Any criminal matter can be serious, even misdemeanor charges. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, you need a strong legal advocate by your side.
We will listen to your story and help you understand your legal options. We will also review your case and work to minimize your penalties or have your charges dropped altogether, if possible. Call 24/7 California Law at (888) 783-4603 to find out how we can help you today.
What Is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a level of criminal charge that is lower than a felony, but higher than an infraction. Misdemeanor charges may be punishable by fines and incarceration in county jail, as well as other penalties as determined by a judge. For misdemeanors, jail time does not usually exceed one year and fines are usually under $1,000; however, those penalties can vary depending on the circumstances.
Many people with misdemeanor charges are first time offenders that did not commit acts of violence. They do not deserve the harshest penalties possible. A skilled misdemeanor lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges reduced or eliminated, in some circumstances.
Levels of Misdemeanor Charges
California separates misdemeanors into two categories: standard and gross/aggravated. The difference between these two categories is the severity of the crime and the criminal history of the offender.
If you are a first-time offender and your crime was non-violent, you will likely be charged with a standard misdemeanor. However, if you are a repeat offender and your crime was more severe, you may be charged with a gross misdemeanor, also called an aggravated misdemeanor.
- Standard Misdemeanor Charges – punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Common standard misdemeanors include drug possession, drunk in public, indecent exposure, petty theft, prostitution, shoplifting, and some trespassing charges.
- Gross/Aggravated Misdemeanor Charges – punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Common aggravated misdemeanors include domestic battery, driving on a suspended license, DUI, and violating a restraining order.
Although these crimes are lower than felonies, they are still serious crimes that can impact the rest of your life. If you’ve received misdemeanor charges, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney at 24/7 California Law to start building a defense right away.
Wobbler Offenses in California
California law categorizes some offenses as “wobblers.” Wobblers are crimes that may be misdemeanor charges or they may be escalated to felonies or minimized to infractions, depending on the prosecutor’s discretion. When determining how to charge a crime, the prosecutor will consider the facts of the case and the criminal history of the offender.
- Misdemeanor / Infraction Wobblers – charges that may also be infractions include disturbing the peace or trespassing.
- Misdemeanor / Felony Wobblers – charges that may also be felonies include brandishing a weapon, elder abuse, and assault with a deadly weapon.
These crimes may be charged in different ways depending upon the specific situation. A misdemeanor lawyer who is familiar with California criminal laws, the prosecutor, and local court processes can work to have your charges minimized as much as possible.
Federal Misdemeanor Charges
While California has a unique way of treating state misdemeanor charges, when a crime is a federal offense, the court uses federal sentencing guidelines. Federal offenses are those that violate federal laws, occur on federal property, or take place across state lines.
- 1) Class A Misdemeanor Charges – punishable by six months to one year in jail.
- 2) Class B Misdemeanor Charges – punishable by 30 days to six months in jail.
- 3) Class C Misdemeanor Charges – punishable by five days to 30 days in jail.
Both fines and other penalties for federal misdemeanor charges vary depending on the specific crime. Examples of federal misdemeanors include illegal hunting or fishing in a federal wildlife refuge, simple assault on federal land (such as a national park or post office), possessing counterfeit securities, and intimidation of voters.
24/7 California Law Can Help You With Misdemeanor Charges
If you or a loved one are facing charges of a misdemeanor offense, you need to take action as soon as possible. You should seek the help of an aggressive criminal defense attorney who will make sure that you protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process. Call 24/7 California Law today at (888) 783-4603.