Felony & Misdemeanor Defense
Felony Criminal Offenses
For anyone facing arrest and felony charges, the criminal justice system can be a nightmare experience. The formalities of court and the routine criminal law nature of rapidly processing crowded dockets gives the appearance of an archaic world indifferent to civil liberties. Wicker Law Group is fully prepared to guide you through the criminal justice system. Here are some important facts about California felony cases.
Most cases begin as investigations by a police agency who then turns the file over to the District Attorney for consideration of filing formal charges. This stage is knows as the “pre-filing” stage or “investigation” stage.
In this stage, critical decisions are being made about your case, whether to file formal charges or to drop the case. Decisions are being made on whether to file a misdemeanor or felony charge against you. During this critical stage, there may be an opportunity to contact the District Attorney and provide additional information that may possibly sway their decision against filing felony charges. It is important to begin a felony defense investigation without delay.
Even if felony charges have been filed, there are many options besides jail. The case may be dismissed or it may result in probation or home supervision. Each case is different, but all cases require diligent preparation and a thorough knowledge of all the facts involved.
A felony is any offense that may result in imprisonment in the state prison for one year or more. A misdemeanor is any offense that may result in imprisonment in the county jail for one year or less. The most common felonies in California have a charging range of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years. In addition to the charges you are facing, you may face additional “special allegations” which may add or double your potential jail sentence. Some common special allegations are: gun use allegation, gang allegations and great bodily injury allegations. Sex crimes have special allegations that deal with multiple victims or substantial sexual conduct. Drug cases have special allegations based on the amount of drugs found. The substantial quantity of drugs may result in a higher jail sentence.
Some special allegations that apply to almost all felonies are prior convictions and prior strikes under California’s three (3) strikes law. If you have a prior conviction, there is greater risk that special allegations will apply. Criminal history is always a factor considered by the District Attorney and by the Judge.
A “Strike” offense is any felony that is serious or violent in nature. Some examples of “Strikes” are Residential Burglary, Robbery, or Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Anyone with a strike on their record, who picks up a new felony, has his sentence doubled and is no longer eligible for probation. Anyone with 2 prior strike convictions, who picks up any felony will face 25 years to life in State prison. This is true even if your prior strike happened years ago.
Contact Wicker Law Group for a free case evaluation for any criminal case. Case handling experience includes:
- Alien/Drug Smuggling
- Domestic Violence
- Driving While Under the Influence Alcohol/Drugs
- Drug Possession/Sales
- Extradition Issues
- Firearm and Other Weapon Offenses
- Gang Violations
- Parole/Probation Violations
- Sex Crimes
- Shoplifting/Theft Crimes
- Terrorist Acts/Threats
- Third Strike Cases
Misdemeanor criminal offenses
In California, criminal offenses are classified as: infractions, misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors carry a punishment of less than 1 year in Misdemeanor Criminal Defense San Diego county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor, either by a plea or a jury trial, the court can impose informal probation with or without jail time, community service, counseling, restitution, fines and protection orders. A misdemeanor conviction also results in the person having a permanent criminal record.
Bad checks, child endangerment, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, domestic violence, drunk in public, DUI/DUID, evading a police officer, loitering, petty theft, resisting arrest, trespass and vandalism are common misdemeanors. Although the consequences are less severe than a felony, a misdemeanor conviction of any kind can affect eligibility for professional licenses, child custody, food stamps, student loans, ruin a person’s job prospects or lead to deportation. A misdemeanor may make you ineligible for public housing or may prevent certain international travel.
Mr. Wicker takes each case seriously with full attention to every possible defense. As with any case, diligent preparation is essential. The police investigation, negotiations with the District Attorney, arraignment and pretrial motions all present an opportunity for the defense to be heard. Misdemeanor cases have a right to a jury trial and a speedy trial. At each stage of the process it is important to have an experienced criminal law attorney.
Lifer Consideration Hearings
The California Parole Board decides if an inmate serving a life term is suitable for release to the community. The legal question before the Parole board is to determine whether the release of the inmate would pose an unreasonable risk of harm to the public. With over 40,000 lifers, California has one-quarter of the country’s life-sentenced population. Of this number, approximately 26,000 inmates are serving a life sentence in California and are eligible for parole consideration.
How does a lifer make parole?
So how does a lifer make parole? Given that the lifer population mostly consists of murders and others convicted of the most violent and heinous crimes, only a select few are approved for release. Then the final decision is up to the Governor. It takes many years of preparation for the inmate to be able to prove that they are suitable for release.
In order to be deemed suitable, the inmate must show that they are in control of their life and are moving consistently in a positive direction. This is done by completing educational programs, vocational programs and participating in counseling and self-help programs. It is also essential to have detailed parole plans, a relapse prevention plan and a realistic financial plan.
Mr. Wicker has handled parole consideration cases for lifer inmates at: California Institute for Men (CIM – Chino), California Institute for Women (CIW – Chino), California Medical Facility (CMF – Vacaville), California Mens Colony (CMC – San Luis Obispo), Calipatria State Prison (CAL – Calipatria), Centinela State Prison (CEN – Imperial), Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP – Blythe), Ironwood State Prison (ISP – Blythe) and R. J. Donovan State Prison (RJD – San Diego).
Mr. Wicker works with families on the outside to put together a parole plan and build a case for favorable consideration by the Parole Board. Mr. Wicker has represented hundreds of inmates serving life prison terms in their bid for freedom before the Parole Board and has achieved success in winning grants of parole from the California Parole Board.