San Diego Criminal Charges – We Can Help
Are you facing criminal charges in San Diego? The San Diego Law Office of Domenic J. Lombardo specializes in the criminal defense of clients facing felonies or misdemeanors. We are well experienced in the areas of sex crimes, drug crimes, murder and manslaughter, theft, white collar crimes, domestic violence, and literally any and all criminal charges in California.
On a related matter, find out more about how Mr. Lombardo handles cases relating to San Diego arrest warrants, or San Diego warrants in general.
If you find yourself or know someone affected by any of these charges, do not hesitate to contact our San Diego felony attorney for a free consultation.
What is a Felony?
Criminal charges in California are categorized as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the type of punishment that may possibly be imposed. A conviction that may result in either imprisonment in the California Department of Corrections, or time in county jail, is by definition a felony. A conviction that may result in a county jail sentence only, is a misdemeanor.
Felonies Reduced to Misdemeanors
There is one exception to this rule: if a judge sentences a defendant convicted of a felony offense to no probation and time in jail, the felony is automatically reduced to a misdemeanor by operation of law, unless the judge indicates for the record that this is not his or her intent. Infractions, such as traffic tickets, cannot be punished by any jail time.
What is a “wobbler?”
There are some crimes that can be filed either as a felony or as a misdemeanor, so-called “wobblers.” Although the decision to file a charge as a felony or a misdemeanor is left to the prosecutor alone, the judge can override this decision later and reduce the wobbler to a misdemeanor even over the prosecutor’s objection. For example, grand theft (PC487) may be filed either as a felony or as a misdemeanor, but a judge would have the power to reduce a felony grand theft to a misdemeanor at many different stages of the proceedings, such as a preliminary hearing, sentencing hearing, during a felony probationary term, and even after a defendant completes probation. There are other types of felony charges that can never be reduced – these charges are commonly referred to as “straight” or “non-reducible” felonies.