San Bernardino Criminal Defense Attorney
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Millions of Americans enter the criminal justice system for minor infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies every year. Kassel and Kassel believes that anyone accused of a crime deserves fair representation in and out of the courtroom. The court system can often be unforgiving to the accused, which is why our San Bernardino criminal defense team leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice for our clients.
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Criminal charges fall into one of two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Depending on the level of charges against you, the court may punish the crime more severely.
Misdemeanors are criminal offenses that warrant up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Crimes at this level may include possession of drugs for personal use or shoplifting property worth less than $950. However, misdemeanors may turn into felonies if there are severe injuries, fatalities, or property valued at several thousand dollars.
Sentencing can be complicated, and while misdemeanors usually have a maximum jail sentence and fine, the judge has the final say in how much time you spend behind bars. Additionally, a jail sentence can be reduced for good behavior or probation.
Some crimes are “wobblers” because they are on the line between a misdemeanor and a felony. Essentially this means that the judge will make a determination based on the evidence provided and decide whether the accused will be sentenced for a misdemeanor or felony.
“Wobbler” crimes include the following:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Sexual battery
Many wobblers become felonies if the criminal act resulted in injury or death. Ultimately, the evidence from police investigations and witnesses will push the case into felony territory.
Felonies are far more serious charges that often result in a prison sentence and/or hefty fines. Each state has its own definition of felony charges and how to punish them, and in California, there is a “three strikes” law.
California’s “three strikes” law provides automatic sentencing for those who have two violent felonies or serious felony charges prior to a third charge.
Violent felonies are defined by the court and may include:
- Selling drugs to a minor
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Any crime that results in significant bodily injury
- Any crime punishable by death or life imprisonment
Crimes not explicitly listed under the three strikes law can qualify depending on how they are committed by the accused. For example, if someone is charged with sexual battery and the crime resulted in the victim's death, the offense could be elevated to a violent felony. If that same person has two previous violent felony convictions, they will be sentenced according to the three strikes law.
“Third strikers” are not the only ones to feel the full effect of the three strikes law. “Second strikers” face double the prison sentence for a second conviction and must serve at least 80% of this time before release, regardless of good behavior.
Criminal accusations of any kind can have devastating consequences, and repeat offenders may find themselves facing a very unforgiving criminal justice system. However, you do not have to face the court alone.
Standing With You
At Kassel and Kassel, we take our clients’ cases very seriously. We devote our time and resources to pursuing justice on your behalf, and we apply our decades of experience toward creating a strong case strategy. Our team is well versed in the California court system, and we educate our clients on their situation and help guide them through the criminal process.
When you need a fearless advocate, contact our San Bernardino attorney at Kassel and Kassel.
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