Category Archives for Court System

Misdemeanor and Infractions – What are the differences?

Misdemeanor and Infractions

Misdemeanor

What is a misdemeanor? Its legal definition is a crime that is less serious compared to a felony. California categorizes its crimes in 3 types. Felonies are the most serious, and usually end with years in prison. Misdemeanors are only punishable in jail for a max of up to a year. And lastly there are infractions that are mainly fines. The average or standard misdemeanors are usually punished as a 6 month sentence to jail and a $1,000 fine. There are large lists of crimes that qualify as a misdemeanor. However there are crimes that are on the border for misdemeanors. How the punishment carried depends on the facts of the case and your history. Examples of misdemeanor-felony crimes include elder abuse and assault. Examples of a misdemeanor-infraction crime include disturbing the peace and trespassing. However there are misdemeanors that do offer a harsher penalty. Some crimes increase the sentences.  Examples of these 2nd and 3rd DUI, domestic violence, and driving with a suspended license. When dealing with these charges it’s important to have a Criminal Defense Attorney who regularly deal with these matters. In addition, it’s also helpful for to have an attorney

Felony

There are differences between an aggravated misdemeanor and a felony. However a lot of the crimes can roll as either and the line is thin. A lot of misdemeanors will often cause you to go under a probation sentence. What this means is that the judge will grant you a chance to avoid jail time. However you must fill the conditions the judge gives to you. Popular examples include community service, roadside work, and house arrest through an electric monitoring system. You may also have to go see a psychiatrist or a counselor if asked by the judge or you may have to pay the victim compensation. Even if you commit crimes you can clear your criminal record. Expungement allows you to clear you record and start with a clean slate.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor then you need to know what you are dealing with. Speak with an attorney to see what you can do to.misdemeanor

Infraction

Infractions in California are lowest types of crimes in the justice system. Felonies would be the most serious crimes that you go to prison or get the death sentence for. Misdemeanors which are punishable by a max of a year in jail. And infractions would be the tickets and very minor criminal offenses. The most common times you would face an infraction are the times you are driving on the road. The tickets the police give you after stopping you after you were speeding or doing an illegal U-turn is an infraction. An infraction is a punishment that does not put the person into custody or probation. And such the maximum fine a person under infraction can see would be up to $250.infraction

Types of Infractions

An infraction is usually the bottom of the chain in terms of the justice system. However there are crimes that do blur the line between an infraction and a misdemeanor. Crimes such as speeding and disturbing the peace can both be charged as wobblets. Wobblet are crimes that can be charged as either (in this case) a misdemeanor or an infraction. The circumstances that usually decide whether a crime passes as one of two includes criminal history and the crime itself. Usually in order for a wobbler to even be charged the crime would have to be one that would have to have criminal intent to cause harm or trouble for others. I.E. Speeding through the streets can cause harm to others. An illegal U-turn although it may cause trouble, does not need to hurt others to do it. Each case is handled separately and these are just guidelines.

If you were charged with a wobbler that came from a petty infraction, consult with an attorney. No one should be facing misdemeanor charges in place of a $250 fine.

When dealing with an infraction, the stakes are much lower. It is not necessary to hire an attorney. In fact, the state will nto provide attorneys to people who are accused of an infraction. However, if you a person is charged with a misdeameanor then they are facing potential jail time.  For example if you are charged with a misdemeanor case in Ventura then it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney about your case that is in Ventura County. However, if you are charged with a DUI in Orange County then it is important that you contact an Orange County DUI Attorney.

Pretrial Process in California

Pretrial Processpretrial

Pretrial Process. The Pretrial Process happens when you enter a not guilty plea. The pretrial is a court appearance that allows for motions such as to suppress evidence. Exchanging of evidence and witness information between the prosecutor and your defense attorney. And its the time where plea bargains and negotiations are made before a criminal trial. The pretrial is where a lot cases can end however you have to work with your attorney. Both sides have to talk about the case’s strength and weaknesses. Your personality, and history. And the possibilities for a plea bargain.

