Los Angeles Misdemeanor Attorney

Last Modified: June 14, 2024
Los Angeles misdemeanor attorney

Facing a misdemeanor charge in Los Angeles can be a stressful experience. It brings the stress of potential jail time, fines, and long-term effects on your life.

At Perlman & Cohen, our experienced criminal defense attorneys specialize in handling misdemeanor offenses. We address criminal offenses in Los Angeles County with precision and empathy. We aim to provide robust defense strategies that protect your rights and aim for the best possible outcome.

As a dedicated criminal defense law firm, we know the intricacies of the criminal justice system. We know how distressing misdemeanor charges can be for individuals and their families. Some are dealing with a first-time offense, and others have prior convictions.

Regardless, our Los Angeles misdemeanor attorneys are here to help. We ensure that every client receives personalized attention and the most effective legal representation. With Perlman & Cohen, you have the support of a team dedicated to fighting for your rights and securing a favorable resolution.

Learn more about what constitutes a misdemeanor offense below. Then, call our experienced criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.

Definition of a Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is less severe than a felony but more grievous than an infraction. In California, misdemeanors could lead to time in the county jail. These charges cover a spectrum of offenses, from petty theft to simple assault.

Misdemeanors may seem less dire, but they can still have notable consequences. They remain on your criminal record and can affect your future opportunities.

It's important to take these charges seriously and seek knowledgeable legal counsel. Our criminal defense team knows the details of misdemeanor law and can guide you through the complexities of your case.

Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies

Misdemeanors and felonies differ mainly in the severity of their penalties. While felonies can lead to more than a year in state prison, misdemeanors typically result in less jail time, if any, and are served in county jail. This distinction affects not only sentencing but also your future rights and freedoms.

Felonies carry more severe consequences. A felony conviction could cause the loss of civil rights, such as voting and firearm possession.

Understanding these differences is essential when facing charges. The classification of your offense will influence the legal strategies employed by your attorney. Our firm ensures that clients are fully aware of their criminal charges and the potential outcomes.

Common Types of Misdemeanor Charges

Common types of misdemeanor charges

Misdemeanors cover various offenses. They can change and burden your life if not handled properly.

Theft and Shoplifting

Theft and shoplifting are some of the most common misdemeanor offenses. Petty theft is unlawful taking property valued at $950 or less. A person commits shoplifting if they enter a commercial establishment during normal business hours intending to steal.

Each scenario can carry penalties that include fines, community service, or jail time. Having a strong defense is vital to reducing or potentially dismissing the charges.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

DUI charges are vigorously prosecuted in Los Angeles. Even as a misdemeanor, a DUI can result in driver's license suspension, fines, and mandatory educational programs.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in DUI defense. We help minimize the legal consequences and safeguard your driving privileges.

Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are treated as misdemeanors when they do not involve major physical harm. These charges can stem from numerous situations. They often carry implications beyond legal penalties, affecting personal and professional relationships.

Effective legal representation is necessary to ensure a fair trial and defense. Some types of domestic violence in California are also considered misdemeanors.

Drug Possession

Possession of controlled substances without intent to distribute can often be charged as a misdemeanor.

However, the specifics depend on the type and amount of drug involved. Our defense strategies consider all aspects of your case, including potential substance abuse issues and alternative sentencing like rehabilitation.


Vandalism, including graffiti and property damage, is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Penalties may include fines, community service, and, in some cases, jail time. Defending against vandalism charges requires proving a lack of intent or disputing the extent of the alleged damage.

Legal Penalties for Misdemeanors in California

Legal penalties for misdemeanor in California

The penalties for misdemeanors in California vary depending on the offense and the individual's criminal history.

Generally, these penalties can include up to one year in county jail, fines, or probation. Specific laws outline the consequences for each type of misdemeanor, emphasizing the importance of understanding your charges.

For example, California Penal Code 242 defines battery as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

However, the penalties could be much worse if the crime led to a major injury. Our attorneys are adept at navigating these statutes to advocate for reduced penalties or alternative sentencing options like community service or rehabilitation programs.

