Ten Hot Tips on the Differences Between Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions

If you are charged with a crime, your attorney should tell you what you are facing, what your defenses are, and answer your questions. One of the first things I review with my clients is the level of crime they are facing.
Ten Hot Tips on the Differences Between Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions
The following are Ten Hot Tips regarding the difference between felonies and misdemeanors.

  • There are three levels of crimes in California. From the most serious to the least they are; (1) Felonies, (2) Misdemeanors, and (3) infractions.
  • Felonies are punishable by state prison (anywhere from 18 months to life in prison or the death sentence,) misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in county jail, and infractions are only punishable by a fine.
  • There are four important court dates for felonies. They are (1) Arraignment, (2) Preliminary Hearing, (3) Arraignment on the Information, and (4) Trial.
  • There are three important court dates for misdemeanors. They are (1) Arraignment, (2) Settlement Conference, and (3) Trial.
  • There is usually no arraignment for infractions. Because infractions do not expose a person to jail time, one of the most famous constitutional rights we see in TV shows does not apply. You have no right to an attorney at a trial for an infraction. If you want to challenge your speeding ticket and show up without an attorney, be prepared to try your case!
  • For felony cases, when you say, “not guilty,” you automatically have a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days (no weekends or holidays included) and no longer than 60 calendar days unless you waive the right. One might wonder, what does 10 court days or 60 calendar days mean??? It means that you do have a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days, but stuff happens and things get continued. By that I mean the court can continue your preliminary hearing under certain circumstances beyond the 10 court day rule even if you object, but not beyond the 60 calendar day rule.
  • A good reason for the court to continue your case beyond the 10 court day rule is if you have a co-defendant who requests a continuance for good cause. Though we at Fiumara & Milligan Law support a right for a co-defendant to continue his or her case for good cause because our own client might at times make the same request, it is still difficult when you are ready to go with your preliminary hearing and it is continued because of a request of your co-defendant. We will do our very best to help you through this difficult time.
  • As mentioned, your right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days and no more than 60 calendar days begins as soon as you say, “not guilty.” This is called entry of plea. However, it is often the case that your attorney will request you not say you are “not guilty,” to allow him or her to review all the evidence available before starting that clock running. This is called Deferred Entry of Plea. You want your attorney to have reviewed all the available evidence in a case before representing you at the preliminary hearing. Deferring Entry of your Plea allows your attorney to prepare under circumstances where they would not otherwise be able to do so.
  • Whether you Defer Entry of Plea or not depends largely on whether you are incarcerated or not. Some people can afford the bail bond themselves. Some people pay a bail bondsmen percentage of their bond, usually 10%, to get them out of jail. If you bond is $2,500, then you would pay the bond yourself or pay a bondsmen 10% (ask us about getting a discount on that rate), or $250, to get you out of jail. However, if your bond is $1,000,000, even paying 10% on that is unaffordable. For this reason, making the decision about whether to stay in jail and allow your attorney time to gather all the information available or whether to ford ahead can be a very difficult decision for you. You should feel somewhat better that we at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC, make incarceration cases a priority.
  • In misdemeanor cases, you have no right to a preliminary hearing. What is a preliminary hearing? A preliminary hearing is a hearing during which the prosecutor or district attorney has to prove there is enough evidence to support the charges being made against you. In felony cases, it is an opportunity to get witnesses on records because during that hearing everything they say is recorded. However, in a misdemeanor case, though it would be nice to have such a record, you do not have that right. If you want to challenge the charges against you in a misdemeanor case, then you will have to go to trial.

First and foremost, we have the resources and experience to get the job done.
Second, we offer payment plans for our clients and work with them to ensure they get the BEST defense at an affordable rate. 
Third, our results speak for themselves and we have obtained numerous DISMISSALS, REDUCTIONS, & NOT GUILTY VERDICTS for our clients since 1992:
Fifth, you can read about our excellent recommendations and reviews from satisfied clients and colleagues alike at AVVO https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/95405-ca-michael-fiumara-109708/endorsements.html who has given our Law Firm a superb rating!
Excellent YELP rating: https://www.yelp.com/biz/fiumara-and-milligan-law-pc-santa-rosa    
Excellent GOOGLE rating: https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&q=fiumara+and+milligan+law&lrd=0x808447fdc48e1f23:0x60bb0e925234761c,1,&cad=h
Finally, we have been nominated Top 100 Trial Lawyers, http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Michael/Fiumara/13477/
Ten Hot Tips on the Differences Between Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions
We know what it takes to achieve satisfaction and success. 
If you would like to discuss your criminal charges with a highly skilled and very knowledgeable attorney from FIUMARA & MILLIGAN LAW, PC, or if you wish to learn more about how we can fight for you, please contact our law firm in Santa Rosa, CA in Sonoma County at: 707-571-8600 or our San Rafael, CA office centrally located in Marin County at: 415-492-4507.
“The Right Attorney makes all the Difference.”

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