What is a Felony?

Felonies are so far the most serious type of crime you can be charged with in California. It has different levels with different prison terms. You definitely need an experienced criminal lawyer.

In the state of California, any crime where you can be sentenced for more than one year is considered a felony crime. This fact is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony criminal offense. Many people who are arrested for a felony have no prior experience in the California criminal justice system and don’t understand how the criminal case process works.

The two major classifications of crimes in California are felonies and misdemeanors. A felony offense is the most serious and apart from a potential state prison sentence and large fines, a felony conviction carries other harsh consequences.

For instance, under California’s three strikes law, a defendant may face additional punishment after a number of felony convictions. Having a felony conviction can make getting certain jobs or professional licenses difficult or even impossible.

Federal law also forbids a felon with a criminal record from possessing a gun or ammunition. Additionally, a felony conviction will prevent you from voting and running for public office.

Thus, avoiding a felony conviction is of utmost importance. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney who is skilled in negotiating with the prosecutor to have the charges dropped or even have the case dismissed.

There are some crimes that can only be charged and punished as felonies; they cannot be downgraded to misdemeanors. These crimes are known as “straight” felonies. The most serious crimes of this nature will result in a “strike” against your record.

In California, some typical straight felonies include murder (Penal Code 187), rape (Penal Code 261), and first-degree burglary (Penal Code 459). A conviction for these type of serious felony crimes will often be sentenced to a California state prison.


Finding a way to avoid being found guilty of a felony in California is essential. When that’s not possible, the emphasis must switch to developing a plan to lessen the effects of a conviction.

For many different felony crime types, probation is an option. If a defendant adopted a specific course of action after being charged, their likelihood of receiving probation increased. This could include drug or alcohol treatment, counseling, anger management counseling, and others.

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Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or even get the case dropped. Also, through prefiling intervention, it might be possible to avoid the formal filing of charges. We need to first review the details of your felony case.