In California, misdemeanors are a class of criminal offenses that are more serious than infractions but less severe than felonies. Just because they aren’t felonies, defendants shouldn’t think they can skimp on the defense strategy if they’re facing a misdemeanor.
There are several points to know about misdemeanors in California. Consider these:
1: Release from jail
Individuals can be released from jail in several ways after being arrested for a misdemeanor in California. One way is through a citation, especially in cases of low-level misdemeanors. The officer may simply hand the individual a citation to appear in court. Another method is an own recognizance release. This occurs when a person is released from jail by promising to appear for all court appearances.
The process following a misdemeanor arrest in California typically proceeds through several stages. These include the arrest, arraignment, bail hearing, pretrial phase, jury trial or bench trial, and potentially an appeal. However, not all cases go through every step. One important timeline is that if a defendant is in custody, their trial must start within 30 days of either arraignment or plea, whichever is later. That timeline increases to 45 days if they aren’t in custody. Extensions are sometimes possible if the defendant agrees to waive the right to a speedy trial.
3: Possible Sentences
The penalties for misdemeanors in California vary. Every misdemeanor must have a sentence of less than $1,000 and less than one year in the county jail. Alternative sentences, such as probation and community service are possible.
Anyone who’s facing a misdemeanor should ensure they understand their rights. Working closely with someone familiar with these matters may reduce the stress and be beneficial in developing a defense strategy.