If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in the East Bay for the first time, you’re probably curious, “What are the possible outcomes of a criminal case?” That’s a perfectly logical question; continue reading as we shed light on this subject.
In California, criminal cases are broken down into infractions, misdemeanors and felonies. Generally, infractions involve traffic violations, which don’t typically involve jail time as long as the person pays the fine. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and they often involve the following types of offenses:
- Petty theft
- Disorderly Conduct
- Misdemeanor DUI
Felony offenses are the most serious types of crimes and they often involve offenses against the person, such as aggravated assault, rape, manslaughter and murder. They also involve serious property offenses, such as burglary and robbery.
Criminal offenses vary widely, which means there are many different outcomes to criminal convictions. If you’re facing criminal charges, let’s take a look at what can happen.
1 Your charges could be dropped.
If you are officially charged with a crime, that does not guarantee it will go to trial. For example, if the police exhaust all avenues in the investigation and the prosecutor believes he or she has insufficient evidence to secure a conviction, they can file a motion to dismiss the charges. Or, if a judge rules evidence as inadmissible, or if there are too many holes in a case, the charges against you could be dropped.
2. You could plead guilty.
Most of the time, defendants are advised by their attorneys not to plead guilty to the original charge. Instead, what usually happens is the defense lawyer negotiates a plea deal and then advises their client to plead guilty to a lesser offense. If you decide to plead guilty, you are responsible for any sentence the judge hands down; you cannot say, “I don’t accept the judge’s sentence” because it doesn’t work that way.
3. You could accept a plea bargain.
If you’re innocent, it wouldn’t make sense to accept a plea bargain; however, if you made a mistake and the state has a mountain of evidence against you, it may be wise to work out a deal with the prosecutor. With plea bargains, defendants agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a lighter sentence and penalties. The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved with plea bargains.
4. You could decide to go to trial.
Suppose you’re 100% innocent, or there are a lot of holes in the prosecution’s case. In that situation, you may decide, “I’m going to trial!” In that case, your case would proceed through the courts and a jury would decide on your guilt or innocence.
We hope this information helps. If you’re looking for an East Bay criminal defense lawyer, contact our office today!