FELONY CRIMES DEFENSE ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
A felony offense is the most serious type of crime you can be charged with and prosecuted for in Orange County, and a conviction for a felony offense is generally punishable by a county jail or state prison sentence and considerable fines, among other criminal penalties that could have an adverse effect on your life for years to come. Any time you are facing charges for a felony offense in Orange County, your future and your freedom are on the line. Whatever the circumstances of your felony charges, do not hesitate to consult a felony crimes defense attorney to determine the best strategy for your defense. Contact our Orange County criminal defense lawyers at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Affordable Orange County Felony Defense Attorney
The most important thing to remember when facing charges for a felony offense is that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Just because you have been accused of committing a felony crime does not automatically mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing. In fact, our criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have a proven track record of successfully defending felony crimes, and a clear understanding of Orange County criminal law and how it applies to your specific situation, and we can help you mount a strong defense in your criminal case. Our defense team has earned a reputation for aggressively protecting the rights of the criminally accused in Orange County and the surrounding counties, and we will do everything in our power to help you get the best possible outcome in your felony criminal case.
Under Orange County law, a felony crime is any offense for which the criminal punishment upon conviction is more than one year in county jail or state prison, and the most serious Orange County felony offenses are even punishable by life in prison or death. A “straight” felony is a criminal offense that is always charged and sentenced as a felony, meaning it cannot be charged as, or reduced to, a misdemeanor crime. A “wobbler” felony, on the other hand, is a crime that can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor offense, depending on the specific facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. Some Orange County criminal offenses that can be prosecuted as felonies include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- DUI drugs
- DUI with injury
- Drug possession
- Sexual assault
- Child molestation
- Child pornography
- Assault and battery
- Domestic violence
- Weapons charges
- Criminal threats
- Grand theft
- Hit and run
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Federal crimes
Penalties for Orange County Felony Offenses
The consequences of a felony conviction in Orange County can include imprisonment in county jail or state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Alternatively, upon conviction for a felony offense, a judge may sentence an offender to formal (felony) probation. Probation is essentially a suspended jail term that gives the individual the opportunity to serve all or part of the sentence in the community, under supervision, rather than in jail or prison. If you receive formal probation as part of your criminal sentence, and you violate the terms of your probation, the judge can decide to modify or extend the probation period, or may even revoke or terminate the probation and send you to jail or prison. Orange County parole laws are similar to probation laws, but parole only applies if you were sentenced to state prison and have completed the sentence or been granted early release. Much like probation, Orange County parole comes with certain terms and conditions, and like probation, parole can also be revoked.
Under certain circumstances, individuals convicted of felony offenses in Orange County may be able to get the conviction “expunged,” or dismissed. In order to be eligible for expungement, you must have been granted probation as part of your sentence and completed it successfully, and you must not have served time in state prison for the crime (or you could have served time in prison for a crime that would have called for a jail term under Proposition 47). Getting your conviction expunged does not completely erase the conviction from your criminal record. However, it can relieve you of the social stigma and troublesome restrictions that come with a felony conviction. You may qualify for conviction expungement if the conviction was not for certain violent crimes or sex offenses, you were not sentenced to state prison, and you are not currently charged with, serving a sentence for, or on probation for any criminal offense.
California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law
In Orange County, most serious or violent crimes are charged and prosecuted as “straight” felonies, and these include crimes that count as “strike” offenses for the purposes of California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law. This law was established to significantly increase the prison sentences of repeat offenders convicted of multiple serious or violent felony crimes in California. Under the “Three Strikes” law, if you have a prior felony strike conviction on your criminal record, and you are convicted of a subsequent felony, you could face double the prison sentence otherwise required by law. If you have two or more “strike priors” on your record, you could face an automatic prison sentence of 25 years to life for a subsequent felony conviction.
Orange County Felony Crimes Process
If you are under investigation for a felony crime, or you have been charged with a felony offense in Orange County, the criminal justice system will likely seem complicated, confusing and overwhelming, especially if you have little or no criminal history. Having a clear understanding as to how the criminal process works and what you can expect in the coming weeks and months can help you cope with the idea of facing felony charges and work to avoid a conviction. Generally speaking, the felony criminal process follows this basic order of events:
- Arrest – Criminal prosecution typically begins with an arrest by a law enforcement officer, either because the officer observed you committing a crime, has probable cause to believe you have committed a crime, or is operating under the authority of an arrest warrant.
