Felonies in Southern California
If you’re not very familiar with the law, it can be easy to get mixed up when it comes to how severe different crimes are. Crimes generally fit into one of four classifications: felonies, misdemeanors, felony-misdemeanors, and infractions. The specifics in terms of what it means to be charged with a felony can differ depending on the crime and where it was committed. Let’s take a closer look.
Different from a Misdemeanor
Felonies are the most serious category of crimes that can be committed. Misdemeanors are less serious, though still very much punishable by law. You probably won’t like the punishment for it either, though it will also be less serious in keeping with the idea of the punishment fitting the crime. Felonies are treated as more serious because there was generally a terrible level of the negative intention behind its commission or the consequences of the crime were also serious.
Most Common Felonies Committed
The most common felonies that are committed will vary from place to place. In California, violent offenses were the most common reason for felony arrests from 2014-2020, followed by other felony offenses, property offenses, drug offenses, and ending with sex offenses. Violent offenses include things like homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property offenses include crimes such as burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also considered a felony.
A More Severe Punishment
Because of the more serious nature of felony crimes, they open up more sentencing options. By committing a felony you can easily earn yourself over a year in prison or jail, and a fine of $10,000 or more. If the crime was especially serious, you could even find yourself facing life in prison or the death penalty. Make no mistake – execution is still a legal punishment in California. Hundreds of people have been sentenced to death, though there hasn’t been an execution in California since 2006. That isn’t to say that every felony earns these types of sentences. It’s still possible that alternative sentencing such as rehabilitation programs, probation, or house arrest may be issued instead.
Being accused of a felony is no laughing matter. Given the serious nature of the crime and the punishment that can follow, it’s important to take any felony charges very seriously. This is just one of the reasons why you should hire a lawyer if you find yourself facing felony charges. You owe it to yourself to give yourself your best shot.
Facing a misdemeanor charge? Check out Misdemeanors in California for some important information.
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.