Oakland Misdemeanor Attorney
Some believe that misdemeanor charges are not serious and do not require an experienced legal advocate. This is not a “do-it-yourself” job. In addition to jail and expensive fines, misdemeanor charges can result in a permanent criminal record that can wreck your life for years to come. If you have been charged with one or more misdemeanor offenses, you need an effective misdemeanor defense attorney who can bust through the charges being levied against you by the prosecution.
Oakland criminal defense attorney Elliot Silver has over 20 years of experience helping clients charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses. Do not hesitate to contact our office at any time to speak with a skilled and compassionate misdemeanor lawyer about your case. Call us today at (510) 995-0000 for a free initial consultation.
California Misdemeanor Definition
A misdemeanor in California is any crime where the maximum sentence is 364 days in jail. Most misdemeanors also include a fine that is usually no more than $1,000, but there are exceptions such as having multiple offenses of driving without a license which can result in a fine of up to $2,000. Misdemeanors are criminal offenses, but they are considered less serious than felonies. Felonies carry a minimum jail term of more than one year in prison.
California law places misdemeanors into two basic categories:
- Standard misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Some common examples of standard misdemeanors include petty theft, shoplifting, and being drunk in public.
- Gross or aggravated misdemeanors can result in up to 364 days in jail and a fine of more than $1,000. These charges include domestic battery, violation of a restraining order, and DUI without injury.
Misdemeanor Charges and Sentencing Guidelines
California law allows prosecutors in criminal cases to use their discretion to file complaints and charge cases. In some charges, called “wobblers,” the prosecutor can pursue either a misdemeanor or felony offense for the same alleged act. In the case of “wigglers,” the prosecutor can pursue either a non-criminal infraction or misdemeanor for charges. The prosecutor will decide this based on the facts of your case and on your criminal history. With over 20 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, attorney Elliot Silver understands how prosecutors make these decisions and can work to have your charges minimized.
California courts and prosecutors will consider a variety of factors in your misdemeanor sentencing such as your criminal past or the injuries to the alleged victims. For this reason, it is very important to have an experienced misdemeanor defense lawyer working for you to make sure that your life is not shattered by an unreasonable sentence if you are found guilty. With effective legal assistance, you can seek a sentence that minimizes jail time and other serious penalties that will wreck your life.
In addition to fines or jail time, the court may place other requirements on you such as:
- Serving one to three years of misdemeanor probation, also called “summary,” “informal,” or “court” probation
- Seeking and completing counseling for drug or alcohol abuse
- Paying restitution for the alleged victims
- Working a certain number of days in a work alternative program
- Wearing an ankle bracelet for house arrest
Misdemeanor Conviction and Deportation
Some criminal convictions can lead to deportation. If they involve any of the following, they may be considered deportable crimes:
- Firearms or weapons
- Domestic Violence
If, within five years of entry into the U.S., you commit a crime that involves “moral turpitude” or that carries a penalty of more than one year of incarceration, you may be subject to deportation. Because deportation is possible in some misdemeanor situations, it is essential that you seek the assistance of a seasoned misdemeanor defense attorney if you’re being investigated for or charged with a crime. Attorney Elliot Silver has decades of experience battling against the harshest punishments, which may include deportation.
The Misdemeanor Court Process
The misdemeanor process in California can be complex, and it is important to have a dedicated defense attorney working with you. Attorney Elliot Silver understands the misdemeanor court process and will tear through the accusations being made by the prosecution.
The legal process following a misdemeanor arrest usually proceeds as follows:
- Arraignment– Following your citation or if you are released after an arrest, you will be given a date for your court arraignment. At the arraignment, you will be presented with your charges. It is very important to have your lawyer at your arraignment since you and your lawyer will be served with the complaint and charges against you. In fact, you may not have to appear for your arraignment if you have an attorney to appear instead.
- Pretrial Process– Prior to trial, your case may be resolved with a plea agreement agreed upon with the prosecution. A formal pretrial hearing may involve filing motions, court appearances, and discovery presentation. We will present evidence to mitigate, lower, and sometimes get your charges dismissed.
- Trial– If your case goes to trial, you are entitled to a jury. The prosecution can only convict if you if all 12 jurors find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on all elements of each charged offense.
Silver Law Firm Can Help You
Misdemeanors should never be treated lightly since they can drastically affect your life. No matter what charges you or a loved one are facing, a knowledgeable defense lawyer is ready to help. Attorney Elliot Silver has decades of experience fighting for the rights of clients charged with misdemeanor offenses. We can make sure you are protected as your case plows through the court system.
Contact Silver Law Firm if you would like to discuss your misdemeanor case with an experienced Oakland criminal defense lawyer. Call us today at (510) 995-0000. We will answer your call immediately.