Long Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Long Beach, you are probably very stressed out and frightened of what comes next. Criminal charges are no laughing matter and should be taken very seriously. The penalties for criminal charges can range from minor fines and fees to lengthy prison terms. Depending on the nature of your charges, the criminal justice process can be incredibly long, stressful, and complicated.
You should not face your criminal charges on your own. You need a skilled and experienced attorney to help you defend your rights and fight your charges in court. Please contact our experienced Long Beach criminal defense lawyer, Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law, for assistance with your case. Our legal team is prepared to represent you at all stages of your trial. Call (909) 861-8075 to schedule a free legal consultation.
Potential Criminal Charges in Long Beach, CA
California divides criminal offenses into three distinct classifications of offenses. These classifications are, from least to most serious, infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. These categories tend to be very broad and may encompass many different types of crimes. The classifications are also not entirely rigid, allowing some offenses to be charged under more than one category depending on the prosecutor’s discretion. Our Long Beach criminal defense lawyer will help you understand your charges and any associated penalties.
Infractions are relatively minor offenses. This classification covers any crimes that are not explicitly made felonies or misdemeanors in the California Penal Code. It is common for infractions to be punished with fines and very little to no jail time. Common examples of infractions are traffic violations, such as speeding, tailgating, or running red lights.
Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions because misdemeanors may be punished with jail time. However, these are less serious than felonies as they are punished with shorter prison terms. Generally, misdemeanors in Long Beach may be punished with jail time of just under one year. Misdemeanors can be broken down further into standard and gross misdemeanors. Standard misdemeanors are punishable by no more than 6 months and fines of less than $1,000. Gross misdemeanors are a bit more severe and may be punished by more than 6 months but still less than one year of prison time and fines beyond $1,000.
Felonies are the most serious offense a person may be charged with in California. These offenses are often punished with lengthy prison terms and steep fines. Any felony charges must be taken extremely seriously. There are two kinds of felonies in California.
Straight felonies are offenses that may only be charged as felonies. Prosecutors have no discretion to charge these offenses as anything other than a felony. The more serious offenses, such as violent crimes like murder or sexual assault, tend to be straight felonies.
Wobbler felonies are offenses that may be charged as felonies but may also be charged as misdemeanors. How you are charged is within the prosecutor’s discretion. These tend to be somewhat less serious felony offenses and may be used as bargaining chips in plea agreement negotiations. For example, a prosecutor may downgrade your wobbler felony charges to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea. If you have been charged with any crime, felony, misdemeanor, or infraction, call our Long Beach criminal defense attorney for help and guidance.
Criminal Penalties and Sentencing in Long Beach, California
Criminal penalties are difficult to determine in Long Beach because, under the California Penal Code, each separate offense is assigned a unique penalty range. Rather than assign penalties to broad categories of crimes as other states and jurisdictions do, each crime is designated its own range of penalties and punishments.
For example, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a felony offense, may be punished by either 4, 6, or 10 years in prison. Robbery of the first degree, a different felony offense, is punishable by 3, 6, or 9 years in prison. These charges are both felonies, yet both have somewhat different penalty ranges. To determine your unique penalties, you should contact our Long Beach criminal defense lawyer. We can discuss your case, assess your potential penalties, and mount the best defense possible.
Some felonies do not have a range of penalties but impose a single sentence for all convicted defendants. These tend to be the most serious offenses for which there is little room for discretion in sentencing. For example, all people convicted of murder in the first degree will be sentenced to either death or life in prison without parole. For those cases where capital punishment is not sought, all convicted defendants will be sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life in prison. Your penalties will depend on the specific charges against you.
Fighting Your Charges with a Long Beach Criminal Attorney
Every criminal defendant has the right to a trial. At trial, the prosecutor will present evidence suggesting your guilt and we will present evidence to the contrary. Trials can be very intimidating, but keep in mind that prosecutors have a very high burden to meet if they want to convict you. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are the person who committed the crime or crimes in question. This means that a jury must be convinced of your guilt with little to no second thoughts. Trials are often long, arduous processes. Many defendants are released on bail during their trial, but others might not be released and will wait in jail during their trial.
If you think a trial would not work out in your favor, it might be possible to accept a plea agreement. Plea agreements, also referred to as plea deals or plea bargains, are offered by prosecutors to defendants to avoid a trial. A plea agreement entails the defendant entering a plea of guilty, thereby waiving their right to a trial, in exchange for reduced charges or a recommendation for a lighter sentence from the prosecutor. Plea agreements are negotiable, meaning if you dislike an offer from a prosecutor, we can return with a counteroffer and hopefully reach a deal both parties can agree to. Contact our Long Beach criminal defense attorney to represent you at your trial or negotiate the best plea deal possible.
Contact Our Long Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Long Beach, please do not hesitate to call our experienced Long Beach criminal defense lawyer. Our legal team is here to help you through the criminal justice process and defend your rights in the process. Call Long Beach and Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Eric Davis, Attorney at Law, to set up a free legal consultation at (909) 861-8075.