While the penalties for misdemeanor offense may not be as significant as felonies, they should not be viewed lightly. If you incur a misdemeanor conviction, you will have a documented criminal record that may have a negatively impact on your ability to get gainful employment and impede a variety of community opportunities. That’s why it’s important to work with an Orange County misdemeanors attorney if you are charged. At the Law Offices of Scot T. Neudorff, we are ready to work to defend you!
California generally breaks misdemeanor offenses into two basic categories: Standard and Aggravated. There are also crimes that state prosecutors may decide to enhance to felonies. These are often referred to as “wobblers.” The term means the state has discretion about how to prosecute.
Standard misdemeanors are lower level infractions that are punishable by a maximum 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Some of the more common offenses involve drug possession, petty theft, shoplifting, trespassing, solicitation, and being drunk in public among others.
Aggravated misdemeanors convictions carry stiffer penalties of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. These charges include domestic violence, violating a restraining order, and DUI if no one was injured.
Wobbler offenses are prosecuted based on the facts and circumstances. Things such as brandishing a weapon or elder abuse are often prosecuted as felonies. Incidents of disturbing the peace without injury tend to remain misdemeanors. If you have been charged with a “wobbler” offense, it’s imperative that you work an Orange County misdemeanor attorney early in the process. Persuading the court not to enhance such charges is in your best interest.
Although California is considered a tough on crime state, there are opportunities for first-time defendants avoid a permanent criminal record through diversion programs. By entering counseling and other terms set by the court, successful completion can result in the conviction being set aside. When diversion is not an option, prosecutors may be willing to reduce charges or minimize penalties in a plea deal. When the state refuses to act reasonably or withdraw false accusations, we won’t hesitate to bring the case to trial and force them to prove their case.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact the Law Offices of Scot T. Neudorff.