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California Misdemeanor Lawyer

 

California Misdemeanor Lawyer

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in California, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference. Misdemeanors may seem minor compared to felonies, but they can still carry severe consequences like jail time, fines, probation and a criminal record. Let’s take a look at some key things to know about misdemeanor charges and how a knowledgeable lawyer can help.

Common California Misdemeanors

Some of the most common misdemeanor offenses in California include:

  • DUI
  • Simple assault or battery
  • Petty theft
  • Vandalism
  • Trespassing
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Domestic violence
  • Solicitation
  • Possession of small amounts of drugs
  • Driving on a suspended license

While misdemeanors may seem minor compared to felonies, many carry maximum sentences of up to 1 year in county jail. Fines can be as high as $1,000 or more. Many misdemeanors also have mandatory minimum penalties that the judge cannot reduce or suspend.

How a Lawyer Can Help

An experienced misdemeanor lawyer can be invaluable in these ways:

  • Analyze the evidence and identify any legal defenses – For example, they may find improper police procedures that could get evidence thrown out.
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or punishment – Prosecutors know that a skilled lawyer will strongly defend their client at trial, so they may agree to a better deal.
  • Advocate for alternatives to jail time – Things like community service, classes, probation or fines.
  • Build a persuasive case and defend you at trial – If they can’t get the charges dropped or reduced through negotiation.
  • Advise you at every step – Making sure you understand the options, risks and consequences throughout the process.

Having a lawyer in your corner can make the difference between a slap on the wrist or serious jail time and a criminal record. Their expertise and advocacy is crucial.

The Arraignment and Plea

After you are arrested and charged, your first court appearance is the arraignment. This is where you are formally informed of the charges against you. The judge also considers bail or release on your own recognizance.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

At the arraignment, you are asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. Having a lawyer’s guidance here is critical. A guilty plea has serious implications, while pleading not guilty preserves your rights and opens up defenses. A no contest plea functions much like guilty.

The Pretrial Process

After arraignment come various pretrial events. Your lawyer will advocate for you every step of the way:

  • Bail hearings – Arguing for lower or no bail if you can’t afford it.
  • Preliminary hearings – Where prosecutors must show enough evidence to support the charges.
  • Pretrial motions – Filing to suppress evidence, dismiss charges or other pretrial matters.
  • Plea negotiations – Trying to get charges reduced or dropped to avoid trial.
  • Trial preparation – Subpoenaing witnesses, gathering evidence, readying arguments.

At any point prosecutors may offer a plea bargain to avoid trial. An attorney will advise if this is in your best interests.

The Misdemeanor Trial

If no plea agreement is reached, the case proceeds to a bench trial before a judge or jury trial. Key things a lawyer does here include:

  • Selecting a judge or jury trial – Each has pros and cons.
  • Voir dire – Questioning potential jurors if a jury trial.
  • Opening and closing arguments – Summarizing the case persuasively.
  • Presenting evidence – Documents, photos, witness testimony.
  • Cross-examining prosecution witnesses – Trying to discredit them.
  • Making objections – To improper questions or evidence.
  • Jury instructions – Ensuring the jury understands the law.

A skilled lawyer’s trial experience can make all the difference here. Without one, you may not understand procedures or make mistakes that hurt your case.

Sentencing and Appeals

If found guilty, your lawyer can advocate for the lightest sentence allowed. They can also identify and pursue any bases for appeal to a higher court. Grounds for appeal may include things like:

  • Violation of due process rights
  • Prosecutorial misconduct
  • Improper admittance or exclusion of evidence
  • Incorrect jury instructions
  • Insufficient evidence to support conviction

A skilled attorney knows how to identify and argue these points persuasively on appeal if needed.

Collateral Consequences

Beyond direct penalties like jail or fines, a misdemeanor conviction can impact your life in other ways. An attorney can advise you on these potential consequences and advocate to minimize them:

  • Immigration – Deportation or denial of citizenship or re-entry to the U.S.
  • Employment – Denial of professional licenses or termination.
  • Housing – Denial of public housing assistance.
  • Student loans – Ineligibility for loans or grants.
  • Gun rights – Prohibition on owning firearms.

Certain convictions may also make you ineligible to vote, serve on a jury or run for public office. An attorney experienced in misdemeanors will understand these far-reaching consequences.

Finding the Right Misdemeanor Lawyer

If you are charged with a California misdemeanor, it’s essential to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. When choosing one, look for these key traits:

  • Focus on criminal defense – Handling misdemeanors day in and out.
  • Familiarity with local courts and prosecutors – Invaluable relationships and insights.
  • Willingness to go to trial – Only a true litigation threat leads to the best pleas.
  • Attention to detail – Spotting any potential defenses or errors.
  • Clear communication – Keeping you informed at every step.

Don’t take chances with your future. The right misdemeanor lawyer can get charges reduced or dismissed, minimize penalties, and advocate powerfully on your behalf. With so much at stake, they are an investment well worth making.

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

Associate Attorney

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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Criminal Defense Lawyers Trusted By the Media

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