Misdemeanor Attorney Los Angeles
If you have been charged with committing certain crimes in Los Angeles, a skilled misdemeanor attorney may be able to help. Learn more here.
Misdemeanor Attorney Los Angeles
If you are arrested for committing a crime, you may require a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. A misdemeanor is considered a crime that is less serious than a felony and does not carry a potential prison sentence. But, someone convicted of a misdemeanor can be sentenced to the county jail and is typically put on probation for three to five years.
Moreover, those convicted of a misdemeanor crime can also face several conditions imposed by the judge, such as community service, mandatory counseling sessions, or victim restitution – compensation for any damages incurred.
A conviction for a misdemeanor offense will remain on a person’s criminal record for at least a while, and it will be visible to potential employers conducting a criminal background search.
Although the consequences of misdemeanor convictions are not as harsh as those after felony convictions, they can trigger certain disciplinary action for professionals who have to maintain a license with the State of California, like nurses, doctors, and teachers.
Being charged with a misdemeanor is a long, complex, and demanding legal process, and you should not try to go through it alone. By working with a criminal defense law firm, such as The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney, you can receive qualified advice and skilled representation to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case.
Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges Los Angeles
A knowledgeable attorney for misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles can explain what the term “misdemeanor” covers. In California, it includes a wide variety of various criminal offenses, such as:
- Assault and Battery
- Disturbing the Peace
- Domestic Violence
- Driving With a Suspended License
- Drug Possession
- Drunk Driving
- Petty Theft Crimes
- Public Intoxication
- Reckless Driving
However, in certain cases, even these crimes can be charged as a felony. That can depend on the defendant’s prior criminal record or the circumstances of the crime. For instance, driving under the influence can result in felony charges if it was a fourth offense within a 10-year period. Reckless driving offense is another example. If a reckless driving offense involved injuring another person, it could result in a felony conviction.
Some crimes, such as drug possession and certain assault and battery crimes, can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor offense. However, if an assault or battery was committed with a force that would likely cause severe bodily injury or involved the use of a deadly weapon, that crime would most likely be prosecuted as a felony offense.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you might question how serious the situation is, the possible repercussions, and whether you require legal assistance. A misdemeanor can lead to jail time and fines or social work. Since criminal convictions never automatically drop off your criminal record, they can severely impact the rest of your life. But, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to fight for the best possible result.
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The Court Process for Misdemeanor Los Angeles
While felony offenses in Los Angeles are always prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, misdemeanors may be filed by either the DA’s office or by a city attorney, depending on where the offense occurred.
Many criminal cases begin with law enforcement officers witnessing an individual breaking the law and then arresting them. In other cases, the police suspect a person of a certain criminal behavior after conducting an investigation.
Sometimes, a skilled criminal defense attorney can show the prosecutors that there is insufficient evidence to arrest the suspect and persuade them to drop the investigation. However, if the person is arrested, they can be either held in custody or released. Police officers don’t have to read Miranda Rights to the defendant immediately after an arrest; however, that has to be done if the police question them.
Before the criminal trial starts, there are several stages of criminal prosecution the defendant has to go through, such as arraignment and pre-trial process, when the defendant and their Los Angeles criminal lawyer can enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution.
Trials can be bench trials or jury trials. Individuals accused of misdemeanors in California have a right to a jury trial. At the trial, prosecutors have to prove the defendant is responsible for the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a guilty verdict.
Will You Have to Go to Court for a Misdemeanor in Los Angeles CA?
In some cases, criminal defense lawyers can appear in court without defendants at the arraignment and enter their plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.” If you plead guilty or no contest, you will need to appear at the sentencing in person. If you plead not guilty, you will be required to appear with your criminal defense lawyer for the trial.
What Is a Wobbler Offense in Los Angeles, CA?
In some cases, a criminal offense can be classified as either a misdemeanor charge or a felony. This frequently depends upon the circumstance of the illegal activity, the damage sustained, and the intent. Misdemeanors that could be classified as felonies based upon the circumstance are called “wobblers.”
The Office of the District Attorney has the discretion to increase these charges to felonies based on the defendant’s criminal history and other circumstances of the crime.
Some of the misdemeanors that can be charged as felonies are:
- Child Endangerment
- Child Pornography
- Criminal Assault
- Criminal Threats
- Domestic Violence
- Grand Theft
If your misdemeanor charge is eligible for elevation to a felony, the stakes increase and can leave you facing higher penalties, including lengthy prison time, harsh fines, and probation. Working with a criminal defense law firm in Los Angeles is essential for excellent representation in court and getting the most favorable results in your case.
What Is the Fine for a Misdemeanor in Los Angeles?
If you are facing charges, you may have questions about fines and other punishments for a misdemeanor in Los Angeles. Standard misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 court fine, excluding penalties and assessments. Aggravated misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to a year in jail.
Also, many crimes are classified as “wobblers” that can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. For example, if you have been charged with a DUI, it could be classified as a misdemeanor if no one was injured as a result. However, if there was significant property damage or anyone was hurt due to the intoxication, it might elevate it to a felony.
When making a filing decision, prosecutors will consider the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal record. If a “wobbler” is filed as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A felony will likely result in a year or more prison sentence and costly fines.
Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can take every necessary step to ensure criminal charges are reduced to the lowest possible charges or may even succeed in getting an individual’s criminal charge dropped.
Can a Misdemeanor Conviction in California Be Expunged?
Under California Penal Code 1203.4, many misdemeanor offenses can be expunged, leaving your criminal record clear. However, the sentence can’t involve any time served in California state prison. However, not every misdemeanor crime can be dismissed—certain sex offenses involving children, although misdemeanors are ineligible for expungement. Additionally, conviction of a federal misdemeanor cannot be expunged.
Contrary to popular belief, misdemeanors are not automatically expunged. They require filing an expungement petition that has to be granted by the court. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be of assistance.
Recovering from a Misdemeanor Los Angeles
If you are guilty of the misdemeanor Los Angeles with which you are charged, you should call a skilled defense attorney. If you are innocent of your charges, it is necessary to have a knowledgeable defense lawyer in your corner. A criminal conviction might lead to fines, prison time, and other repercussions.
Inadequate legal advice and legal representation might lead to adverse outcomes, such as longer jail time or more substantial fines. It could also impact other aspects of your life, such as custody rights or your ability to obtain certain types of work. If you’re dealing with a misdemeanor charge, it is crucial to work with an experienced criminal attorney in Los Angeles.
Regardless of your circumstances, you are not alone in your fight. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, time is of the essence. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney today for a free consultation, and we will assist with finding a solution to whatever problem you may face.