A misdemeanor is a crime that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. A felony offense, on the other hand, carries a maximum sentence that exceeds one year in jail or state prison. A misdemeanor charge is made and prosecuted by the government, either a city prosecutor or district attorney. In Long Beach, most misdemeanor offenses are prosecuted by the Long Beach City Prosecutor.
Someone charged with a misdemeanor offense has a constitutional right to a criminal attorney of his or her choice at all phases of the case and all courtroom proceedings. With few exceptions, persons who hire an attorney on a misdemeanor case can have that attorney make all court appearances without the client having to go to court personally.
Misdemeanor charges differ from infractions such as speeding, illegal turns, and the like that carry only fines and no jail time. However, traffic crimes such as driving without a license, drunk driving (DUI), or reckless driving are misdemeanor crimes and do carry jail time. In addition a person accused of a traffic crime is entitled to a jury trial if he desires one. An experienced criminal attorney can oftentimes negotiate a plea bargain that avoids a jail sentence. A criminal law specialist with years of trial experience can use the threat of a jury trial to pressure a settlement from the government.
In addition to traffic crimes, misdemeanor cases such as domestic violence, assault and battery, public intoxication, solicitation of prostitution and other misdemeanor crimes carry jail sentences but often also require the completion of certain types of programs.
Many misdemeanor convictions can also result in the revocation of the right to own a gun. It is a felony for a person with certain misdemeanor convictions to possess a firearm within ten years of that conviction. Those crimes include, but are not limited to: assault, battery, criminal threats, witness intimidation, domestic violence, brandishing a weapon, and various weapons possession offenses.
Although a "misdemeanor" was at one time considered only a minor spot on one’s record, in the days of internet data bases, a conviction for a misdemeanor offense can have permanent consequences.
For American citizens, a conviction on a misdemeanor case can result in the inability to obtain certain professional licenses, such as a nursing license, real estate license, massage therapist license, and others. Employers frequently conduct background checks on prospective employees and tend to avoid hiring persons who have criminal convictions.
Non-citizens, even those who are documented and lawfully within the United States, can be deported or denied citizenship or naturalization due to a criminal misdemeanor conviction.
When people find themselves accused by the government of a criminal charge, they often mistakenly believe that they can’t fight the government. However, an experienced aggressive criminal law attorney can stand up against the government. Criminal law attorney Matthew Kaestner understands the dangers of a criminal conviction and knows the techniques to avoid a criminal conviction.
Long Beach criminal lawyer, Matthew G. Kaestner, has over 25 years of criminal law experience. As both a prosecutor in the 80’s and as a criminal defense attorney since that time, Mr. Kaestner has won virtually every type of criminal case from DUI to first degree murder. He successfully handles both felony and misdemeanor cases on a daily basis.
When you or a loved one is accused of a misdemeanor please contact Long Beach criminal attorney Matthew Kaestner directly at (562) 437-0200.