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  • Writer's pictureBlair Goss

What Is the Most Common Felony Charge in California? | The Shocking Truth!

The criminal justice system in California divides a crime into two major categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor charges are more common than felonies, while the consequences for felony crimes are far greater.

Under the law, any crime with a minimum of a one-year jail sentence falls under felony crimes. Although the penalties are far more severe than a misdemeanor, the defendant may be able to fight the charges. However, most people are unaware of their rights and succumb to the criminal justice system backed by power-hungry prosecutors.

Fortunately, the experienced criminal lawyers at Goss Law have defended the rights of many defendants in Sacramento, California. They have the experience to help the accused by negotiating to reduce charges or even have the case dismissed.

What Is the Most Common Felony Charge in California?

What Is the Most Common Felony Charge in California?

When an individual is charged with a felony crime in California, the case proceeds to a preliminary hearing, where the prosecutor has the burden of proof.

The prosecution must provide substantial evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offense. During the hearing, the accused can challenge the evidence and witnesses.

Below are some of the most common felony charges in California:

Drug Crimes

One of the most common crimes in California is drug crimes, which contribute up to 11% of all felony arrests in the state.

Although recent changes in the law have made most drug crimes a misdemeanor rather than a felony, they may still result in serious jail time.

Selling drugs in California, for example, could lead to a maximum of four-year sentence if convicted for the first time.

Violent Crimes

Most felony offenses are of a violent nature, and these may include the following:

  • Murder

  • Rape

  • Sodomy by force

  • Attempted murder

  • Assault with a deadly weapon

Since those who commit violent crimes may pose a danger to society, prosecutors will often seek harsher penalties, which can lead to unfair tactics or treatment.

It's crucial for the accused to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the California felony conviction and help protect the defendant's rights.

Drunk Driving Offenses

Although a simple drunk driving charge (DUI) can be a misdemeanor, it can turn into a felony crime if the accident results in someone else's injuries or death.

Multiple prior convictions can also lead to felony charges.

Can the Defendants File a Motion to Dismiss Following Their Felony Arrests?

The California Penal Code Section 995 (motion to dismiss) allows the defendant to challenge the felony charges levied against them. Goss Law can answer questions like Will a felony show up after 7 years in California?

If the judge finds that the evidence submitted by the prosecutor is insufficient for a felony conviction, they may have the case dismissed.

What Are the Penalties for a Felony Conviction in California?

Depending on the felony crime, the judge may sentence the defendant to imprisonment, fines, or a combination of both. Under the California criminal justice system, the judge has the discretion to sentence the defendant to felony probation.

When a judge grants a formal felony probation to a defendant, it could last anywhere between three and five years. There are also certain rules that the defendant must follow, such as meeting with their probation officer every month, undergoing drug tests, doing community service, and paying the victim restitution.

In California, there are three different terms of imprisonment associated with felony offenses, and these include low, middle, and high term. Depending on the criminal statutes, the offender may have to serve their imprisonment sentence in either a county jail or California state prison.

Most felony crimes are punishable by middle-term sentences in California. However, this can vary depending on the aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

The use of a weapon when committing a felony crime is an aggravating factor that can lead to severe punishments, while a clean criminal record prior to the heinous act can be a mitigating circumstance for the judge to consider.

When an individual commits a serious felony crime, such as first-degree murder, they may receive life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Depending on the facts surrounding the criminal case, the judge may decide to give the death penalty.

What Is a Wobbler Crime in California?

A wobbler crime is an offense that may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. To help determine the criminal charges, the prosecutor may consider the defendant's criminal record and the facts surrounding the case.

The following are some of the most common wobbler crimes in California:

  • Burglary

  • Corporal injury to a spouse

  • Assault with a deadly weapon

  • Sexual battery

In the preliminary hearing of a wobbler crime, the defendant's criminal defense attorney may successfully challenge the prosecutor's evidence and arguments to reduce a felony case to a misdemeanor.

Can the Defendant Receive Felony Probation Instead of a Jail Sentence in California?

In most felony convictions, the judge could sentence the defendant to felony probation instead of serving time in jail.

When the judge grants felony probation, the convicted will typically spend one year in county jail before being released and required to follow the terms of the probation.

Some of the conditions of felony probation may include the following:

  • Drug and alcohol testing

  • Monthly meetings with the probation officer

  • Anger management counseling

  • Restitution

When the offender violates the terms of their probation, the judge may impose additional terms to the probation period, extend it, or require the defendant to spend their sentence in prison.

Are There Any Collateral Consequences of a Felony Crime in California?

Are There Any Collateral Consequences of a Felony Crime in California?

Felony crimes in California may have collateral consequences for the defendants. Those convicted of a felony offense may have to disclose their conviction when applying for job opportunities, which can adversely impact their chances of securing employment.

Under federal law, the convicted felon may also be unable to own or possess firearms due to their felony conviction.

If the defendant has a criminal background that includes sex crimes, the California Penal Code 290 requires them to register as a sex offender.

Those Accused of a Felony Crime Should Talk to an Experienced Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney

Those who have been accused of a California felony crime should call to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Sacramento criminal defense attorney at Goss Law. They can fight aggressively to have the sentence reduced or dismissed.

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