Bamieh & Erickson, PLC - Ventura County Criminal Defense Lawyers
One of our goals in representing defendants charged with serious crimes is to negotiate to a misdemeanor guilty plea whenever the evidence in the case indicates that trial on the original charges presents an unacceptable risk of a guilty verdict. We also defend clients on charges originally charged as misdemeanors, which in some situations, as in excessive traffic tickets, can themselves present harsh consequences for the defendant. For further information about our misdemeanor defense services, contact a Southern California criminal defense attorney at Bamieh & Erickson, PLC in Ventura.
Misdemeanors are crimes that cannot be punished by incarceration of more than one year. Examples include petty theft, possession of personal quantities of marijuana, first-offense DUI without aggravating factors, violation of a domestic violence restraining order, disorderly conduct, consensual sex between minors, and such traffic offenses as driving without insurance or with expired tabs.
In California, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor rather than being convicted of a felony can make a very substantial difference in that the misdemeanor conviction will not count against our three strikes sentencing law. Additionally, depending upon a defendant's specific criminal record, a misdemeanor conviction will often be subject to expungement, that is, sealing the record of the conviction from public view.
This is not to say that a misdemeanor conviction is anything to celebrate, and some misdemeanors carry their own burden of inconvenience. Excessive traffic tickets within a year can result in the suspension of your driver's license. A misdemeanor conviction of violating a domestic violence restraining order will very likely destroy your chance at child custody or meaningful parenting time in a divorce case. Some misdemeanors, such as DUI, provide for increased penalties on a subsequent offense.
As experienced criminal defense lawyers, we consider that a critically important part of our client service is to make sure that you fully understand the risks and opportunities involved with any legal decision you're called upon to make in the course of your case. Explaining the costs and benefits of misdemeanor guilty pleas in different situations is an essential aspect of our role as your attorney. For further information about the immediate and long-term consequences of misdemeanor convictions, contact us for a free consultation in Ventura.