Not all criminal charges are life-or-death scenarios. Misdemeanors, for example, tend to be lesser criminal charges that involve less serious criminal offenses. However, this does not mean you should handle your charges on your own. Even misdemeanor charges must be put through the rigorous and complex process of our criminal justice system. You should absolutely hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to help you with your criminal charges, no matter how serious or minor they are. Read on to learn more about why you need an attorney for misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles from Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law.
Penalties for Misdemeanors in Los Angeles
According to the California Penal Code, a felony is any crime that is punishable by death or incarceration in state prison or county jail. All other crimes are classified as misdemeanors or infractions. Misdemeanors tend to be lesser offenses that come with lighter penalties compared to felonies. According to § 19 of the California Penal Code, misdemeanors may be penalized by no more than 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, this penalty may be increased if the statute for a particular crime allows.
Understanding the possible penalties you face requires an understanding of your charges and their relevant statutes. Each charge may provide for its own individual sentencing guidelines. If you do not know the statutes, you cannot understand what you are up against. This is why it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney. A skilled and competent lawyer will be able to find the statutes that pertain to your charges and figure out the extent of the penalties you face. From there, your attorney can begin to strategize the most effective defense for your case.
Keeping Misdemeanors from Being Upgraded to Felonies in Los Angeles
The line between a misdemeanor and a felony in Los Angeles is not always crystal clear. In some instances, a criminal offense could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony under the prosecutor’s discretion. These offenses are often referred to as “wobblers.” Generally, if the circumstances surrounding your wobbler offense are more serious, it is more likely that the prosecutor will charge you with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
An attorney is essential to your case if you are charged with wobbler offenses. Your attorney may be able to negotiate with a prosecutor to keep your charges from being upgraded to felonies. Your attorney could also work to persuade the judge that your charges should remain as misdemeanors. Making these arguments requires analyzing the mitigating and aggravating factors surrounding your case and creating a persuasive argument. These skills are inherent to an attorney’s job.
An attorney will also be able to introduce evidence and witnesses that may downplay the severity of your charges. This evidence can help keep your charges from being upgraded. Your attorney will know the rules of evidence and court regulations about introducing evidence and be better equipped to handle your case. Handling your own criminal case, no matter what the charges are, is a huge undertaking that should not be underestimated. An attorney is vital to the success of your case.
Lawyer for Police Interrogation for Misdemeanors in Los Angeles
If you are arrested on criminal charges, there is a good chance that the police will want to question you regarding your involvement in the alleged crime. If you are taken into police custody while being questioned or interrogated, the police must advise you of your Miranda rights. These rights are often heard on TV shows and in movies. These rights include your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present during questioning.
You have the option to either invoke these rights or waive them. If you invoke these rights, you do not have to answer any police questions until an attorney is present. If you waive these rights, the police will continue their line of questioning, and you will not have an attorney to help you. Having an attorney is crucial at this stage of your case because they can help you protect your rights and stop you from incriminating yourself.
The average person may not understand the nature of police questioning. Most of the time, the questions are not just designed to get important information about the alleged incident, but to get the suspect to incriminate themselves so prosecutors may press charges. A Santa Clarita criminal defense attorney can help you answer questions without causing yourself the trouble later on.
Sentencing for Misdemeanors in Los Angeles
If you are unfortunately convicted of misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles, you still need an attorney to help you through the sentencing process. Contrary to what many people might think, sentencing is not an automatic result of a conviction. A final sentence must be decided upon by a judge who weighs many different factors to determine the most appropriate sentence.
While a single misdemeanor charge may not present a severe penalty, multiple misdemeanor charges will quickly add up to a more substantial penalty. You could potentially spend a significant amount of time in jail, pay very steep fines or both. Your Diamond Bar criminal defense lawyer can present mitigating factors and effectively advocate for a lower sentence.
Your Riverside Criminal defense attorney will also be prepared to help you negotiate a plea agreement. A plea agreement is where the prosecutor agrees to reduce your charges or recommend a lighter sentence and in return, you agree to enter a guilty plea. Plea agreements are offered at the discretion of the prosecutor, but the terms can be negotiated, and you can walk away with a much more favorable outcome than you would have if you went to trial.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Misdemeanor Charges
If you face misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles, an experienced lawyer is necessary to defend your rights. The criminal justice process is long and complicated. An ordinary person is not equipped to deal with this problem alone. Contact our Glendale criminal defense lawyer, Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law, at (909) 861-8075. Call today to schedule a free legal consultation.