California felonies are charges and convictions that can result in probation and jail time. At times a felony can be punishable by a prison sentence of sixteen months or up to life in prison. Unlike other states, California classifies its felonies into named categories: White Collar, Drug, Sex, and Violent and Serious Felonies.
Different Types of California Felonies
White Collar Felonies are crimes that are “paper crimes.” These include fraud, bribery, forgery, perjury, identity theft, embezzlement, computer crimes, and others. Felonies associated with drugs include possession, distributing, manufacturing, and possession with the intent to sell. Both of these categories are on the lower half of the felonies. These carry less severe punishments of either a prison sentence and a fine or just a prison sentence. The prison sentences can range from twenty years to five years in prison depending on the crime and the number of crimes committed.
California has special restrictions on employers running background checks on prospective employers – learn about the California 7-Year-Rule and more.
Sex Felonies are more severe and often can result in sex offender registration for certain crimes. This category includes sexual abuse, illegal possession of pornography, sexual assault, and continuous sexual abuse of a child. Violent and Serious Felonies are the final category of felonies and are the most severe. These can include, but are not limited to, mayhem, kidnapping, murder, involuntary manslaughter, arson, California felony DUI, grand theft involving a firearm, and others.
A California DUI felony is a law that is special to California. It is a driving under the influence charge for the fourth offense in ten years.
California Three Strikes Law
California has put into place a three strikes law where under the California Penal Cord section 667 an individual who has committed an offense three times will face worse felony convictions than a one time offender.
On the second strike a person will receive a conviction with a limitation on the amount of good behavior reductions allowed. A second strike will also receive a double prison sentence automatically. If two strikes have already been made and a third is received, an individual is automatically sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison without the opportunity for parole.
Some misdemeanors in California can be elevated to wobblers. These include different degrees of assault, fraud, vandalism, battery, hit and run, possession of a firearm, criminal threats, domestic violence, and embezzlement.
An expungement can dismiss a conviction of a plea of guilty, a no contest please, or a guilty sentence. Certain penalties are then released along with the prosecution and arrest records. An arrest, a dismissal, a rejection, and the lack of filing of papers can be cleared from public view. Expungement does not, however, destroy or seal criminal records.
Many convictions in California are eligible for expungement, but it is strongly advised to acquire a criminal defense attorney to consult on specific matters. Some felonies and misdemeanors are eligible for expungement, while others are not. To qualify for expungement, an individual must have completed probation, must been free from subsequent offenses, must be living an upright lifestyle, and all court orders must have been followed. Other conditions can apply, depending on the crime to be expunged.