We Treat Any Accusation Of Crime As A Serious Matter
There is no such thing as a minor criminal conviction. Any criminal conviction can be a life-altering event. At the Law Office of Robert Landheer, we understand that your legal matter affects you and your loved ones. For thirty years, Robert F. Landheer has been helping people in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area defend against misdemeanor charges. We will do whatever is in our power to keep your record clean.
What Is The Difference Between A Felony And A Misdemeanor?
The most significant differences between a felony and a misdemeanor are that a felony conviction carries more serious penalties and will likely have lifelong consequences. A felony conviction may result in a prison sentence and will definitely result in probation with a prison term hanging over a probationer's head for at least three years. A misdemeanor usually involves probation or a jail term of less than one year and the loss of other privileges. For instance, your driver license may be permanently revoked, your professional license may be revoked, and your career and future job prospects may suffer.
Beyond the term of confinement or probation, a felony conviction has lasting effects on a person's life. A convicted felon cannot vote, own firearms, or serve on a jury for seven years or while the case is pending and can lose professional licensure. According to Penal Code Section 17(b), a felony charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor if the offense was a wobbler, one that could have been charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
What Are Some Common Misdemeanors?
Similar to felonies, misdemeanors include both property crimes and violent crimes against persons:
- Property crimes -- These include theft, burglary, shoplifting, arson and vandalism. Whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony often depends on the amount or value of the property involved.
- Violent crimes -- Assault and DUI may both be charged as felonies if certain enhancements apply. Criminal threats, resisting arrest, and domestic violence are also violent misdemeanors, although they can also be charged as felonies.
- Drug crimes -- Possession of drugs for personal use is usually a misdemeanor for which diversion is available. Diversion avoids conviction and/or sentencing and can involve classes, counseling and drug testing.
- Fraud crimes -- Using a "fake ID," insurance fraud, welfare fraud, and filing a false police report are all crimes that involve deception. Even a misdemeanor conviction of these crimes can prevent you from obtaining a professional license, particularly if the profession involves trust.