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criminal defense firm

When you commit a criminal offense in California, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony – depending on the nature and severity of the crime. Felony charges are extremely serious in nature and can lead to harsh penalties. While a misdemeanor charge is not nearly as serious as a felony, a conviction can still have long-lasting consequences. Furthermore, regardless of the charges you are facing, it’s critical to hire the services of a dedicated and experienced California criminal defense firm.

Key Differences between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges in California

Nature of Crime

Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious in nature. The most common crimes for which you can be charged with a misdemeanor include:

  • Petty theft
  • DUI
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Simple assault and/or battery
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Indecent exposure
  • Drug possession

Felonies, on the other hand, are crimes that are more serious in nature. The most common crimes for which you can be charged with a felony include:

  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated assault
  • Sale or transportation of drugs
  • Sexual assault
  • Homicide

It should be noted that certain misdemeanor charges can be upgraded to felony charges under aggravating circumstances. For instance, DUI, which is a misdemeanor, can be charged as a felony if it results in injuries or death. These are called wobblers, as they could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony – depending on the prosecution’s discretion. To this point, if you are charged with a wobbler crime, it is critical to hire a criminal defense firm as soon as you can.

Penalties

Misdemeanors in California are punishable with fines (up to $1,000) and jail time (up to one year). However, depending on the circumstances, the criminal defense firm that represents you might be able to negotiate with the prosecution and help you avoid jail time.

Felonies in California are punishable with fines ($10,000 or more) and prison time (anywhere from one year to life in prison). Certain crimes like first-degree murder can be sentenced to capital punishment as well.

Also, for misdemeanors, you have to serve time in a county jail, whereas for felonies, you have to serve time in a state prison.

Long-Term Consequences

A misdemeanor conviction can make it harder for you to get admitted to prestigious educational institutions and disqualify you from certain jobs.

A felony conviction, on the contrary, can have greater life-altering consequences. It can make you ineligible to vote, serve on a jury, or serve in the armed forces. It can also make it harder for you to get a job or rent an apartment. You will lose your right to own or possess firearms as well if convicted of a felony.

Charged with a Misdemeanor or Felony Charge in California? Paladin Criminal Defense Firm Can Help You!

At Paladin Legal Defenders, we are passionate about providing the highest level of legal representation to those who are facing misdemeanor and felony charges in California. With a top-notch legal team that includes a former prosecutor and a former police officer, no case is too complicated for us to take on. We bring unparalleled legal expertise and over 60 years of combined experience to the table and can get results that many other firms cannot.

To find out how we can help you, call our criminal defense firm today at 714-536-9988 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned and professional criminal lawyers.

California misdemeanor charges

Under California law, criminal offenses are broadly classified into misdemeanors and felonies. Crimes of a less serious nature are usually charged as misdemeanors and serious crimes are charged as felonies. However, for some crimes, you could face either California misdemeanor charges or felony charges – depending on the circumstances. These crimes are commonly referred to as wobblers.

What are Wobblers and Why Can They be Charged as Misdemeanor or Felony?

The California Penal Code clearly defines what constitutes a misdemeanor and what constitutes a felony. Even so, wobblers are crimes that could fit into either category, depending on a number of factors. It is up to the prosecution to decide whether a wobbler crime should be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, with the judge having final say during sentencing.

The most common example of a wobbler crime in California is DUI. Under normal circumstances, you could face California misdemeanor charges for a DUI. However, if you seriously injure or kill someone while driving drunk, or if you already have three or more DUI convictions on your record, you could face California felony charges.

Similarly, assault is a wobbler crime which is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Still, it can be upgraded to a felony under the following circumstances:

  • If a deadly weapon was displayed to threaten the victim
  • If a deadly weapon was used to inflict injuries on the victim
  • If the victim is a government employee, emergency responder, or  police officer
  • If the victim is a minor or an elderly person
  • If the victim is physically handicapped or mentally challenged and incapable of defending themselves
  • If the assault resulted in serious bodily injuries to the victim

Other wobbler crimes for which you could face either California felony charges or misdemeanor charges include:

  • Grand theft
  • Burglary
  • Forgery
  • Child endangerment
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Lewd acts with a minor
  • Making deadly threats

Apart from the aggravating circumstances mentioned above, prosecutors in California also take a wide range of other factors into account to decide whether a wobbler crime should be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. These include:

  • Your age
  • Whether it is your first offense or if you have a criminal record
  • The severity of the crime you are charged with
  • Whether you are likely to commit crimes again
  • Whether you are willing to cooperate with law enforcement

Are You Facing California Misdemeanor Charges or Felony Charges for a Wobbler Crime? We Can Help You!

