Los Angeles Felony Defense Attorney
How Does a Felony Differ from a Misdemeanor?
In the state of California, and throughout the rest of the United States,
a felony is any crime that is punishable by death or imprisonment in state
prison. All other crimes or public offenses are treated as
misdemeanors, which carry a maximum of one year in county jail. Furthermore, most felony
convictions will result in collateral consequences like the loss of your
professional license, the loss of your right to own firearms, loss of
employment and the inability to hold office or serve as a juror.
In California, certain felonies must be served in county jail if it is
so specified in the new sentencing program, the Criminal Justice Realignment
Act of 2011.
Serious Charges Require a Serious Defense
If you have been charged with a felony offense in California, it is important
to understand what you are up against. At best, you may receive formal
probation with little to no jail time; however, in the worst case scenario,
the consequences may include a lifetime behind bars in state prison. You
could also lose your professional license, your job and your right to
own a firearm. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you could
deportation. For this reason, you will need an aggressive defense.
The Los Angeles criminal lawyers at
Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners have been defending the rights of criminally accused clients for more
than 70 years combined. When you work with us, we will stand by you throughout
every step of the process, thoroughly review the evidence against you,
and do everything in our power to secure a favorable resolution on your
behalf. We know just how damaging a felony conviction can be, so you can
trust that we will work diligently to protect your freedom.
Types of Felony Offenses in California
While most felonies include some element of violence, you do not necessarily
have to commit a violent crime in order to be charged with a felony. For
example, you could be charged with a felony if you are arrested for shoplifting
and you have a prior conviction on your record. Shoplifting would otherwise
be charged as a misdemeanor.
Some of the most common felonies in California include:
White collar crimes – bribery, fraud, forgery, perjury, embezzlement, etc.
Drug crimes –possession, sales, manufacturing, distribution, etc.
Sex crimes –sexual abuse, sexual assault, possession of child porn, etc.
Violent crimes –murder, manslaughter, kidnapping,
arson, mayhem, etc.
Theft crimes – burglary, armed robbery, grand theft, carjacking, etc.
How the "Three Strikes Law" Can Affect Sentencing
Being convicted of a felony offense anywhere in the United States can result
in harsh penalties; however, California's
three strikes law can make a felony conviction particularly devastating. This law, which
is commonly referred to as the "three strikes and you're out"
law, requires repeat felony offenders to serve increasingly severe sentences
with each subsequent offense. In fact, someone who is convicted of their
third serious or violent felony will automatically face 25 years to life.
- If you already have one strike on your record and you are convicted of
another serious felony in the state, you will automatically face a doubled
prison sentence and triple the amount of time in actual custody—due
to the law's reduction of good behavior credit.
- If you already have two strikes on your record and you are convicted of
a third felony in the state (even if it is not considered a strike), the
"three strikes law" will come into full effect—meaning
that you will automatically be required to serve 25 years to life in prison.
Under California Penal Code § 666, someone who has previously been
convicted of three theft offenses could face felony penalties if they
commit another theft-related crime. This means that a "two strikes"
defendant who has been charged with a new misdemeanor shoplifting offense
could have their charges upgraded to a felony—and, thus, face 25
years to life in prison under the three strikes law.
Determinate & Indeterminate Sentencing in Felony Cases
If you are convicted of a felony offense in the state of California, you
could either face a determinate sentence or an indeterminate sentence—the
difference being that a determinate sentence is a set term of imprisonment
and an indeterminate sentence is a variable term, such as a term of life
in prison. However, most felonies are punishable under the
determinate sentencing laws in California. This means that the judge can impose one of three
prison terms: a low, middle or high term of imprisonment.
For example, robbery is punishable by a low term of two years, a middle
term of four years and a high term of six years. The judge will usually
impose a middle-of-the-road sentence, but their decision will be influenced
by several different factors—including their own discretion, the
seriousness of the crime, the defendant's criminal record and other
mitigating and aggravating factors. Indeterminate sentencing is reserved
for particularly serious felonies like murder, kidnapping, rape and aggravated mayhem.
Why are some crimes called "wobblers" in California?
In California, there are a number of different crimes that are considered
to be "wobblers"—meaning that they could either be charged
as a misdemeanor or felony. When expungement or sentencing hangs in the
balance over the status of a wobbler, it is imperative that you enlist
the help of an experienced criminal attorney in Los Angeles, CA. When
Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners is on your case, we may be able to
tip the scales of justice in favor of a misdemeanor to potentially minimize
Some of the most common wobblers in California include:
Don't Let a Felony Conviction Ruin Your Life
Even if you face the lightest possible sentencing for a felony conviction,
this permanent mark on your criminal record could still have lasting consequences.
Not only could it limit your housing and employment opportunities, but
it could put a strain on your personal relationships and quality of life.
For this reason, you shouldn't wait any longer to retain the help
of a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at Stephen G. Rodriguez &
Partners if you or someone you love has been arrested for a felony crime.
In 2003, 68% of the adults who were arrested in the state were convicted
of their charges. With this number in mind, it is important to remember
that choosing the right criminal defense attorney can make all of the
difference in the outcome of your case. When you work with our firm, you
can rest easier knowing that we are backed by both client satisfaction and a
proven record of successful results. Let us put our seven decades of combined legal experience to work for
you; contact our firm today!
Arrested for a felony offense in Los Angeles? Get in touch with a skilled
defense attorney at our firm by filling out a
free case evaluation form online.