Have you recently been charged with a criminal offense in the state of California? If so, there is no doubt that you’ve got a range of emotions going through your head right now – fear, confusion, anxiety, sadness, and even anger. It is a scary thing to be charged with a crime, especially when you aren’t sure of what your next step should be in terms of legal moves.
Here, we’ll take a look at the various types of criminal charges in California, and what you should do if you’ve been charged with one.
What is the Type of Charge?
Before even looking at your options, it’s important to understand what kind of criminal charge you are facing. In the state of California, there are three types of criminal charges, which go from most serious to least serious felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions.
With a felony charge, you can be facing the maximum punishment as far as criminal charges go. What this means is that punishment is 16 months or greater in jail (for the state of California). As stated, this is the most serious type of criminal charge and can include such things as drug crimes, murder, robbery, a sex crime, and more. If you are facing a felony charge, it needs to be taken very seriously.
Misdemeanors are still serious criminal charges, but they are a step down from felonies. Here in California, misdemeanors also are broken down into different degrees of severity. This is to help the court system figure out sentencing. It should be noted that a misdemeanor will usually show up on your background check.
Some of the most common misdemeanors include driving under the influence, trespassing, shoplifting, petty theft, probation violation, disorderly conduct, illegal gambling, assault and battery without minimum injury, reckless driving, and domestic violence.
Then we move on to infractions, which are the least serious out of all three criminal charges. With an infraction, you are usually looking at a fine rather than jail time. It should be noted though that jail time isn’t totally out of the question. Common infractions include traffic/moving violations.
What Should You Do?
While the type of charge you are facing will help determine what you should do, it’s always a good idea to contact an experienced lawyer immediately. Lawyers who are used to dealing with criminal charges such as those from Miranda Rights Law Firm will know what the next steps to take are, what papers and documents you need to file, can represent you in court if needed, and will be able to discuss your options and possible outcomes with you.
No matter how severe or minor the criminal charge may be, you want to be sure you deal with it in the best way possible.
Act Immediately and Swiftly
The key to dealing with a criminal charge in California is to act on it right away. Contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, who will be able to guide you through the process and discuss what you can expect as far as outcome goes.