The Discovery Process in the Pretrial

The discovery process is a two way procedure in the pretrial process. Both parties have to give their evidence to the other side that they intend to use at the trial. Its an informal process however if complications do happen, the court can intervene and take over. If that happens then it becomes a formal matter. In the discovery process both side supply each other with their witness evidence. Physical evidence. The prosecutor has a choice of turning over any evidence that is favorable for defense.. The prosecutor has to inform the defense party of any felonies that the witnesses have. And that the prosecutor also has to supply the defense with other related statements.

Types of motions in the pretrial

Motion to dismiss. If your attorney believes that there was a charge that was not legally filed then he/she can dismiss some or all the charges. The most common example is an absence of a probable cause.

Motion to suppress. Your attorney can suppress evidence if it was obtained from an illegal search and seizure. This means that evidence gotten through police misconduct is thrown out.

Pitchess motion. If you felt you were a victim of police misconduct, then it can be used against the officer. This can range from racial profiling to excessive force. The judge will look at the officer’s file and can attack his/her credibility.

Plea bargains

This is where your attorneys meet the prosecutors and try to get a reduced charge.

Knowing your pretrial important. If done right, it can end a case early.

Infraction in California – 301

Infraction in California

Infraction in California are lowest types of crimes in the justice system. Felonies would be the most serious crimes that you go to prison or get the death sentence for. Misdemeanors which are punishable by a max of a year in jail. And infractions would be the tickets and very minor criminal offenses. The most common times you would face an infraction are the times you are driving on the road. The tickets the police give you after stopping you after you were speeding or doing an illegal u-turn is considered an infraction. An infraction is a punishment that does not put the person into custody or probation. And such the max fine a person under infraction can see would be up to $250.infraction

Types of Infractions

An infraction is usually the bottom of the chain in terms of the justice system. However there are crimes that do blur the line between an infraction and a misdemeanor. Crimes such as speeding and disturbing the peace can both be charged as wobblers. Wobblers are crimes that can be charged as either (in this case) a misdemeanor or an infraction. The circumstances that usually decide whether a crime passes as one of two includes criminal history and the crime itself. Usually in order for a wobbler to even be charged the crime would have to be one that would have to have criminal intent to cause harm or trouble for others. IE. speeding through the streets can cause harm to others. An illegal u-turn although it may cause trouble, does not need to hurt others to do it. Each case is handled separately and these are just guidelines.

If you were charged with a wobbler that came from a petty infraction, consult with an attorney. No one should be facing misdemeanor charges in place of a $250 fine.

301 – Probable Cause in DUI

Probable Cause

Probable Cause is defined as having a reasonable belief that there is criminal activity. In order for a cop to stop, investigate, and arrest you they must have probable cause. There must be probable cause for each stage. In order for evidence to be properly used then it must be through legal procedures. This is due to the idea of that if evidence was gained through illegal methods. It will be able to be suppressed. Then that evidence is not allowed to be used against you if the judge suppresses it. As each step takes place there must be more convincing reason in order for a police officer to do said action.probable cause

Probable cause for stopping

In order for the cop to even stop you he must have a reason to even talk to you. The reason itself does not have to relate to DUI. Any traffic violation will do. Example if you are driving at night and your headlights aren’t on, the officer has reason to pull you over. In the case of a DUI checkpoint then there is no reason needed for them to stop you. DUI checkpoints are considered procedures instead of investigation.

Probable Cause for Investigation

After an officer stops your car and he thinks you are drunk then he will most likely try to arrest you. In order to gain his reasons for arrests the officer will conduct an investigation. He will ask questions such as what where and when were you drinking. If you answered yes or if the officer sees any possible signs of alcohol. He will then ask you to most likely do a field sobriety test and follow it up with a breathalyzer test. If there was no probable cause then the field sobriety tests and the chemical/breath tests will not be used against you.

Probable Cause for Arrests

In order for a cop to arrest you he must also read you your Miranda rights. If the officer was able to properly and exactly say why he/she believed you were DUI. The officer has to prove that his actions were under legal procedure. All the details will be in the report given to the court.

If you were wrongly pulled over and charged with DUI, seek an attorney to discuss possible defenses.