Why Hire an Oakland Misdemeanor Lawyer

While misdemeanor offenses are generally considered less severe than felonies, you should still hire a lawyer to protect your reputation and freedom.

Here’s how an attorney helps you.

They Protect Your Rights and Freedom

A lawyer for misdemeanors in Oakland can ensure you understand your rights throughout the legal process and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. This could mean avoiding jail time, reducing fines, or getting the charges dismissed altogether.

They Help You Navigate the Legal System

Whether this is your first encounter with the California criminal justice system, or you’ve dealt with it before, it can be complex and confusing. An Oakland misdemeanor lawyer can guide you through the process, explain the charges against you, and help you understand your options.

They Can Help You Avoid a Criminal Record

A misdemeanor conviction can stay on your record for years, making it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or obtain certain licenses. A lawyer can use misdemeanor defense strategies in Oakland to get the charges dropped or reduced, which could help you avoid these long-term consequences.

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What Are Misdemeanors in California?

In California, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense considered less serious than a felony. There are two main categories of misdemeanors in California:

  • Simple Misdemeanor (Standard Misdemeanor):The most common type, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Examples include petty theft, drug possession (small amounts), and vandalism.
  • Aggravated Misdemeanor (Gross Misdemeanor):More serious than a simple misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Examples include DUI (driving under the influence) and domestic violence.

Common Misdemeanors in Oakland

There are many crimes considered misdemeanors in California. Common misdemeanor crimes include:

Penalties for a Misdemeanor Conviction in Oakland

California’s standard penalties for a misdemeanor conviction can vary depending on the specific offense. The judge makes the final decision regarding your sentence when you are convicted of a misdemeanor.

The maximum jail time for a misdemeanor is up to one year in county jail. However, six months is the most common sentence for simple misdemeanors.

Maximum fines for misdemeanors are typically up to $1,000. However, some misdemeanor fines can reach up to $2,000.

Other Criminal Penalties & Collateral Consequences

Other criminal penalties and collateral consequences you could face if convicted of a misdemeanor in Oakland, CA include:

  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Required classes (such as anger management or safe driving)
  • Alternative sentencing programs (such as drug and alcohol treatment or mental health treatment)
  • Random drug or alcohol testing
  • Citizenship or immigration issues
  • Trouble finding a job
  • Difficuing finding affordable housing
  • Child custody issues

Wobbler Crimes in California

Some misdemeanors may also be charged as felonies in certain situation where there are aggravating circumstances. It is up to the prosecutor to decide if they charge you with a misdemeanor or felony. If you are charged with a felony, you will face much more significant penalties, including years in prison.

Some examples of crimes that are considered wobblers include:

Defenses against Oakland Misdemeanor Charges

You can use many defenses when facing a misdemeanor charge in Oakland. In fact, your attorney will likely use a combination of defenses to develop a strong strategy on your behalf.

Misdemeanor defense options that may be available to you include:

Lack of Evidence

This challenges the prosecution’s case. Your lawyer can argue the evidence is insufficient to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This might involve issues with witness testimony, faulty arrests, or mishandled evidence.

Actual Innocence

You weren’t involved in the crime. This defense requires presenting evidence that proves you were somewhere else or otherwise couldn’t have committed the offense.

Self-Defense or Defense of Others

You used reasonable force to protect yourself or someone else from imminent harm. This defense has specific legal requirements and limitations.

Procedural Violations

Law enforcement violated your rights during the arrest or investigation. This could involve illegal search and seizure or improper questioning. If evidence was obtained illegally, it might be excluded from court.

Oakland Misdemeanor Charge FAQs

Can I Get a Misdemeanor Expunged in California?

Nearly all misdemeanors are eligible for expungement in California. However, they are not automatically expunged. You must file for and obtain an order granting expungement.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Misdemeanor in Oakland?

Although you are not required to have a private lawyer, it is in your best interests to hire a misdemeanor defense lawyer who has the time and experience to dedicate to your case. The judge may appoint a public defender to you. However, they do not typically have time to develop a strong defense for every case. You should hire a misdemeanor lawyer who can guide you through the California legal system.

Charged with a Misdemeanor? Contact Morris Law P.C. Today

Misdemeanors may not be as serious as felonies; however, they still have penalties that can impact your entire life. They can ruin your reputation and tarnish your record. Attorney Seth Morris is a misdemeanor defense attorney who is dedicated to helping defendants facing charges like yours.

Call 510-225-9955 today or contact us to schedule an initial consultation.