District attorneys practicing throughout California aggressively prosecute felony charges. As a result, if you are facing felony charges, you are likely – and very understandably – panicking about the potential consequences of your legal situation. Know that you do not have to face this challenging time alone. You can work with a seasoned criminal defense attorney who will stand up for your rights, treat you with compassion and respect, and build the strongest possible defense on your behalf.
If you have been arrested and charged with a felony, reach out to Lamano Law Office today for a no-obligation case evaluation. One of our caring, compassionate Oakland felony attorneys can discuss your case with you, answer all of your questions, and help you figure out your next best steps.
Our Attorneys Defend Against a Broad Range of Felony Charges
The knowledgeable, dedicated, and supportive Oakland felony attorneys at Lamano Law Office can vigorously advocate on behalf of your rights if you are facing felony charges. Some of the common felony charges that our firm handles include:
- Felony DUI
- Criminal threats
- Obstruction of justice
- Felony domestic violence
- Vehicle theft
- Grand theft
- Gang activity
- Drug distribution
- Production, possession, or distribution of child pornography
- Hate crimes
- False imprisonment
- Sexual battery
- Child molestation
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Negligent/reckless manslaughter while intoxicated
- Voluntary/involuntary manslaughter
- Assault with a deadly weapon
What Our Oakland Felony Attorneys Can Do for You
A felony conviction in California can have a profound impact on your future. A conviction may not only result in the loss of your freedom due to a prison sentence. You could also face the social stigma of a felony record that would likely cause you serious difficulties with obtaining employment, housing, and certain other opportunities well into the future. Let the Oakland felony attorneys of Lamano Law Office fight for your interests in order to place you in the best possible position to minimize your criminal liability. We can:
- Carefully examine police reports and evidence to identify any and all factual and legal defenses available to you
- Develop a solid strategy to fight the prosecution’s case
- Go over the best- and worst-case scenarios and likely outcomes of your felony charges and discuss with you how our firm will work to defend your rights
- Move to exclude the prosecution’s evidence if it was obtained by the police in violation of your constitutional rights
- File motions to reduce or dismiss your charges if the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to bring you to trial
- Aggressively negotiate on your behalf (if appropriate under the circumstances) for a plea agreement that would allow you to avoid the most serious penalties stemming from a conviction
- Execute a solid defense strategy if you decide to go to trial to defend against the charges you’re facing
What Are the Felonies Classifications in California?
Some states group felony offenses into classes or categories labeled A, B, C, D, etc., or 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Under California’s penal code, each felony offense is assigned its own specific penalty structure. The felony offense statute applicable to any given case sets forth a low term, middle term, or high term, and the trial judge selects a conviction term during sentencing.
In California, some felony offenses are considered “wobbler” crimes. A wobbler crime may be charged or graded as a felony, which can expose a defendant to the possibility of serving more than one year in prison, or as a misdemeanor, which caps a term of imprisonment at a one-year maximum.
What are the Different Types of Theft Charges?
What Are the Penalties for a Felony Conviction?
A felony conviction in California can result in the imposition of various penalties, including:
- At least one year in state prison
- A term of formal probation in lieu of or in addition to a prison term
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Suspension or revocation of one’s driver’s license
Most felony statutes set specific low, middle, and high prison terms for a conviction. If the trial court decides to impose prison time as part of your sentence, it will select the low, middle, or high term associated with the crime(s) of which you’ve been convicted. The trial court’s selection will be based on factors such as your age, your criminal record, and the nature of the offense in question. Know that our firm will put together a mitigation packet that will help to illustrate that you are a “whole person” and not simply the sum of your alleged crimes. We will do everything we can to make sure that the judge assigned to your case recognizes that you are a unique being and that your story has a context.
If a felony offense does not have a specific low, middle, and high term assigned to it, the trial court can use the catchall sentencing statute under California Penal Code 1170(h), which provides for a low term of 16 months, a middle term of two years, and a high term of three years or more for a felony conviction.
Finally, some serious felony offenses, such as murder, are assigned indeterminate sentencing terms. In these cases, a convicted defendant is generally sentenced to a range of years in state prison (such as 25 years to life imprisonment).
How a Felony Conviction Can Affect Your Life
A felony conviction can have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s life, even after they have served the terms of their sentence. A felony conviction means that an individual will be assigned a criminal record that will show up on background checks and that must be disclosed under certain circumstances. If you have been convicted of a felony, your record will be a factor when you apply for jobs, housing, and admission to educational programs. You may even be barred from certain kinds of volunteer work. Unfortunately, applicants who have felonies listed on their criminal records often end up having their employment or housing applications denied.
