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California misdemeanors versus felonies

One of the biggest differences between being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor is the amount of time spent in prison. The other is the activity from the prosecutor and defense attorney that leads up to being arrested for a misdemeanor or felony crime.

Misdemeanors on average require less than or up to a year of jail time and may be served in a local county jail as opposed to a high-security prison location. Examples of misdemeanors including trespassing, certain drug possessions, certain thefts and nonfatal assault. Prosecutors also have the ability to decide what crimes should be charged, what plea bargains may be negotiated and what the ultimate punishment should be.

Felonies usually require time to be served in a high-security prison. Felony charges include arson, burglary, kidnapping, murder or rape. Although burglaries can also be classified as a misdemeanor, felony burglaries commonly involve injuries or weapons to a victim during the crime. Prosecutors do not have the same flexibility with felonies as they do with misdemeanors. There is also more urgency to ensure that a defendant and courts’ rights are strictly followed.

In order for a lawyer to represent a client for a felony or misdemeanor charge, he or she must have access to details about the felony or misdemeanor charge. The client should also provide full details of what transpired leading up to the arrest, including any details that may have been left out during the initial police report. Depending on the circumstances of the crime allegedly committed, a plea bargain might be viable.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.