its challenges and you need the best legal representation. If you are facing criminal charges call Daniel DeLimon today for a free consultation at our local number (951) 382-5559.
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