A California law firm that treats any accusation of crime as a serious matter

There is no such thing as a minor criminal conviction. Any criminal punishment can be a life-altering event. At Robert F. Landheer’s Law offices in Santa Barbara, we understand how your legal matter affects you and your family. For more than three decades, we’ve been helping people in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area fight against unjust misdemeanor charges. We do whatever is in our power to keep your record clean.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

Perhaps the most significant difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is that a felony conviction carries more serious penalties and often has 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 suspended, your professional license may be revoked, and your work may suffer.

However, beyond the term of confinement or probation, a felony tends to have more 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.