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Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes in California

Being charged with a crime in southern California can change your life. Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, a conviction can bring severe penalties that affect your life for years after serving out your sentence. Facing these charges can be intimidating to anyone. But you do not have to fight back alone.

Whether you are struggling to understand the charges against you or fully understand the seriousness of a conviction, you need the help of an experienced attorney.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, do not wait to get in touch with a skilled defense attorney at The Amer Law Firm. The sooner we can begin helping you, the better your chances of finding success in your case. Call us today at (866) 431-2637 and receive a no-cost consultation that helps you make the right choices in fighting back against your charges.

What's the Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor?

Most crimes committed in California are separated into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors.

Felonies are considered to be more serious crimes, such as violent offenses or theft of large amounts of money. According to California Penal Code Section 17(a), felonies are "punishable with death, by imprisonment in the state prison, or notwithstanding any other provision of law." All other public offense crimes are classified as misdemeanors besides the smallest crimes, which are defined as infractions.

Many crimes can fall into the category of either misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime, such as the amount of money stolen in a theft case or whether a crime involved violence. These factors can mean the difference between a minor fine and years in prison.

What are Misdemeanor Penalties?

Because misdemeanors are seen as less serious crimes than felonies, a conviction will lead to less severe penalties. Typically, misdemeanor crimes can only be punished by a maximum $1,000 in fines and up to one year in county jail, not state prison. However, defendants can be charged with multiple misdemeanors for a single alleged criminal incident, leading to multiple years behind bars and much higher fines when added all together.

What are Felony Penalties?

Felonies cover a wide variety of crimes and therefore a wide variety of potential penalties. Typically, a felony conviction will lead to a fine greater than $1,000 and more than one year in state prison. However, some crimes, such as murder, can lead to decades or a lifetime in prison. While only first degree murder can be punished by the death penalty in California, many felony crimes can be punished by enough years in prison to lead to a lifetime behind bars.

Are There Other Penalties for Felonies Besides Prison?

Under California law, specific types of felony crimes can be punished by more than just time behind bars. Sexual offense convictions can force a person to register as a sex offender, which will limit where he or she can live or work. Drug-related offenses may require extensive time in rehabilitation to prevent falling back into addiction. Drunk driving can lead to losing your driver's license for years. Additionally, having a criminal record, which can be seen by potential employers, may make searching for a job incredibly difficult.

What is a Criminal Record?

If you are convicted of a crime, the government creates a criminal record, which is a detailed history of all criminal activity that you have been convicted of committing. These records can be viewed by the local, state, and federal government, even if you move to a different part of the country. Additionally, your criminal record can be viewed through a background check when applying for a job, adoption, licensing, and security clearance, as well as during a criminal investigation. Both misdemeanors and felonies are listed on a criminal record after a conviction. However, being found innocent or having your conviction expunged or sealed can prevent it from being shared through a criminal record.

How Can an Attorney Defend You?

Long Beach criminal defense attorney Al Amer understands that both misdemeanor and felony charges can cause major difficulties in the life of a defendant. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, do not wait to call The Amer Law Firm for a no-cost consultation helping you better understand your charges. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner you can begin building a successful defense against prosecutors with our skilled help.

"Al definitely knows how to achieve results that will go far beyond your expectations."
- Former Client

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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a criminal lawyer at our law firm for information regarding your particular case. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of California.

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