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges for a wobbler crime, the experienced California criminal defense attorneys at Paladin Legal Defenders can help you. With over 60 years of combined experience and unmatched legal expertise, we are best suited to represent you and fight for your rights and freedom.

Our legal team includes a former police officer and a former prosecutor, both of whom have first-hand knowledge of how the criminal justice system in California works. It allows us to anticipate the prosecution’s strategies, mount the most aggressive defense possible, and get results that most other firms cannot.

If you are facing California felony charges or misdemeanor charges, call us today at 714-536-9988 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.

Being falsely accused of a crime is undoubtedly one of the worst things that can happen to you. The possibility of going to jail based on a false accusation can unnerve even the strongest of people. However, it’s necessary for you to understand the gravity of the situation and take steps to protect yourself. Here are five tips from an experienced criminal defense lawyer in California on what you should do if you are falsely accused of a crime.

Do Not Volunteer Information

The last thing you should do when facing false accusations is to try and explain yourself and tell your side of the story to the police. Remember – the police will use any information you give them to build a case against you. With that said, you should never share any details with the police unless you have a criminal lawyer by your side.

If the accuser happens to be a family member or an acquaintance, you might be tempted to talk to them so that you can sort things out privately. This can prove to be a costly mistake, as you might be accused of trying to threaten or coerce the victim into silence, which can lead to further charges against you. Correlating with that, do not say anything to anyone until you get an experienced criminal lawyer you can trust.

Do Not Consent to Searches or Testing

If the police ask you to undergo any tests or ask for your consent to search your place or vehicle, tell them you do not wish to do so and do not give them permission. Under California law, the police do not have the authority to conduct a search unless they have a search warrant. Meaning, you have the right to decline the police’s request to search your property.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Case

Gather any evidence that can prove that the accuser’s allegations against you are false. These include call records, text messages, emails, GPS data, photographs, receipts, and surveillance camera footage. You should be ready to provide contact information for witnesses who can corroborate your side of the story. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for your criminal lawyer to fight the charges against you.

Avoid the Temptation to Destroy Evidence

Do not try to destroy any evidence that you think might incriminate you. Firstly, the evidence in question might not be as damning as you think. Secondly, destroying evidence is a crime in and of itself, meaning you can face additional charges. Furthermore, destroying evidence can make you appear guilty or as though you have something to hide.

Hire a Capable California Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of or charged with a criminal offense, you should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as quickly as you can – especially if the charges are serious in nature. Aggressive defense is the single biggest factor that can increase your chances of walking away with your freedom and reputation intact.

Looking for an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in California?

If you have been falsely accused of a crime you did not commit, the seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Paladin Legal Defenders can help you. Our attorneys have over 60 years of combined experience and have the expertise and resources to take on cases that might seem too challenging for most others.

To discuss your case with a committed California criminal lawyer, call us today at 714-536-9988 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

In the state of California, DUI is considered a serious criminal offense that can be punishable with fines, suspension of a driver’s license, and even jail time. Apart from these severe penalties, a DUI conviction can also stay on your record for indefinitely, which can affect your life in more ways than you can imagine.

Let us look at three important ways in which a DUI criminal offense conviction in California can affect your life.

It Can Affect Your Career

Having a DUI conviction on your record can automatically disqualify you from applying to certain jobs. If you already have a job that involves any amount of driving, a DUI conviction can mean your employment is terminated.

If you are a professional, you might have to face disciplinary action for a DUI conviction. Furthermore, if you are a repeat offender or if you are convicted of a felony DUI, your license could be suspended or revoked meaning you are no longer able to commute to work.

Even if you are not suspended or fired from your current position, being convicted of a DUI criminal offense can ruin your professional reputation and your standing in the industry.

It Can Cause Your Auto Insurance Rates to Go Up

A DUI criminal offense can put you in the high-risk driver category and as a result, your auto insurance rates will go up significantly. Data shows that a DUI conviction can result in a 144% increase in auto insurance premiums, which can make it harder for you to manage your other expenses – especially if you are someone who lives paycheck to paycheck.

The worst part is that a DUI criminal offense can affect your auto insurance rates for up to 10 years. If you are convicted of another DUI – or any other traffic-related offense – during this period, your rates could go up further and it will be very difficult for you to transition back into the low-risk category.

It Can Lead to Civil Penalties

If you accidentally injure someone or cause property damage while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the injured party might decide to file a tort claim against you and seek compensatory damages. A DUI conviction can make it easier for the injured party to establish your liability and recover damages from you. Depending on the extent of injuries they suffered and/or damage to their property, you might have to pay a significant amount of compensation. This is another financial burden you should hope to avoid.

