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Misdemeanor Offenses in California

misdemeanor lawyer santa barbara

In California, a misdemeanor offense is a crime for which the maximum penalty is up to one year in jail. While a misdemeanor offense is less severe than a felony crime, it could involve serious penalties that may include probation, steep fines, professional license suspensions, or jail time. In some instances, misdemeanors are escalated to felony charges with increasingly stringent penalties.

If you are facing misdemeanor charges in California, it may be in your best interest to seek the advice of a defense attorney to effectively resolve any charges. At the Aron Law Firm, our experienced Santa Barbara misdemeanor defense attorneys work closely with our clients to understand their unique set of circumstances and needs so we may help protect their rights. Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we may be able to help.

What Constitutes Misdemeanor Offenses in California?

The sentencing for misdemeanors in California is defined under California Penal Code 19 as the following:

“Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any law of this state, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both.”

In cases that involve aggravated circumstances, the jail sentence may increase to a year. Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor may also encounter probation costs, education courses, and various activities that require time, energy, and resources to complete.

What Are the Most Frequent Misdemeanor Crimes in Santa Barbara, California?

Frequent misdemeanors in Santa Barbara, California include but are not limited to:

  • Drug possession
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Reckless driving
  • Public drunkenness
  • Petty theft or shoplifting
  • Simple assault or battery
  • Assault with a taser or stun gun
  • Soliciting an act of prostitution
  • Domestic violence
  • Probation violations
  • Disorderly conduct 

Legal challenges are more significant than merely having to go before a judge on a court date. They may involve serious long-term implications that may require advocacy from a skilled defense attorney to help put this legal trouble behind and move forward in your life.

What Offenses Are Considered Wobbler Misdemeanors in California?

Some misdemeanors called “wobblers” grant the prosecution discretion to raise the charge to a felony in California. Matters that a prosecutor in California may consider when deciding whether to charge a wobbler misdemeanor as a felony may include the unique circumstances surrounding the case—like the extent of injuries or the defendant's behavior—along with the defendant's criminal background.

Examples of misdemeanors that are wobblers in California may include:

  • DUI with an injury
  • Domestic violence
  • Deadly threats
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Grand theft
  • Second-degree burglary
  • Embezzlement
  • Child abuse
  • Child endangerment

Keep in mind there is a time limit in which the prosecution must bring criminal charges against people who have allegedly committed misdemeanors in California. All crimes are subject to a statute of limitations that sets a strict time where the state may prosecute people for violating the law. The time period varies depending on the criminal act. Contact criminal defense attorneys at the Aron Law Firm to better understand the statute of limitations related to your situation.

May I Have a California Misdemeanor Conviction Removed from My Record?

Having a misdemeanor on your criminal background may result in the incapacity to become approved for credit loans, mortgages, apartment leases, and even educational assistance. Individuals who maintain a professional license may risk their license becoming suspended or revoked in some cases.

If you have a misdemeanor offense on your record and want it removed so it no longer shows up on background checks, contact the experienced expungement attorneys at the Aron Law Firm. Depending on the type of charge and the circumstances surrounding your case, it may be possible to expunge certain misdemeanor convictions. Contact us today to learn if your crime is eligible for expungement so you may reclaim your reputation and move forward in your life.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Seasoned California Criminal Defense Attorney

A misdemeanor in California may have long-term adverse implications on your life if not handled effectively. A conviction may affect your freedom, future wellbeing, and ability to gain meaningful employment. If you are facing prosecution for a misdemeanor or felony offense in California, the Aron Law Firm's criminal defense lawyers in Santa Barbara may help pursue the best possible result so you are not left with a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record.

Our highly regarded criminal defense lawyers at the Aron Law Firm are committed to defending individuals who are in some of the most trying times of their lives. Led by former California Deputy District Attorney, William M. Aron, the Aron Law Firm misdemeanor defense lawyers may examine your case in great detail to create a strong defense. 

To speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer about your situation, schedule a free and confidential consultation by completing a contact form or calling (805) 618-1768.

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