Impact on Criminal Record and Future Opportunities

A misdemeanor on your criminal record could hinder job prospects, educational opportunities, and more. It can affect your ability to obtain professional licenses and influence your social and community standing.

The long-term effects of a misdemeanor conviction underscore the need for effective legal representation to clear your record through expungement or possibly sealing.

A permanent criminal record can close doors that might otherwise lead to future success. Our firm focuses on the immediate legal battle and the broader repercussions of a misdemeanor conviction. We work diligently to defend your present and protect your future.

The Misdemeanor Legal Process

  1. Arrest and Booking. If you're arrested for a misdemeanor, you will be taken into custody and booked, which involves recording your personal information and the notes of the alleged crime.
  2. Arraignment. You will hear the charges against you during the arraignment and enter a plea. Our attorneys provide counsel on whether to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest.
  3. Pre-trial Motions and Hearings. We may file motions to dismiss charges or suppress evidence and represent you during any hearings before the trial.
  4. Trial. If your case goes to trial, we will present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and argue your case before a judge or jury.
  5. Sentencing. If you are convicted, the sentencing phase will determine your penalties. We advocate for minimal penalties or alternative sentencing options.
  6. Appeals. Should the need arise, we can file an appeal to challenge the trial's outcome based on procedural or substantive grounds.
  7. Expungement. After you fulfill the terms of your sentence, we can assist you in applying for expungement to clear your misdemeanor from public records.

Defense Strategies for Misdemeanor Charges

Defense strategies for misdemeanor charges

Effective defense strategies are crucial in handling misdemeanor charges. Our team employs various tactics based on the specifics of each case.

Challenging the Evidence

We review the evidence the prosecution collects to identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies. This can include questioning the credibility of witnesses or the legality of evidence obtained during the investigation.

Questioning the Validity of Arrest Procedures

Our defense often involves challenging the procedures used during your arrest. If law enforcement violated your rights or did not adhere to proper protocol, we might be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Presenting Alibi and Witness Testimonies

Presenting an alibi or witness testimony can be a powerful defense. These testimonies can corroborate your whereabouts and challenge the prosecution's account of events.

Negotiating Plea Deals

In some cases, negotiating a plea deal may be the best strategy. This can lead to reduced charges or penalties, particularly for first-time offenders or when the evidence against you is not strong.

Expungement and Record Sealing for Misdemeanor Convictions

Clearing a misdemeanor from your record can significantly improve your life. In California, expungement and record sealing are legal processes that can help achieve this.

Expungement involves a court reviewing your case. Then, it could potentially dismiss the convictions from your record. This process can remove many of the barriers associated with a misdemeanor conviction. Securing employment or housing should get easier.

Record sealing goes further by making the record virtually inaccessible through normal means. This is particularly useful for cases that did not result in a conviction or were dismissed, providing a clean slate.

How Our Los Angeles Misdemeanor Attorney Can Help You

Our team at Perlman & Cohen provides comprehensive support throughout the misdemeanor process:

  • Expert legal analysis. We review every detail of your case to develop a tailored defense strategy.
  • Personalized representation. Each client receives individual attention and representation tailored to their unique situation.
  • Negotiation with prosecutors. Our experienced attorneys negotiate with prosecutors to achieve the best possible outcome. This could be a reduced charge or a more favorable sentencing arrangement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I'm arrested for a misdemeanor?

Remain calm, do not discuss your case with anyone, and contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Can a misdemeanor be reduced to an infraction?

Yes, sometimes, a misdemeanor can be reduced to an infraction, resulting in less severe penalties.

How will a misdemeanor conviction affect my future?

A conviction can affect job opportunities and housing, but expunging your record can mitigate these effects.

Contact Our Los Angeles Misdemeanor Attorney for a Free Consultation

Contact our Los Angeles misdemeanor attorney for a free consultation

If you're facing misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles, you must act quickly. It is time to secure skilled legal representation. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions could lead to substantial penalties.

Contact us today for a free consultation with our criminal defense lawyers.

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