As seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, we understand that many people do not really know the difference between a misdemeanor and felony offense. In California, there are also criminal offenses that are classified as “wobblers,” which simply means that the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, at the prosecutor’s discretion.
Generally speaking, misdemeanors are crimes that would be considered less serious than felonies, and are punishable by a maximum of one year in a county jail. Felony offenses are those that are more serious, and incur penalties which include one year or more in state prison.
What are the most common crimes which are usually charged as misdemeanors? There are really two categories of misdemeanor crimes, standard and aggravated. Examples of standard misdemeanors include public intoxication and petty theft. Aggravated misdemeanor offenses include simple assault, simple battery, and DUI (driving under the influence). The criminal penalties for a conviction on a standard misdemeanor offense include fines of up to $1,000 and a maximum of 6 months in county jail.