Misdemeanor violations are often punished with misdemeanor probation, also referred to as “summary” or “informal” probation. Misdemeanor probation typically lasts for 1 year, during which the defendant must comply with the terms of their probation order, which could include:
- community service or labor;
- electronic monitoring or house arrest;
- counseling or treatment programs; or
- restitution to the alleged victim.
Los Angeles County courts are required to grant probation in eligible cases if there are no extenuating or extraordinary circumstances. An experienced misdemeanor lawyer like Attorney Eric Samuel Adams, Jr. can help argue for probation instead of jail time in such cases.
It is worth noting that California also recognizes certain offenses as “wobblers,” or crimes that can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, or even infractions in some cases. For instance, common wobbler offenses in California are assault with a deadly weapon or elder abuse, which are punishable as misdemeanors by up to 1 year in jail. An example of a wobbler that can be reduced to an infraction is theft of property worse less than $50 when the defendant does not have any previous theft-related convictions.
In most cases, misdemeanors may be punished as felonies if the defendant has a prior conviction for the same crime or for another type of serious or violent felony. If mitigating factors are present (e.g., the defendant had a very minimal role in the actual commission of the crime), a judge may decide to charge the wobbler as a misdemeanor.
Expunging a Misdemeanor
California law allows for most misdemeanor convictions to be expunged, except for sex crimes against children, which cannot be expunged. An expunged record means that the defendant is not required to disclose the existence of the expunged conviction as part of their criminal history on a job application or in an interview.
In general, a defendant is eligible for misdemeanor expungement in California if they:
- have successfully completed probation; and
- are not currently charged with, on probation for, or serving a sentence for a criminal offense.
Let Adams Law Help You Today
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Los Angeles, do not hesitate to contact an attorney for legal support to combat your charges. While misdemeanor convictions are not as serious as felonies, they still call for some time in jail and fines, and they also leave a mark on your criminal record. As a result, if you have been unfairly accused, it is imperative to enlist the help of a misdemeanor defense attorney to argue for mitigated charges (such as in the case of a wobbler offense) or an entire dismissal, if appropriate. Adams Law has experience obtaining numerous dismissals for clients before and can develop an effective strategy to fight your misdemeanor charges.