A misdemeanor offense is punishable by:

  • A maximum of 364 days in jail (usually less than six months);
  • Probation; and
  • Fines and fees.

While a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony conviction, some misdemeanors carry consequences that can affect ones’ gun rights. At Proper Defense, we are experienced with helping clients understand the future ramifications of pleading to certain misdemeanors and we will work with you to get the best result without compromising your dreams.

What rights do I have when I am charged with a misdemeanor?

When you are charged with a misdemeanor, you have the right to be represented by an attorney and to a jury trial.

What is the court process when I am charged with a misdemeanor?

At the first hearing, you will be “arraigned.” This is when you learn exactly what the charges are against you if you cannot afford an attorney a public defender will be appointed to represent you, and you will enter a plea: not guilty, guilty, or no contest.

If you hire Proper Defense before your first hearing, an attorney will appear at the hearing for you and you can continue with your life, feeling confident that you are taken care of. There are some offenses that require you to be at the first hearing such as domestic violence cases and third or fourth DUIs.

If you enter a not-guilty plea a settlement conference/pre-trial hearing will be scheduled. Your attorney will receive the initial “discovery,” law enforcement reports of the evidence against you. Your attorney will work to get additional discovery and to analyze the case to establish your defense.

What are motions?

Often times there are issues that can be fought to protect your constitutional rights. These issues will require “motion work.” Motions are legal documents that concisely present the issue to the judge, reference the law and other cases in California to support the argument, and propose a ruling the judge should make. After an attorney files a motion on your behalf and gives a copy to the prosecutor/District Attorney, the prosecutor can file an “opposition,” explaining why they think you are wrong and the judge should rule differently. There will be a hearing to argue the issues in front of the judge, which may involve witnesses being called to the stand to testify in support or against the motion.

At Proper Defense, attorney Sally Vecchiarelli prides herself in writing motions and effectively arguing on behalf of her clients. Sally Vecchiarelli is always reading new cases to stay on top of the law and relishes the opportunity to fight issues through motion work.

Do I have a trial in a misdemeanor case?

Unlike infractions, if you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony you have the right to have a jury trial. An attorney will try to resolve your case through negotiations with the prosecutor, however, in some cases, the truth of your innocence is only attainable through the testimony of witnesses. (This is especially true in cases where it is one person’s word against the others, like domestic violence)

During a trial, the jury, consisting of twelve people from the local community, will watch the witnesses testify, the evidence be presented, and they will determine who they believe. Based on this they will determine whether or not the prosecution has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt (99.8% certainty) that you are guilty of the charges against you.

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