Napa Misdemeanors Lawyer
What is a Misdemeanor in California?
There are three major categories that violations of criminal code: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. These categories are predetermined by the state based on the nature of the offense, the seriousness, and the penalties available upon violation.
Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies but are still punishable by a combination of fines and jail time, although there are limits to both. According to the law, the court may not order more than a year of jail time as punishment for an aggravated misdemeanor conviction, the most serious in that category. For most misdemeanors, the limit on jail time is six months.
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Standard misdemeanor penalties may include:
- Jail time
- House arrest or electronic monitoring
- Victim restitution
- Counseling for anger, alcoholism, drug addiction, and/or abuse
- Community service
- Restraining or protective orders
WHAT ARE AGGRAVATED MISDEMEANORS?
California law defines a misdemeanor as a crime for which the maximum sentence is no more than one year in county jail.
Whereas standard misdemeanors only carry six months jail time, an aggravated misdemeanor can carry up to 364 days in jail. Some aggravated misdemeanors include driving with a suspended license, DUI, domestic battery, and violating a restraining order.
An aggravated misdemeanor, also known as a "gross misdemeanor," is a more serious type of misdemeanor. You might be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor if the crime you are charged of is more severe and/or if you have been convicted of the same offense in the past.
Do I Qualify for an Expungement?
In California, if you were charged with a misdemeanor, you may petition the court to expunge the crime from your criminal record upon completion of your sentence. However, expungements are only available to those who were sentenced with probation; it is not an option for individuals who were sentenced to state prison.
If the court grants the petition for expungement, your misdemeanor will be expunged, which means "removed," from your record and hidden from the view of background checks, employers, landlords and any other future inquirers.
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There are certain offenses that the law allows the prosecution discretion to charge the defendant with a misdemeanor or felony. These are known as “wobblers” because they are criminal offenses that can be charged both ways depending on the circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the defendant.
Don’t make the mistake of taking a misdemeanor charge lightly. The outcome of your case and its impact on your future depends on the quality of legal defense you equip yourself with.