Under California law, crimes are graded as either infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. While all criminal charges should be taken seriously, a conviction for a felony results in stricter penalties and a more severe restriction of the offender’s rights than a misdemeanor or infraction conviction. If you are facing felony charges, it is crucial to speak with a Riverside County felony defense lawyer to discuss the charges that you face. Shaffer T. Cormell is a proficient criminal attorney who has spent more than 30 years representing individuals charged with felonies in the California criminal court system. Mr. Cormell will work diligently to help you determine the appropriate course of action under the facts of your case. He represents people facing felony charges in the areas around Blythe, Banning, Riverside, Murrieta, Indio, Palm Springs, Coachella, Joshua Tree, Hemet, San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Barstow, Brawley, El Centro, Winterhaven, and other cities throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties.Felonies Under California Law
Under California law, a felony is a crime that is punishable by fines and one or more years of imprisonment. There are certain crimes that are always classified as felonies. These crimes are typically viewed as more serious in nature, and they include rape and murder. Crimes that can only be classified as a felony count as a “strike” under California’s three strikes law, which is a sentencing scheme that allows for increased penalties for repeat felony offenders. While some crimes must be charged as felonies, other crimes can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Whether these crimes, which are often called “wobblers,” are classified as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on several factors, including the severity of the crime alleged, the facts of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and the likelihood that the defendant will continue to commit crimes. Examples of “wobbler” crimes include fraud and certain sex crimes. In some cases, a felony defense attorney in Riverside County may be able to plead down a “wobbler” from a felony to a misdemeanor.Penalties for Felony Convictions
If you are convicted of a felony, you likely will be sentenced to jail time. Sentences imposed following felony convictions are classified as low term, middle term, or high term. Some criminal statutes set forth specific sentences for each of these terms, while others simply require that a person convicted of violating the statute be sentenced according to the catchall provision of the California Penal Code, Section 1170(h). This calls for sentences of 16 months, two years, or three years.
Whether a defendant convicted of a felony is sentenced to a low, middle, or high term sentence is within the judge’s discretion. If mitigating factors are present, the judge may choose a low term sentence; conversely, if there are aggravating factors, a high term sentence may be imposed. In many cases, a judge will simply impose a middle term sentence. A Riverside County felony defense attorney can present all of the appropriate mitigating factors and minimize any aggravating factors. In addition to jail time, a person convicted of a felony may face fines of up to $10,000.00.
In certain cases, a judge will choose to impose felony probation, also known as formal probation, rather than a jail sentence. A defendant sentenced to probation will need to adhere to certain terms and conditions for the length of his or her probation term, or probation may be revoked and a prison sentence imposed. Felony probation is not available for all felonies, however. If you are charged with a felony, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you about the potential penalties that you may face if you are convicted and assist you in formulating a defense.Speak With a Trusted Criminal Lawyer
Felonies are serious crimes, and felony convictions come with serious penalties. A felony conviction can drastically alter your life. If you are facing felony charges in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Imperial County, it is critical that you speak with a felony defense lawyer in Riverside County to formulate a plan to defend against the charges that you face. Shaffer T. Cormell has the knowledge and skills needed to help you work toward obtaining a favorable legal result under the unique facts of your case. Mr. Cormell can provide you with adept and assertive representation to help you try to protect your liberties. Mr. Cormell can be contacted at (888) 922-5051 or via the online form to schedule a consultation to discuss your felony charges.