Facing Misdemeanor Charges in the Los Angeles Area?

In California, criminal offenses are classified as: infractions, misdemeanors or felonies.  Let’s take a brief look at these 3:

a.)  Infractions:  Infractions, such as traffic violations, are the least serious, and are punishable by a fine or community service, but no jail time.  Infractions will not appear on your criminal record.

b.)  Misdemeanors:  A conviction for a misdemeanor, however, is considered more serious than infractions but less serious than felonies and will remain on your permanent record and carry consequences that can seriously impact your future.  Misdemeanors carry a punishment of less than 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

c.)  Felonies:  Felonies are the most serious of all, resulting in possible prison time from 16 months to life, and can be even punishable by death.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor, contact Damian Siwek, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at DCS Defense as soon as possible.  We have a successful track record of defending clients against misdemeanors as well as felony charges and will gladly sit down with you and your family, thoroughly discuss the evidence against you and recommend your next steps to achieve the best possible results in your case.

Misdemeanor Criminal Attorney in Los Angeles

Misdemeanors are usually charged by a written complaint.  Typically the complaint is filed with the court shortly before or on the day of the defendant’s first court appearance (the “Arraignment”).  While misdemeanor charges may be considered minor, being accused and/or convicted can have devastating lifelong effects.  Numerous crimes are commonly charged as misdemeanors, such as disorderly conduct, trespassing and vandalism with penalties that can include up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, probation and others.

In limited cases, misdemeanor offenses can be reduced to infractions but aggravation to felonies is more typical.  These cases are called “wobblers.”  The seriousness of the crime, injuries to the victim and the defendant’s prior record are all factors that prosecutors use to determine what charge they will file.  Examples of wobbler offenses include:

  • Domestic violence and violations of domestic violence restraining orders
  • DUI/DWI (3 convictions in 10 years)
  • Petty theft (3 or more convictions)
  • Indecent exposure
  • Possession of a concealed or loaded gun.

Misdemeanor Sentencing

If a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor, either by a plea or a jury trial, the court can impose probation (informal) with or without jail time, community service, physical labor (CALTRANS), counseling, restitution (paying the victim), fines with penalty assessments ($200 to $2,000), and “stay-away” orders.  A misdemeanor conviction also results in the person having a permanent criminal record.

Misdemeanor Criminal Attorneys in Los Angeles

While misdemeanors do not rise to the level of punishment of felonies and come with less jail time, they are still serious charges and can have far-reaching consequences for your future.  For example, many companies simply will not hire anyone with a criminal record, no matter how insignificant.  A misdemeanor conviction can also impact your ability to obtain a professional license, rent an apartment, or obtain a loan.

Do not face your misdemeanor charges alone. If you have been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor, you should contact Damian Siwek, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, at DCS Defense to schedule a no-cost confidential consultation to discuss your legal options. An experienced, knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer will reduce your chances of going to jail and in some cases reduce the misdemeanor charge to an infraction.

For aggressive and effective representation against misdemeanor criminal charges, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense.