Misdemeanors

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Firm

Misdemeanor Attorneys

Misdemeanors in California are considered less severe than felonies but more serious than infractions. They encompass a wide range of criminal offenses that can significantly impact your life. Understanding what constitutes a misdemeanor and the importance of legal representation is the first step toward navigating these charges effectively.

What Constitutes a Misdemeanor in California:

  • Misdemeanor offenses can include but are not limited to:
    • DUI and DWI offenses, including those involving field sobriety tests and intoxication assault.
    • Drug-related charges, such as possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance.
    • Theft crimes, including shoplifting and credit card fraud.
    • Assault and family violence, covering assault causing bodily injury and domestic disputes.
    • Traffic offenses, ranging from multiple traffic tickets to more serious charges like commercial DWI.
    • Public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and other public order offenses.
    • Sex crimes, including indecent exposure and statutory rape.

 

Importance of Legal Representation for Misdemeanor Charges:

  • Expertise in Criminal Procedure: Misdemeanor lawyers and defense attorneys bring a deep understanding of the criminal procedure, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
  • Negotiation Skills: Experienced misdemeanor defense attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors, potentially reducing charges or seeking alternative sentencing options.
  • Trial Experience: In cases that go to trial, having a defense lawyer with jury trial experience is invaluable. Former prosecutors, now serving as defense lawyers, often have a unique insight into how the prosecution builds its case.
  • Mitigating Consequences: A skilled misdemeanor defense lawyer can help mitigate the consequences of a conviction, such as reducing jail time, fines, or the impact on your criminal record.
  • Navigating Complex Laws: Understanding the nuances of Texas law, the Texas Penal Code, and specific county regulations (e.g., Dallas, Travis County) is crucial for an effective defense.
  • Specialized Defense Strategies: Whether it’s a DWI defense, challenging a field sobriety test, or defending against drug charge or sex offense allegations, specialized knowledge is key to crafting a strong defense.

 

Facing misdemeanor charges in California can be daunting, but you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. The Foxx Firm’s team of misdemeanor defense lawyers, including former prosecutors and experienced criminal defense attorneys, is equipped to defend your rights and work towards the best possible outcome. Contact us today to ensure that your case is handled with the expertise and dedication it deserves.

What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Navigating the complexities of misdemeanor charges requires a clear understanding of what these offenses entail, especially in comparison to felonies, and recognizing their potential impact on your life. Here’s a breakdown of the essential aspects of misdemeanors in Altadena, Pasadena, and Los Angeles County, highlighting the importance of securing experienced misdemeanor defense representation.

Definition of a Misdemeanor versus a Felony:

  • Misdemeanor: A criminal offense deemed less severe than a felony, punishable by fines and/or jail time typically not exceeding one year, usually served in county jail. Misdemeanors are characterized by their lesser threat to society compared to felonies but are more serious than infractions.
  • Felony: A more serious criminal offense that carries stiffer penalties, including prison sentences of more than one year, significant fines, and long-term impacts on civil rights. Felonies include violent crimes, major thefts, and serious drug offenses.

 

Examples of Common Misdemeanor Offenses in Altadena, Pasadena, and Los Angeles County:

  • Traffic Offenses: Including DUI/DWI, driving without a license, and driving with a suspended license.
  • Drug-Related Offenses: Possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia, especially for personal use.
  • Theft and Property Crimes: Petty theft, shoplifting, and vandalism.
  • Public Order Offenses: Public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and solicitation.
  • Violence and Family-Related Crimes: Simple assault, domestic battery, and violating restraining orders.

 

Potential Penalties and Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction:

  • Jail Time: Up to one year in county jail, though some offenses may qualify for probation or alternative sentencing.
  • Fines and Fees: Monetary penalties can be substantial, often compounded by court costs and restitution.
  • Probation: Often includes community service, mandatory classes (such as DUI school), and regular check-ins with a probation officer.
  • Criminal Record: A misdemeanor conviction appears on background checks, affecting employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
  • Loss of Rights: Certain misdemeanors may result in the loss of firearm rights or driving privileges.