- Booking – After being arrested, you will be taken into police custody and “booked,” or “processed.” During this phase of the criminal process, a law enforcement officer will take down your personal information and information about the alleged crime, take your fingerprints, take photographs, confiscate your personal property and place you in a holding cell.
- Arraignment – Your arraignment is the first time you will appear in court and this is the point at which you will hear and answer to the criminal charges against you, entering a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.
- Bail review – After entering your plea, your defense attorney will argue for release without bail or for reduced bail. Bail is a payment required by the court to ensure that you will appear at future court appearances pending trial.
- Court date – If you enter a plea of not guilty, the court will set dates for future proceedings. If you are released on bail, you will be free to return to your home, pending the resolution of your criminal case. If you are not released on bail, you will be held in custody until your case is resolved.
- Plea agreement – At this time, your defense attorney will do everything in his or her power to negotiate with the prosecution to get the charges reduced or dismissed, or get the possible sentence reduced as part of a plea agreement. If your attorney can get your felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor offense, the criminal penalties will be significantly less severe.
- Trial – If, in consulting with your attorney, you decide to take your case to trial, or if the prosecution will not accept a reasonable proposal for a reduction in charges, your case will proceed to a jury trial. During trial, the prosecutor and your attorney will each argue their case and examine the witnesses to establish the facts of the case for the judge and jury. If you are found not guilty at trial, you will be immediately released. If you are found guilty, you will be taken into custody to await sentencing.
- Sentencing – During the sentencing phase of the felony criminal court process, the judge will decide on the appropriate punishment, taking into consideration the specific circumstances of your case. A felony sentence can include incarceration, fines, probation, restitution, community service, or participation in rehabilitation programs, among other potential penalties.
- Appeal – It is your right to appeal a criminal conviction or sentencing, which your attorney may do based on any legal errors allegedly committed by the jury, prosecutor or judge.
This is the basic criminal court process for individuals facing allegations of a state felony offense. If you are facing federal criminal charges, the criminal process can differ significantly from the state process and it is important to be aware of and understand the differences between the two criminal procedures. If you are under investigation for a federal offense, you could face imprisonment in federal prison for years, if not decades, upon conviction. It is imperative that you consult a knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your best course of action in defending yourself against federal criminal allegations.
Orange County CA Felony Crimes Defense
In any criminal case where the potential for a county jail or state prison sentence exists, you have the right to be represented by a skilled defense attorney, and that is a right you should always take advantage of. The felony criminal court process is complicated, and the penalties associated with a felony conviction in Orange County can be severe and long-lasting. In addition to the immediate criminal consequences of a conviction, you could also suffer personal and professional repercussions that can follow you for the rest of your life, possibly leading to job loss, a damaged reputation and the loss of trust and respect among your friends, colleagues and family members. The most important thing to remember when facing felony criminal charges is the legal principle known as the presumption of innocence. In any criminal case, the defendant is legally presumed innocent unless proven guilty, and the prosecutor in your case can only get a conviction if he or she is able to prove each element of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
How Hiring a Felony Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
The consequences of a felony conviction can be far-reaching and long-lasting. For instance, if you are found guilty of a felony offense in Orange County, you will have a felony conviction on your criminal record, which can adversely impact virtually every aspect of your life, even after you have served your jail or prison sentence, possibly affecting your employment prospects, your professional licensing, your child custody rights, your civil rights and even your immigration status. You do have the right to represent yourself in criminal court, but because the penalties of a conviction can be devastating, particularly in felony cases, it is in your best interest to have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you.
Our skilled defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group are intimately familiar with the Orange County criminal justice system – how it works, which defense options are available to you based on the circumstances of your case, and what the likely outcome of each option is – and will ensure that you understand the allegations against you and your rights in fighting these allegations. We recognize the fact that all felony criminal cases are different, with unique circumstances that can affect prosecution and sentencing, and we will give your case the individualized attention it deserves. Our defense team will advocate for you in court and ensure that your best interests are represented throughout the duration of your criminal case, from the moment you hire our firm to the conclusion of your case.
Contact Our Orange County Felony Defense Attorneys
If you or a loved one is facing felony criminal charges in Orange County or the surrounding counties, the best step you can take to protect your future and your freedom is to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent your case. Our legal team has more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we will devote every possible resource to getting your charges reduced or dismissed or minimizing the consequences of a criminal conviction. Contact our experienced Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected and to begin building a winning defense in your case.