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Being charged with a criminal offense is always a serious matter. However, based on what you might have seen in TV shows or movies, you might understand that your misdemeanor charges still need careful and thorough attention. While it is true that felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, you can still face undesirable criminal and person consequences if convicted of a misdemeanor charge.
California state law imposes a range of penalties for misdemeanor offenses. Depending on the charge, you could be ordered to shell out a fine as high as $1,000. Fines for multiple misdemeanors can quickly add up, too. You could also be sentenced to jail time in a county jail. Even a relatively short sentence can completely change your path in life, causing you to lose your job and miss out on future work opportunities.
So what qualifies as a misdemeanor charge in California? Examples include petty theft, reckless driving, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Misdemeanor charges can also be classified as gross or aggravated, and include charges for things like driving on a suspended license, domestic battery and multiple DUIs. You could pay more than $1,000 and spend a year in jail if you are convicted of a gross misdemeanor.
Certain offenses in California are referred to as “wobblers.” Wobblers are misdemeanor offenses that prosecutors can choose to pursue as misdemeanors or felonies. If you have a past criminal record that could be a factor in how your charge is classified.
Understanding the potential criminal and personal penalties of being convicted of a misdemeanor charge might help you understand just how serious the matter is. You should work to minimize these potential consequences, potentially avoiding them altogether if possible. This is usually best accomplished with the right kind of careful guidance from an experienced attorney, but you can also read more about misdemeanors and your options on our website.