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Felony Cases

A felony in the State of California is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison system.  However, a judge may also sentence a person convicted of a felony to probation and up to a maximum of one year in the county jail or a local jail. Examples of felonies in California include: Robbery, Residential Burglary, Murder, Manslaughter, Grand Theft, Arson, Mayhem, Possession for Sale of Drugs.  Some felony offenses may also be reduced to misdemeanors with the proper representation and preparation.

The first appearance in court on a felony charge is the arraignment. If the person is in custody, that person must be brought before a judge for arraignment within seventy-two (72) hours of arrest. At the arraignment, the individual charged is informed of the charges, his or her rights and provided with the documents used to support the charges and the judge will set a bail amount or set a release on one’s own recognizance. A not guilty plea is entered at the arraignment and the date for preliminary hearing is set along with a date prior to the preliminary hearing if requested. The dates set prior to the preliminary hearing serve as dates to negotiate a dismissal or resolution of the case, exchange information, further negotiations and calendaring of the preliminary hearing.

The preliminary hearing is the hearing where a judge evaluates the evidence presented by the prosecution. This evidence need not be the entirety of the evidence the prosecution believes they may present at trial and the law allows prosecutors to place hearsay evidence from members of law enforcement before the judge. The judge then must determine, based upon the evidence presented by the prosecution, whether sufficient evidence was presented to allow the matter to continue further and proceed potentially to trial. During the preliminary hearing the defense is afforded the opportunity to cross examine the prosecutor's witnesses and, in some cases, present a defense and call witnesses to support its position. The preliminary hearing will substantially impact the path of your case. Thus, a well qualified attorney must represent you in order to protect your position and the outcome of your case. The Law Offices of Matthew Horeczko provides the excellent representation one needs at this critical stage.  Mr. Horeczko's years of experience in criminal law as both a prosecutor and defense attorney creates the ability for success during the preliminary hearing and sets the stage for success at trial should the matter proceed.

Should the judge at the preliminary hearing find sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial, the judge will hold the person to answer on the charges.  The next date in court is an arraignment on the new charging document that must be filed against the individual, the information.  After a plea of not guilty to the information, a jury trial date is set within sixty (60) days along with a pre-trial date prior to the trial date. The pre-trial dates are further opportunities to seek a dismissal or resolution to the case as well as to file and argue motions if applicable.  When no dismissal or resolution is reached, the trial would commence.

A conviction for a felony has many consequences including a prohibition on possessing firearms, potential deportation and denial of citizenship in immigration cases, revocation of licenses such as nursing, driving, real estate, and other licenses. as well as other consequences. Some offenses mandate registration with the state as well. The consequences of a felony conviction other than incarceration must be completely and thoroughly understood and discussed at the onset of a felony defense.

When a person is placed on probation following a felony conviction, the local county probation office monitors the individual and the sentencing judge rules over any possible violations of probation. When a person is sentenced to state prison that person will be released on parole and a parole officer will monitor the person on parole and the state parole board will oversee any possible violations of parole.

Whenever someone is arrested on a felony charge or facing felony charges in court, that person needs an attorney with the experience and expertise of Matthew Horeczko. Protect yourself and your future, in the short and long term, call the Law Offices of Matthew M. Horeczko.

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