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Felony Charges in California

Criminal charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the act committed or the severity of the crime. You can be charged with a felony for a crime punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.

Under California Penal Code § 1170(h), felony convictions come with a 16-month prison sentence by default. Some felony convictions carry specific penalties.

Common Felonies in Folsom

Some crimes that are charged as felonies include:

Felony charges are often crimes that involve serious injury to others or the destruction of valuable property. Your Folsom felony lawyer can provide more details about California’s criminal charges.

What Are Wobbler Charges?

Some crimes are classified as “wobblers.” These are crimes that can either be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The severity of your crime will determine what level of crime you’re charged with. Some crimes, like aggravated assault, could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. You’d face a much shorter sentence if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor.

California’s Three-Strike Rule

Not only can a felony charge mean several years in jail and fines of thousands of dollars, you could face a much more serious consequence. California has a “three strike” law. People convicted of a violent or serious felony after two prior convictions could face 25 years to life in prison.

People facing a second conviction can face extended penalties as well.

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Penalties for a Folsom Felony Conviction

Felony convictions can mean strict sentences and harsh collateral consequences. A prison sentence is meant to punish the defendant for their actions and discourage other people from committing the same crime. They are meant to be strict but fair. In many cases, sentencing can be left to the judge’s discretion.

Most felonies in California have three fixed sentencing options defined in the criminal statute. If there isn’t one defined, the sentencing options will be 16 months, two years, or three years.

After a conviction, a judge will select a base sentence, unless there are sentencing alternatives available. There are cases where probation, fines, or mandatory supervision will satisfy part of the sentencing requirements. Other factors, like criminal history or circumstances about your crime, can influence a judge’s decision to extend your sentence.

Other Consequences of a Felony Conviction

Beyond a prison sentence, a felony conviction can affect your life in other ways, including:

  • Difficulty finding employment
  • Challenges finding housing
  • Mandatory sex offender registration
  • Loss of licenses — driver’s or professional
  • Social stigma
  • Loss of gun ownership rights

A Folsom felony lawyer can explain your case and the additional consequences a conviction can impose.

Defenses for Felonies in Folsom

As daunting as a felony accusation is, you shouldn’t give up hope. You’re innocent until proven guilty, and the prosecution has a burden to meet before you’re convicted. The prosecutor has the responsibility of convincing a judge or jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

You are well within your rights to defend yourself by hiring a capable Folsom defense attorney. They can help you create a defense strategy to introduce doubt into the prosecutor’s story.

The Act was Accidental

If you’ve been accused of a felony crime, you can argue that you did not intentionally harm the alleged victim. Accidents can happen, and if your attorney can bring evidence to light that shows the jury you didn’t mean harm to befall the victim, you have a strong case to be acquitted.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

It’s tragic to consider, but sometimes you can be confused with another person when you’re accused of a crime. If someone falsely accuses you, your attorney can investigate the crime and find a defense that can help you get the charges dropped.

You Were Defending Yourself

In California, you are permitted to defend yourself with reasonable force. If your attorney can prove you felt you were in danger, you can present an argument that explains your actions. Self-defense is a viable defense strategy in many felony cases, especially ones involving violence.

Should I take a plea deal?

Plea deals are bargains struck between a defendant and the prosecution. Many of these deals hinge on the defendant’s willingness to admit guilt, usually in exchange for reduced sentences.

Your attorney can negotiate a plea deal or help you evaluate the prosecution’s offer. Each case is unique, but in some instances, a deal could bear a better outcome than a trial, but your attorney might feel you can beat the allegations in a courtroom rather than take a weak deal.

Can I get my conviction expunged?

You can sometimes get a felony conviction removed, or expunged, from your criminal record. This can open many doors to you, but only if the charge is an acceptable conviction. You should discuss this legal option with your attorney.

Why do I need a criminal defense lawyer?

You have the right to an attorney when you’ve been charged with a felony. The law is complicated, and there could be circumstances related to your case that may create hurdles to your defense. You could lack the experience or knowledge to defend yourself properly.

An attorney will understand any plea deals offered and may find ways to help you reduce or mitigate your charges. A skilled attorney can investigate and find cracks in the prosecution’s case. You may feel you have a grasp of what it takes to defend against a felony charge, but an attorney can give you the best chance.

Contact A Folsom Felony Attorney Today

Any felony accusation in Folsom is serious. Under the law, convictions can always result in prison sentences of at least one year. If you’re accused of a more serious crime, you could see longer sentences and steeper penalties. Therefore, you should prioritize retaining a dedicated defense attorney.

Folsom felony lawyer Chris Walsh understands how stressful your situation can be. With his experience as a prosecutor, he understands their tactics and can help you prepare the best defense possible. Call 916-237-8270 or use our secure contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.

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