 

Understanding the distinction between misdemeanors and felonies, along with the common types of misdemeanor offenses and their associated penalties, underscores the importance of qualified legal representation. The Foxx Firm, with its seasoned team of criminal defense lawyers and misdemeanor defense attorneys, stands ready to defend your rights and pursue the most favorable outcomes in the face of misdemeanor charges. Our comprehensive approach ensures that every client receives personalized attention, from initial consultation through the conclusion of their case, mitigating the potential impact of a misdemeanor conviction on their future.

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Misdemeanor cases We Handle

At The Foxx Firm, we understand the complexities and nuances of defending against misdemeanor charges. Our expertise spans a wide range of key practice areas, ensuring that clients facing misdemeanor accusations receive the robust defense they deserve. Here’s an overview of our primary areas of focus in misdemeanor defense, highlighting our commitment to safeguarding our clients’ rights and futures.

DUI and DWI Offenses: Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges can have far-reaching consequences, including license suspension, fines, and jail time. Our defense attorneys are adept at challenging field sobriety tests, analyzing breathalyzer and blood test procedures, and negotiating to reduce or dismiss charges, ensuring a comprehensive defense strategy for those accused of DUI or DWI.

Domestic Violence Charges: Accusations of domestic violence carry significant legal and social stigma, potentially impacting family relationships and employment opportunities. We provide a sensitive yet assertive defense for clients, focusing on the specifics of each case, contesting the evidence presented, and striving for resolutions that protect our clients’ rights and reputations.

Drug Possession for Personal Use: California’s laws on drug possession can lead to misdemeanor charges for the possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia. Our attorneys are skilled in navigating the intricacies of drug-related offenses, advocating for alternatives to incarceration, such as diversion programs, and fighting for the dismissal or reduction of charges.

Theft and Petty Theft: Theft-related misdemeanors, including shoplifting and petty theft, can result in criminal records that affect future prospects. Our legal team employs strategies to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, negotiate plea bargains, and seek expungement opportunities, aiming to minimize the impact of theft charges.

Traffic Violations and Driving Offenses: From speeding tickets to driving without a license, traffic misdemeanors can accumulate, leading to increased penalties and even license suspension. We offer legal representation to contest traffic charges, reduce fines, and prevent points from affecting clients’ driving records.

Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct: Charges of public intoxication or disorderly conduct can often be contested based on the circumstances of the arrest. Our defense lawyers explore all avenues for defense, from questioning the legality of the police encounter to negotiating for lesser penalties or alternative resolutions.

Misdemeanor charges, while less severe than felonies, require a vigorous defense to protect against the potential consequences. At The Foxx Firm, our team of experienced misdemeanor defense lawyers and former prosecutors brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to every case. Whether facing DUI, domestic violence, drug possession, theft, traffic violations, or public order offenses, our clients can trust in our ability to provide a tailored defense strategy aimed at securing the best possible outcomes. Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your misdemeanor defense needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Los Angeles County, a misdemeanor charge encompasses a range of criminal activities considered less severe than felonies but more serious than infractions. Misdemeanors are characterized by their potential penalties and the nature of the offenses. Here's an outline of what constitutes a misdemeanor charge in this jurisdiction:

Misdemeanors are legally defined as criminal offenses that can lead to punishment including fines, probation, community service, and jail time of up to one year, typically served in county jail. This distinguishes them from felonies, which carry harsher penalties and longer imprisonment in state or federal prison.

Common examples of misdemeanor offenses include DUI (Driving Under the Influence) without serious injury, petty theft (shoplifting items of relatively low value), public intoxication, simple assault and battery without serious bodily harm, and possession of controlled substances for personal use in small quantities.

The court proceedings for misdemeanor charges may include several stages, from arraignment through to sentencing. While some misdemeanors may be resolved without a jury trial, particularly if a plea agreement is reached, individuals have the right to legal representation and, in many cases, a trial by jury.

