The California legislature classifies crimes as felonies when the potential sentence of confinement is longer than one year. Some California crimes (known as “wobblers”) can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Most prosecutors charge wobblers as a felony.
Apart from prison sentences and hefty fines, felony convictions have harsh consequences. Many felony convictions place the accused at risk of additional punishment under California’s “three strikes” law. Felony convictions make it difficult or impossible to obtain certain kinds of employment or professional licensing.
Federal laws prohibit felons from possessing firearms or ammunition. Other civil rights are lost after a felony conviction, including the right to vote and to hold public office.
Avoiding a felony conviction should be the first priority of anyone charged with a California felony. As a former prosecutor, Randy Collins knows how to negotiate the dismissal or reduction of charges so that you will not face sentencing as a felon. As a dedicated criminal defense attorney, Randy Collins knows how to obtain dismissals and acquittals that protect the innocent.
In every case, The Law Offices of Randy Collins provides a strong defense that is designed to help you avoid the serious consequences of a felony conviction.
Many California felonies and wobblers that are typically charged as felonies are violent crimes. They include:
- Murder, attempted murder, and voluntary manslaughter
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault on a public official
- Threats to victims or witnesses
- Battery causing serious bodily injury
- Certain other sex offenses, including those allegedly committed against children
Most drug crimes other than simple possession are felonies, including:
- Sale of controlled substances
- Possession for sale of controlled substances
- Transportation of controlled substances
- Manufacture of controlled substances
Property crimes that might be charged as felonies include:
- First degree burglary
- Vandalism involving property damage of more than $400
- Grand theft
- Auto theft
- Identity theft
- Fraud (theft by false pretenses)
- Receiving stolen property
- Certain computer crimes
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a felony if the accused has three prior DUI convictions or a prior felony DUI. A DUI that causes injury or death can also be charged as a felony.
Some crimes that might otherwise be misdemeanors can be charged as felonies under certain “enhanced” circumstances. A criminal record can also increase available penalties, authorizing felony charges for certain crimes that would otherwise be misdemeanors.
A variety of defenses can be raised to felony charges. The best defense is one that is tailored to the facts of your case. Examples of felony defenses include:
- Mistaken identity
- False accusation
- Lack of intent to commit the crime
- The crime committed is less serious than the charged crime
- Justified action (such as self-defense)
- The police acquired the evidence illegally
- Reasonable doubt
The specific defenses that might apply to your felony charge depend upon the crime you were accused of committing, on the facts that the prosecution can or cannot prove, on the credibility of witnesses, and on how the police conducted the investigation. A review of your case during an initial consultation with The Law Offices of Randy Collins will give you a better idea of potential defenses that might help you avoid a conviction.
How An Attorney Can Help
It is always best to avoid a felony conviction. When that is not possible, the focus shifts to minimizing the consequences of a conviction.
Probation is an option for many felonies. Probation is a more likely outcome if you follow a specific strategy after you are charged. Staying out of trouble is the starting point, but other aspects of the strategy (which might include things like drug treatment, anger management counseling, or a psychological evaluation) might be recommended as your case progresses.
Following a strategy to minimize punishment puts you in a better position if a jury finds you guilty or if you decide to enter a “no contest” plea.
An aggressive felony defense may result in a dismissal, an acquittal, a reduction of charges, or a negotiated sentence that minimizes the consequence of conviction. For honest advice about realistic outcomes in your case and the strategies that will achieve the best result, call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865.
We defend felony charges in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Diego County, and elsewhere in Southern California.