Facing DUI Criminal Offense Charges? Legal Help is Here from Our Skilled California DUI Defense Attorneys

A DUI conviction in California can have serious, long-term consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to be represented by a DUI defense attorney you can trust and count on.

The legal team at Paladin Legal Defenders consists of highly qualified attorneys with over 60 years of combined experience in handling a wide range of criminal cases – from DUI to murder. We can protect your constitutional rights, defend you aggressively against the charges you are facing, and fight tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome.

To discuss your DUI criminal offense charges with an experienced California DUI defense attorney, call us today at 714-536-9988 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

A DUI conviction in California can result in harsh penalties, like suspension of your drivers’ license, jail time and fines, and leave you with a criminal record. Based on this, if you are facing a DUI charge, it’s paramount to do everything in your capacity to protect your rights and your freedom. Here are four steps suggested by a DUI defense lawyer on what you should do after being charged with a DUI in California.

1. Do Not Share Any Information with the Law Enforcement Officer

You might have heard this several times before, but it bears repeating. Do not say anything to the police – at the time of your arrest or afterward. Regardless of what they tell you, you are not obligated to tell them anything, as you have the right to remain silent. Instead, let them know that you will only speak in the presence of a California DUI defense lawyer.

2. Submit to the Chemical Test When Asked

Under California’s implied consent law, it is mandatory for you to submit to a chemical test after a DUI arrest. Refusing to do so can result in harsher penalties, including suspension of your license for up to one year (if it is your first refusal) and longer jail time. Therefore, in most circumstances, it is prudent to submit to the test when asked to by a law enforcement officer.

3. Speak to a California DUI Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible

The most important thing you need to do after being charged with a DUI in California is to contact a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. A delay in hiring a lawyer could increase your chances of getting convicted, as it will give the prosecution sufficient time to build a strong case against you.

Moreover, without the guidance of a lawyer, you might unknowingly say or do something that could make things a lot worse for you. Clearly, hiring a skilled DUI defense lawyer should be your first priority – regardless of other factors.

4. Request an Administrative Hearing with Help from Your Lawyer

In California, once you are arrested for DUI, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended after a period of 30 days. To avoid the automatic suspension, you need to request what is called an administrative per se hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest.

At the hearing, your lawyer will try to present a compelling case as to why your license should not be suspended. If you win, your license will not be suspended and you can keep driving unrestricted until your DUI charge is resolved. However, if your license does get suspended after the hearing, your lawyer may be able to guide you on how to get a restricted license, or otherwise be able to reinstate your driving privileges.

Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer to Fight Your DUI Charges

At Paladin Legal Defenders, we have highly skilled attorneys with decades of experience in criminal defense. We can aggressively defend you against DUI charges and use the resources at our disposal to achieve the best outcome possible. Our legal team includes a former prosecutor and a former police officer, meaning we have the unique advantage of being able to anticipate the prosecution’s position and defend you accordingly.

To discuss your DUI case with an experienced California DUI defense lawyer, call us today at 714-536-9988 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.

Everyone who is accused of a criminal offense will need a criminal defense attorney. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to represent yourself. You should start this process as early as possible so that you have time to select the right attorney and plan your defense strategy properly.

The first thing you should do when selecting a criminal defense attorney is to determine whether or not they’re on your side. While some lawyers do focus more on one type of law over others, good ones can defend you against any charge from speeding tickets to murder. That being said, make sure they focus on criminal law. This may seem like an elementary step but many people throw money at any lawyer who’ll take their case. But you should never assume that just because they’re willing to take your case, they’ll do an effective job. Instead, pick a criminal defense law firm.

When looking for a criminal defense attorney, it’s important to choose one with whom you feel comfortable. This isn’t the time to be shy; if you don’t feel like sharing your problems with them then you shouldn’t hire them. They need to know everything about the circumstances surrounding your case. Even something seemingly small could make all the difference in how they approach your case and determine an appropriate course of action. Make sure the attorney is willing to disclose enough information for you to make an informed decision about their services. Don’t hesitate to ask questions regarding fees either. This is a business and you need to know what it’s going to cost you.

When discussing your case, tell your potential criminal defense attorney exactly how you feel about the charges and what led up to them. If they don’t listen or don’t seem interested in understanding both sides of the story then they aren’t right for your case. It doesn’t matter if that person deserves it; you want someone willing to put forward their best effort on your behalf even if they don’t like you personally.

Paladin Legal Defenders Gets Results

Whatever criminal case or charge you have, we are ready to help you. With years of experience and numerous cases won, Paladin Legal Defenders will provide you with the defense attorney that is right for you. We will give you the personal attention needed during these troubling times. Don’t hesitate to contact us or you can call us at 714-536-9988.