What Type Of Crime Is A Felony And What Is A Misdemeanor In California?

Throughout the criminal justice system in the US a felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. The definition of what constitutes these types of crime varies slightly from state to state. In California, a misdemeanor is a crime that can be punishable by a sentence of not more than one year in county jail. A felony is a crime which can attract a sentence of a number of years jail time in a state prison. You may also hear the term infraction used for issues such as traffic violations.

We are going to take a look at misdemeanors and felonies. We are also going to explain what a wobbler offense is. Of course, if you need more in depth help with any criminal charge you should find a reliable Los Angeles criminal attorney to help you.

Felonies and Misdemeanours

As we mentioned, felonies are serious crimes, such as murder, which can be punished with jail time in a state prison. Felonies are often classed as first degree or second degree, with first degree being the more serious offense. If you are convicted of a felony in California it can result in the revocation of a professional or business license, if the crime is directly relevant to the profession the license covers. You may also find that you are barred from serving on a jury, enlisting in the armed forces or holding a firearms license.

Misdemeanors are less serious crimes which do not carry a possible punishment any longer than twelve month’s imprisonment in county jail. Misdemeanors can include crimes such as petty theft. They can also include aggravated misdemeanors which are more serious crimes such as DUI offenses and domestic battery.

What Is A Wobbler Offense?

You may hear certain crimes referred to as a wobbler offense. These are crimes where the prosecutor has a choice as to the charge they make. The term wobbler refers to occasions where the charge can be either misdemeanor or felony or where the charge can be either misdemeanor or infraction.

The prosecutor makes the decision on what the charge should be based on the circumstances of the case before them and on any previous criminal history the accused has.

How to Expunge Your Criminal Record

If you have been convicted of either a misdemeanor of felony in the past then you may be able to expunge your criminal record. This means that you do not have to declare these convictions to a prospective employer. You are only able to be considered for expungement if you have never served time in state prison and you have successfully completed your probation. There are also some restrictions which apply.

You can see that the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the severity of the crime involved and the punishment available. You can also see that it’s possible to start afresh after serving your punishment by expunging your record, depending on the circumstances.