It's important to note the impact of a misdemeanor conviction on one's criminal record, which can affect future employment, housing, and educational opportunities. However, under certain conditions, it may be possible to have a misdemeanor expungement, effectively removing the conviction from the individual's record.

A misdemeanor conviction in Los Angeles County can result in a variety of penalties, depending on the nature of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the case. Here are the key penalties and consequences associated with a misdemeanor conviction:

  • Jail Time: Up to one year in a county jail. The exact duration varies based on the offense and other factors, such as prior convictions.

  • Fines: Monetary penalties for misdemeanors can be substantial, often ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, excluding court costs and restitution to victims.

  • Probation: Instead of, or in addition to jail time, a court may impose probation, which typically includes conditions like community service, attending counseling sessions, or completing educational programs.

  • Community Service: Courts may require individuals convicted of misdemeanors to perform a specified number of hours of community service as part of their sentence or probation.

  • Mandatory Classes: For certain offenses, such as DUIs, the court may require the completion of specific educational programs, like alcohol or drug education and counseling.

  • Loss of Professional Licenses: Some misdemeanor convictions, especially those related to the individual's profession (e.g., DUI for a commercial driver), can lead to the suspension or revocation of professional licenses.

  • Restraining Orders: In cases involving domestic violence or harassment, the court may issue a restraining order against the defendant, limiting contact with the victim(s).

  • Loss of Firearm Rights: Certain misdemeanors, particularly those involving violence, may result in the loss of the right to own or possess firearms.

  • Impact on Immigration Status: Non-citizens convicted of certain misdemeanors may face immigration consequences, including deportation or ineligibility for naturalization.

  • Criminal Record: A misdemeanor conviction will appear on background checks, potentially affecting employment, housing, and educational opportunities. However, some misdemeanors may be eligible for expungement under California law, which can remove the conviction from the individual's record.

It's important for individuals facing misdemeanor charges to understand these potential penalties and to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can navigate the legal system and work to minimize the impact of a conviction.

Yes, a misdemeanor charge can often be expunged from your record in Los Angeles County, provided certain conditions are met. Expungement in California typically requires that you have completed your probation successfully, paid all fines and restitution, and are not currently charged with a criminal offense, on probation for another offense, or serving a sentence for another offense. Expungement under California Penal Code Section 1203.4 releases individuals from many of the negative consequences of a criminal conviction, although some exceptions apply, such as certain sex offenses and driving privileges. It's advisable to consult with a criminal defense attorney to navigate the expungement process and ensure you meet all eligibility criteria.

A felony conviction can have severe long-term consequences, including loss of the right to vote, inability to possess firearms, difficulties in finding employment, and challenges in securing housing. Additionally, a felony record can impact professional licensing, educational opportunities, and personal relationships.

In Los Angeles County, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge is typically classified as a misdemeanor under certain circumstances. The classification depends on several key factors:

  1. No Serious Injuries or Deaths: If the DUI/DWI incident did not result in any serious bodily injuries or fatalities, it is likely to be charged as a misdemeanor. When serious injuries or deaths occur, the charge can be elevated to a felony.
  2. First or Second Offense: Generally, first and second DUI/DWI offenses without aggravating factors are classified as misdemeanors. The law tends to be more lenient with individuals who do not have a significant history of DUI/DWI offenses.
  3. No Prior Felony DUI Convictions: If the individual does not have any prior felony DUI/DWI convictions, subsequent DUI/DWI charges are more likely to be misdemeanors, assuming no other aggravating factors are present.
  4. No Other Aggravating Factors: The absence of aggravating factors, such as having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, driving with an extremely high blood alcohol content (BAC), or driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a previous DUI, helps keep the charge within misdemeanor territory.

 

It's important to note that even as a misdemeanor, a DUI/DWI conviction in Los Angeles County can result in significant penalties, including fines, license suspension, mandatory DUI education programs, and possibly jail time. The specifics of each case can vary, so consulting with a knowledgeable DUI/DWI defense attorney is crucial to understand the charges and explore all available defense options.