In California, crimes are classified into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Misdemeanors are not the most serious category of crimes, but misdemeanor charges are not to be taken lightly, since a conviction can result in significant fines and jail time. If you are charged with a misdemeanor crime, it is in your best interest to consult a Riverside County misdemeanor defense lawyer who is experienced in these matters. Shaffer T. Cormell has over two decades of experience representing people charged with misdemeanor crimes in the California legal system. Mr. Cormell will advocate assertively on your behalf to help you seek the most favorable outcome possible under the facts of your case. Mr. Cormell assists people charged with misdemeanors in 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.Types of California Misdemeanors
In California, misdemeanors are more serious than infractions but less serious than felonies. Misdemeanors may be further classified as gross or aggravated in certain cases. Crimes classified as standard misdemeanors include public intoxication and petty theft, while domestic battery and violating a restraining order are examples of gross misdemeanors. Misdemeanor crimes are unique in that certain misdemeanor crimes may be upgraded or downgraded based on the particular facts of the case. In other words, some crimes may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, while other crimes may be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor. These crimes are commonly known as “wobblers,” and the prosecution will look at multiple elements in deciding how the crime should be charged.
Examples of crimes that could be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor include assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse, while disturbing the peace is an example of an infraction-misdemeanor wobbler. A misdemeanor defense attorney in Riverside County can advise you on whether a crime is likely to be charged as a misdemeanor, felony, or infraction.Penalties Imposed for Misdemeanor Convictions
To convict you of a misdemeanor, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime alleged. This means that the State must provide evidence that requires a reasonable person to have no doubt that you committed the crime alleged. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may face fines and jail time. Standard misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in prison and $1,000.00 in fines, while gross or aggravated misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in prison and $1,000.00 in fines.
In many cases, the court will impose probation rather than a prison sentence or fines. If a person is sentenced to misdemeanor probation, he or she will need to comply with court-imposed terms for the duration of the probation, which is typically one to three years. Common misdemeanor probation terms include restitution, community service, counseling, and refraining from engaging in any additional illegal activity. A Riverside County misdemeanor defense attorney can help you advocate for probation instead of jail time if this is available and appropriate.
Misdemeanor probation, also known as informal probation, differs from felony or formal probation in that a person on informal probation will not need to report to a probation officer. Instead, an individual on informal probation will report directly to the court when needed, such as if the person moves or completes a probation requirement. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to take your charges seriously and consult a skilled attorney as soon as possible to develop a plan to defend against the charges.Meet With a Skilled Advocate for Criminal Defendants
A misdemeanor conviction can affect your rights, your reputation, and your future. If you are charged with a misdemeanor in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Imperial County, it is important that you meet with a knowledgeable criminal attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding your arrest and subsequent charges. Shaffer T. Cormell is a capable criminal defense attorney with substantial experience representing people charged with misdemeanors, and he will vigorously pursue a successful outcome in your case. Mr. Cormell will work tirelessly to help you formulate a strong defense against the charges. He can be contacted at (888) 922-5051, or you can use the online form to set up an appointment to discuss your charges with a misdemeanor defense lawyer in Riverside County.