RIGHTS OF THOSE ACCUSED OF A MISDEMEANOR

The following is a description of the unique rights and procedures for those accused of a misdemeanor.

WHAT IS A MISDEMEANOR?

A misdemeanor is a more serious offense than an infraction, and less serious than a felony. Misdemeanors are generally punished less severely than felonies. Many misdemeanors are punished with fines, but defendants can be subject to probation and jail time.  Some examples of misdemeanor offenses include petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, driving under the influence, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, and other similar crimes.
 In California, misdemeanors are crimes with a maximum punishment of up to one year in county jail. You should never enter a plea in any misdemeanor case without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense law firm to provide you with vital information as to the best options available in your misdemeanor case. 
In most misdemeanor cases, if you retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent you he can appear on your behalf and you may not have to appear in court in person. This is often a tremendous benefit for those persons who cannot afford to miss days from work or school to attend court hearings.

BAIL

Bail is offered if defendant is in custody and as set forth in the county bail schedule.

THE PRETRIAL CONFERENCE

The pretrial conference is usually the next court hearing after the arraignment. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, pretrial is the time your attorney will discuss the case with the prosecutor and attempt to have the charges dropped or will negotiate a “plea offer.” Typically an “offer” may be given to your attorney by the prosecutor after both have discussed the case. Usually, your attorney will discuss the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and point out flaws in its ability to prove a certain crime. In other situations, your attorney may introduce mitigating factors in your favor, such as making restitution to the victim, attending counseling, showing letters of support, and awards and achievements of the defendant in the hopes of getting a more lenient offer.

SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS

The right to a speedy trial for a misdemeanor is the same as it is for an infraction.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense and you are out of custody at the time of your arraignment, you have a right to a trial within 45 days of your arraignment date. If you are in custody at your arraignment, you have a right to your trial within 30 days of your arraignment date. When you hire a criminal lawyer to represent you it is common for your lawyer to “waive time” and have your case continued for a period of time so they can prepare for your defense, to conduct needed investigation, and to otherwise make sure your case is ready for trial before a trial date is set.

For compassionate and zealous legal representation you can trust during a difficult time in your life, don’t hesitate to call Pamela DiBello for help. With her experience and skills as a seasoned criminal defense attorney, you can rest assured that your case is in excellent hands. Contact Pamela DiBello today for a consultation to go over the facts of your case in detail and to learn more about mounting a strong defense. Call now at 909-576-8036 or email: idefendu@dibellolawfirm.com