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Felony Charges in California

Criminal charges may be either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious charges with penalties that are not as serious. Felonies, on the other hand, are the most serious charges that can result in significant penalties.

In fact, under California Penal Code Section 1170(h) PC, most felonies result in a mandatory 16-month prison sentence by default. Felonies carry other specific penalties depending on the offense, including parole, high fines, sex offender registration, and more.

Common Types of Felony Charges in Nevada County

Some offenses that are commonly charged as felonies in Nevada County include, but are not limited to:

Felony offenses such as these typically involve serious injury to others or destruction of valuable property. Your Nevada County felony attorneys can help you understand the charges against you.

What Are Wobbler Charges?

Some California crimes are called “wobblers.” That means they may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, the prosecution decides how to classify the offense depending on the facts of the case and the criminal history of the alleged offender.

You will face more serious penalties if you are convicted of a felony. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced felony defense attorney in Nevada County who can help you get your charges reduced as much as possible.

California’s Three-Strikes Rule

California’s Three Strikes law is a sentencing enhancement that significantly increases prison terms for offenders with prior serious or violent felony convictions.

A first strike doesn’t change your sentence for the current offense. A second strike for another serious or violent felony will result in a doubled sentence. A third conviction, or strike, triggers a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison, regardless of the severity of the current offense.

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Penalties for a Felony Conviction

Penalties for felony convictions in Nevada County vary greatly depending on several factors, including the specific crime, sentence structure, other sentencing options, and prior convictions or criminal history of the alleged offender.

In California, most felonies have three fixed sentencing options defined in the statutes – a low term, middle term, and high term. The judge selects the sentence based on the crime, aggravating factors (like using a weapon), and mitigating factors (like no prior criminal history). If no sentencing options are detailed in the statute, then the options are 16 months in prison, two years, or three years.

Other criminal penalties in Nevada County include fines up to $10,000 or more, probation that can last up to five years, drug testing, community service, and more.

Other Consequences of a Felony Conviction

Felony convictions in Nevada County will likely result in a host of collateral consequences for the alleged offender, including, but not limited to:

  • Restricted voting rights
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Difficulty finding and keeping employment
  • Prohibited firearm ownership
  • Restricted housing opportunities
  • Mandatory sex offender registration
  • Social stigma
  • Loss of driver’s license

A Nevada County attorney for felony charges can explain your potential penalties and develop the best defense to avoid them.

Defenses for Felonies in California

Receiving felony charges does not mean you are convicted. In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution has the burden of proving you are guilty before you can be convicted.

You have the right to an attorney and to defend yourself against criminal accusations. By hiring an experienced Nevada County felony criminal defense attorney, you can create a strategic defense that will poke holes in the prosecution’s case against you.

We may use one or more of the following defenses:

Lack of Evidence

The prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You may argue they lack sufficient evidence to meet this burden. Your Nevada County lawyer for felony charges can also use pre-trial motions to get key evidence suppressed, or thrown out.

Self-Defense or Defense of Others

You have the right to use reasonable force to defend yourself or others from imminent harm. Your attorney may work to prove you reasonably believed you were in danger, which can explain your actions.


If law enforcement induced you to commit the crime through improper tactics, the case may be thrown out. This involves proving that you would not have committed the crime had it not been for the inducement of law enforcement.

Are there different types of felonies in California?

Yes, California felonies are categorized by severity: “serious,” “violent,” and “non-violent.” The more severe the felony, the more significant the penalties will be.

What are the penalties for felony convictions in Nevada County?

Penalties vary depending on the crime, prior offenses, and other factors, but can include imprisonment, fines, probation, and other consequences. You may face a prison term of 16 months to life and fines of up to several thousand dollars. It’s important to work with a Nevada County felony defense lawyer who can minimize your penalties.

Can I get my felony conviction expunged?

Some felonies are eligible for expungement in California. Eligibility depends on the nature of the felony, your sentence, time since completion of your sentence, and other factors.

Contact a Nevada County Felony Attorney Today

A felony arrest can result in serious consequences. Regardless of your charges, you may be facing a tarnished reputation and other collateral consequences. If a conviction is made, you’ll likely spend time in prison and pay significant fines, restitution, and more. You must prioritize hiring an experienced defense attorney who understands Nevada County felony laws.

Nevada County felony attorney Chris Walsh knows how serious your situation is. He used to be a prosecutor, so he knows how the other side develops a case against those who are accused. Now, he dedicates his work to fighting for the rights of people who have been charged with crimes. Call Walsh Law at (530) 499-0645 or use our confidential online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation of your case.

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