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Misdemeanors vs. Felonies in California

In criminal law, there are state and federal crimes. State laws are enacted by state legislatures, whereas federal laws are created by Congress. Here in California, when you break a state law, you’ll be arrested, and a criminal case will be opened to punish you for committing a crime.

California criminal cases fall into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors and felonies. Of the three, infractions are the least serious and felonies are the most serious. In many cases, traffic violations are considered infractions. If someone is guilty of an infraction, he or she will face a fine and if they pay it, they won’t go to jail. In Orange County, infractions are handled by the Traffic Division.

Common Misdemeanor Crimes

Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but more serious than infractions. Generally, misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in county jail, or by a fine of $1,000, or by a fine and confinement. Common misdemeanors include:

  • Vandalism
  • Petty theft
  • Public intoxication
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Prostitution (first offense)
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving while license suspended
  • Possessing more than 28.5 grams of marijuana

Common Felony Crimes

As mentioned earlier, felonies are the most serious type of crime in California and in all states. If you are found guilty of a felony in Orange County, you could be imprisoned in jail or a state prison for at least one year. If you committed a particularly heinous crime, you could even receive the death penalty. Common examples of felonies include:

If you are facing criminal charges in Orange County, it’s critical that you enlist the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., we handle both state and federal criminal defense; therefore, we are positioned to fight hard for your freedom and your rights, regardless of the types of charges you are facing.

To get started, contact our firm to schedule a free criminal defense consultation!