In the United States, there are state and federal crimes. State-level crimes
are created by state legislatures, whereas federal crimes are established
by Congress. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to look at
felonies, which are on the “state level.”
Once a person is arrested, their criminal case officially begins when the
government files a case with the court; the goal of filing a criminal
case is to hold the person accountable for their violation and to punish
him or her for breaking the law.
The person who committed the crime is referred to as the “defendant.”
If the defendant is found guilty as charged, he or she may have to pay
a fine, and they may be incarcerated in jail or prison. In California,
we have three different types of criminal cases, including infractions,
misdemeanors, and felonies.
Infractions: Of all three types of criminal cases, infractions are the least serious.
For example, many moving traffic violations are infractions. Usually,
an infraction is punishable by a fine and as long as the defendant pays
the fine, they won’t have to go to jail. California infractions
are processed through the
Misdemeanors: While misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, they’re still
reported on a person’s criminal record indefinitely. A misdemeanor
is punishable by 6 months to 1 year in county jail, or by a $1,000 fine,
or both. If you’re not too concerned about a misdemeanor, think
again. Remember, even a misdemeanor can affect housing, employment and
professional opportunities for years to come.
Examples of misdemeanors:
Felonies: Of all crimes in California and throughout the nation, felonies are the
most serious. If a defendant is found guilty of a felony, he or she can
be incarcerated for a year to life in prison, or they can even be sentenced
to death for something such as first-degree murder.
Examples of felonies:
The above is a basic summary of criminal offenses in Orange County and
California. If you are facing criminal charges and this whole process
is new to you, we can answer your questions and give you advice on the
best defense strategies for your situation.
For a hard-hitting defense,
call the Law Offices of Virginia L Landry, Inc. for a confidential,
free case evaluation.