Other long-term consequences of a felony conviction may include:
- An inability to possess a firearm, potentially for the rest of one’s life
- Automatic denial of certain professional licenses
- An inability to serve on a jury
- Mandatory registration as a sex offender, if convicted of certain sex crimes
It is also worth noting that certain felony convictions count as “strikes” under California’s Three Strikes law. In a nutshell, if you are convicted of a violent or serious felony after a previous conviction for a serious or violent felony, your case will be affected by mandatory punishment enhancement terms on your second strike. If you are then convicted of a third serious or violent felony, you will be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Can Felony Charges Be Dropped?
In some cases, it may be possible to convince a prosecutor to drop a felony charge. Typically, this shift occurs as part of a plea agreement. Usually, a plea agreement involves a defendant agreeing to plead guilty or no contest to certain charges that they are facing in exchange for the prosecutor dropping other charges or mitigating the recommended sentence for their alleged crime(s). A prosecutor may also decide to drop charges if an investigation uncovers evidence that exonerates a defendant.
A prosecutor will also sometimes drop felony charges if they believe they do not have sufficient evidence to secure a defendant’s conviction at trial. This may occur if the prosecution’s case is largely based on the testimony of a victim or eyewitness, and the victim or witness no longer wishes to cooperate with the prosecutor or testify at trial. Similarly, a court can dismiss a case if there is no longer evidence upon which to convict a defendant.
Can Felony Charges Be Reduced to a Misdemeanor?
Certain felony offenses that are considered wobbler crimes may be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Felonies that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor charge are considered “straight” felonies. Common wobbler crimes include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Criminal threats
- Spousal battery
Wobbler felonies can be reduced to a misdemeanor charge by the trial court:
- At any time during the prosecution
- During sentencing
- Upon the successful completion of probation, if a defendant was sentenced to probation in lieu of prison time for their felony conviction.
Obtaining a reduction of a felony charge or conviction to a misdemeanor can help you preserve important rights, such as the ability to apply for certain professional licenses, the right to serve on juries, and the right to own and possess firearms.
Can You Get Probation for a Felony?
Courts in California have the discretion to convert part of or all a defendant’s sentence for a felony conviction into a term of formal probation. While a court might require both a term of probation for a felony conviction and prison time, in most cases, individuals who are initially sentenced to probation for a felony serve no time in jail or prison.
Probation for a felony conviction for a non-violent offense usually lasts up to two years, although certain financial crimes involving more than specific dollar amounts can result in a probation term of up to three years. Probation terms for violent felonies can last even longer.
Under probation for a felony conviction, you will be expected to follow all the conditions set by the trial court. Common conditions of probation include:
- Regular check-ins with a probation officer
- Submitting to searches of one’s person and property
- Community service requirements
- Payment of restitution
- Behavioral therapy
- Random drug/alcohol testing and substance abuse treatment if the felony involved alcohol or drugs
If a defendant violates any of the conditions of their probation, the court may either choose to let the defendant off with a warning, increase the probation term and/or impose additional conditions, or revoke probation and sentence the defendant to a prison term according to the terms set during their original conviction.
How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record?
In California, a felony conviction will stay on your record permanently. However, you may have several options available to you that can clean up your record. Speak with our office about obtaining an expungement of your felony conviction, petitioning the court to seal the record of your conviction, seeking a certificate of rehabilitation, or pursuing a governor’s pardon.
Can a Felony Record Be Expunged?
Under California Penal Code 1203.4, certain felony convictions are eligible for expungement. You may be able to petition the court to expunge your felony conviction if:
- You did not serve time in state prison as part of your felony sentence
- You have successfully completed any term of probation ordered as part of your felony sentence, or you have obtained an early termination of probation
- You have fulfilled all conditions of your probation and all terms of your felony sentence
- You are not facing criminal charges or are not currently serving another term of probation or incarceration
You may apply for expungement of an eligible felony conviction as soon as any probation term that you’ve been sentenced to ends or is terminated. Expungement requires you to have successfully completed all the conditions of your sentence, including probation, if applicable. If you committed probation violations, the court will have discretion to grant or deny your expungement application, depending on the nature of your probation violations and your overall conduct and behavior during and after your probation period.
Speak With Our Oakland Felony Lawyers Now to Receive Personalized Guidance and Support
When you are faced with the possibility of a loss of your freedom due to a felony charge, get experienced legal representation that can help you to vigorously defend your rights. Contact Lamano Law Office for a confidential consultation. Once you speak with a member of our Oakland felony lawyer team, you’ll be empowered to make informed decisions about your legal situation. We look forward to speaking with you.