San Leandro Criminal Lawyer
Although many of us have had the occasional speeding or parking ticket, most of us have never had to defend ourselves against a criminal charge. Such an undertaking can be daunting, especially given the amount of state and local resources prosecutors may have at their disposal. In many situations, a good first step for those accused of a crime is to consult a qualified criminal lawyer.
If you are facing a criminal charge in California, contact a San Leandro criminal lawyer. An attorney who is familiar with different kinds of criminal cases could sit down with you to discuss your case and help you better understand your situation. Then, a lawyer could research your legal options and advise you on your best course of action.
Types of Offenses
Generally, California categorizes criminal offenses into the following three broad categories:
Felonies are the most serious type of crime, and include violent crimes that cause, or could cause, death or significant bodily injury. Other serious, property-related crimes such as burglary may also count as felonies. For example, under Cal. Pen. Code §460, any individual who breaks into a residence is guilty of first-degree burglary. Under Cal. Pen. Code §461, those convicted of first-degree burglary may face up to six years in state prison.
By contrast, misdemeanors usually involve less serious offenses. Potential punishments for misdemeanors generally do not include imprisonment in state prison. Rather, such punishments include smaller terms of imprisonment in county jail that may be coupled with a fine. For example, the punishment for a simple assault is a maximum of six months in county jail, a fine of $1,000 or less, or both, according to Cal. Pen. Code §241.
The least serious category of offenses is infractions. Those convicted of infractions are generally not imprisoned. They may be required to pay a fine or perform community service. Anyone who needs more information on a specific offense and possible punishments may benefit from calling a San Leandro criminal lawyer.
Criminal Statute of Limitations in San Leandro
To prosecute an individual for a crime in California, prosecutors must generally bring charges within a specific amount of time after the crime was discovered. This limitations period varies depending on the specific crime at issue.
Under California Penal Code §799, prosecution for crimes such as murder, sexual assault, or other serious offenses that could result in life imprisonment may commence at any time after the offense. However, any crime that could result in a prison term of eight years or more has a six-year limitations period, according to Cal. Pen. Code §800. This means that prosecution must begin within six years after the discovery of a crime.
Any other offenses punishable by imprisonment in state prison must be prosecuted within three years, according to Cal. Pen. Code §801. Most misdemeanors must be prosecuted within one year after the offense was committed, as per Cal. Pen. Code §802.
Therefore, in certain cases, any delay or oversight from prosecutors on charging an individual with a crime may result in the inability to try that particular crime. A San Leandro criminal lawyer could provide additional information on the limitations period for specific criminal charges and how delay or inaction affects a criminal case.
Speaking with a San Leandro Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal charges, no matter how minor they may seem, can be overwhelming. Most people are not lawyers or legal experts and therefore may not know all the possible defenses for their case. More importantly, they may not have access to the resources they need to investigate their criminal charge and obtain evidence that might exonerate them.
A San Leandro criminal lawyer could provide you with the legal resources you need to help defend your rights to the fullest extent. An attorney could work with you throughout the process to help you easily navigate the criminal justice system. Call today to learn more.