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After being arrested in Los Angeles, it is easy to feel panicked about any felony charges. In the Los Angeles County Jail’s system, most people spend a few days in jail before seeing a judge for an arraignment. The LAPD or prosecutor often recommends a charge at a felony level. Although it is distressing to face this conviction possibility after an arraignment, there are a few important tips to remember to avoid a difficult future.
Wobblers are offenses that can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Fortunately, the majority of offenses outlined in California law are wobblers. Some people are often surprised to find that their felony charge is a wobbler. Here is an example of several wobbler offenses that most people assume are always felonies:
These are just a few of the many examples. To learn if a specific charge is considered a wobbler, discuss the matter with a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles.
If a felony charge turns into a conviction, it often comes with lifelong negative consequences. The felony is on a permanent record, which employers and landlords can see. People are often denied jobs and home rentals because of a felony. It can also affect voting rights, and felons are usually on supervised probation for several years in California even if they spend time in prison. Felony convictions typically come with state prison sentences instead of county jail sentences.
While many people in jail spend much less than 50 percent of their sentence behind bars, people who receive prison sentences spend at least 50 percent of them incarcerated. Felony convictions may be expunged after several years. This makes the convictions invisible to most employers and landlords. However, the process is complicated and can be expensive.
With a misdemeanor conviction, it may still be tough to find a job in certain fields. However, misdemeanors are not as negative on a record, and they usually do not result in a person being denied for a home rental. Misdemeanors can usually be expunged quickly and easily. If a person is ever charged with a crime in the future, having a misdemeanor on his or her record is much less damaging than having a felony. The penalties associated with misdemeanors are also lighter. For example, a person may receive a short jail sentence or unsupervised probation instead of a prison sentence. Community service may also be an option for first-time offenders or non-violent offenses.
People are assigned a public defender when being arraigned in Los Angeles. The public defenders have heavy case loads and do not have an obligation to do anything beyond representing a defendant in court. Although public defenders negotiate deals, they are not as concerned about having felonies reduced to misdemeanors. Private attorneys have more time to devote to cases and fight hard to have both charges and penalties reduced if the case cannot be dismissed based on issues with arrests or search warrants.
In many cases, people could have their felony charges dismissed or reduced because of errors and weak evidence but unknowingly accept unfavorable deals from prosecutors who use strong-arm tactics. It is important for anyone who is charged with a felony in Los Angeles to protect their future by hiring a private attorney immediately.