A misdemeanor in the State of California is an offense which allows for a maximum sentence of one year in the local county jail or other local jail. Many misdemeanor offenses maintain maximum sentences of less than one year in the county jail or other local jail. Examples of misdemeanor offenses include: Driving Under the Influence, Driving on a Suspended License, Petty Theft, Spousal Battery and other Battery offenses in certain circumstances, Drug Offenses in certain circumstances, Solicitation of Prostitution, Vandalism and Drunk in Public.
While misdemeanors do not carry the possibility of incarceration in a state prison as felonies do, an individual has the right to an attorney in all misdemeanor matters as well as other very important constitutional rights and protections. The first appearance in court on a misdemeanor charge is the arraignment. 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. A not guilty plea is entered and future dates or pre-trial dates, are placed on the court’s calendar along with a trial date if requested. The individual charged has the right to a trial by jury or judge within thirty (30) days if in custody and (45) days if out of custody, unless the decision is made to waive the right to have the trial within those periods.
Preparation of the defense to a misdemeanor action is critical and must commence as soon as possible. The path of a case can often be favorably altered with aggressive and early action by the defense. Reaching a favorable disposition of a case prior to trial, or preparing a case for a successful trial, hinges on our expert handling of the case from the earliest time possible.
A conviction for a misdemeanor potentially exposes an individual to other negative consequences apart from jail time. For example, a conviction for many misdemeanors will prevent an individual for owning and possessing a firearm. Immigration consequences, depending upon the specific nature of an individual’s citizenship, are a huge concern and consideration whenever a person is charged with a misdemeanor. Additionally, driver’s licenses, nursing licenses, real estate agent licenses and other licenses provided by the State of California may be suspended and revoked for conviction of a misdemeanor. Additionally, one must always take into consideration the practical impact on day to day and working life of a conviction for a misdemeanor. In the age of computers and internet research, one must protect one’s “record” as areas of life from employment to relationships may be negatively impacted.
Whenever someone is arrested on a misdemeanor charge or facing misdemeanor 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.