Commit a crime, get caught… you have to face the consequences. The kinds of consequences you face are determined by a court of law. And it is very important you know what you are charged with when you go before the judge to answer them.
Misdemeanors are crimes that carry a maximum punishment of up to a year in county jail. Common misdemeanor crimes include domestic violence, DUI and petty theft. A felony is a more serious charge. While many felony charges carry a sentencing range of 16 months to 3 years in state prison, suspect charged with more serious felonies can face much longer prison sentences, up to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP).
Many clients call our office asking what a wobbler is? The term “wobbler,” is a crime that could be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, second degree commercial burglary in violation of Penal Code 459 can be a wobbler, and a suspect can be convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony. An experienced criminal defense attorney can be helpful in getting felony charges dropped to a misdemeanor to help minimize the possible criminal punishment.
Under California’s Three Strikes law, felonies that are serious and/or violent in their nature can be considered a “strike”. A serious felony could criminal threats under Penal Code 422 or sale of a controlled substance to a minor under Health and Safety Code 11353. If sentenced to a strike which is a serious felony, a defendant may be entitled to half time credits pursuant to Penal Code 4019. On the other hand, if the strike is both serious and violent (i.e., kidnapping under Penal Code 207 or a Penal Code 211 robbery), the defendant may only be entitled to receive 15% good conduct credit under Penal Code 2933.1
Any person who already has a strike on his/her record and is charged and found guilty of another felony will likely be found ineligible for probation and face double the base sentencing range, and may earn reduced custody credits, serving 80 percent of the sentence. Any person who has two strike convictions and has another felony will get 25 years to life in state prison regardless of when the prior convictions occurred.
Commonly, clients ask whether anything can be done about prior strikes. In many instances, where a defendant has suffered a prior strike, the Court can disregard them by way of a Romero motion.
This actually depends on the case specifics and the court. However, some alternatives besides jail time include community service, house arrest, community labor, tree farm, work release, local city jail, private jail and/or rehabilitation.
Are you facing a misdemeanor or felony charge? If you want to secure the best possible outcome in your matter, contact our office for a free consultation.
Client charged with possession for sales and gang enhancement. Client faced 16 years in prison with the gang and prior strike allegation. Client turned down 8 year pretrial offer with prior attorney before going to trial. Not guilty on all charges at trial. (People v. Antwan B.)
Client charged with attempt murder, accessory after the fact and gang enhancement after shots fired at a dwelling. Client turned down 15 year pretrial offer. During trial, plea deal reached for probation with time served. (People v. Rudy B.)
Client charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice when cops performed a probation sweep at her residence. Client found not guilty on all counts at jury trial. (People v. Felicia M.)
Client charged with corporal injury to girlfriend after argument allegedly escalated. Client had significant exposure of 21 years because of prior strike, probation violation and GBI allegation. At trial, jury refused to convict client, returning hung verdict. (People v. Christopher P.)
Client charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale after traffic stop. Client claimed prejudice by prosecution’s delay in bringing the case to court. Motion filed on behalf of client asking the Court to dismiss the case as violative of client’s speedy trial rights. Motion granted and case dismissed. (People v. Shannon J.)