Any time you have a run-in with the law, it is always in your best interest to have a criminal defense attorney on your side. It’s important to know what type of case you have, the consequences and someone to assist in handling the situation. An attorney can help you navigate your way through legal matters and help you better understand your situation.

There are many different types of criminal cases. Let’s go over some common criminal cases and charges and how they are handled in Southern California.

Southern California Criminal Charges and Cases

There are federal laws that apply to everyone throughout the United States. And there are state and local laws that apply to the people who reside in a particular state or area. So, within California, there may be laws and charges that differ from other states. Here are some common criminal case charges and cases you might encounter in California.


A misdemeanor in California is a level of criminal charge. It is a charge that is lower than a felony. However, it is considered higher than an infraction, which is the least serious of all the criminal charges.

In California, there were around 1.3 million arrests in 2011, and most of them were for misdemeanor offenses. Here are examples of different misdemeanor offenses you could be arrested for:

  • Drunk in public
  • Petty theft
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Domestic violence
  • Probation violation
  • DUI

Individuals who are charged with a misdemeanor can have a maximum sentence in county jail for generally no more than a year, and fines for these crimes are typically under $1,000. However, if the misdemeanor is considered gross or aggravated, fines may be greater than $1,000. And additional penalties may also include things like loss of driving privileges.


A felony is a level of criminal charge that is greater than a misdemeanor. They are considered the most serious type of offense. Felonies are crimes that usually involve serious physical harm or threats to victims. However, they can also include crimes such as fraud schemes.

In 2011, California had a total of 419,914 arrests that were for felonies. Here are some examples of felonies:

  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

The consequences associated with felonies vary greatly. There may be a fine of up to $10,000. A judge can sentence someone to felony probation. Individuals convicted of a felony have the potential to face jail time in a county jail or California state prison. Imprisonment can range from a year to life in prison. And in serious cases, even death is a possibility.


DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. It is a criminal offense and also a traffic violation to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are two types of DUI in California.

-The first type is driving under the influence, which relates to purely driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and does not have anything to do with how high your blood alcohol concentration is.

-The second type is related to how high your blood alcohol concentration is. If you are pulled over with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more or are a commercial driver with 0.04 percent or more, you would be considered under the influence according to California’s DUI laws. In addition, there are zero-tolerance laws in place in California. Those laws make it illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to get behind the wheel with 0.01 percent or more.

Even if you think you are capable of driving after a few drinks without being pulled over, it is never a good idea. Law enforcement will often pull vehicles over for suspicious driving behavior. However, no matter how good your driving is, you can still be stopped at checkpoints. In California, at DUI checkpoints, you have a legal obligation to stop when police flag you down.

If you get a DUI in California, you will have to face some penalties.

-You will receive fees and fines that can add up to $2,000.

-You are also required two days of jail time. However, time in jail can also be substituted for community service. Or if you served time in detention after being arrested, jail time may be negated.

-You will need to take a mandatory course on alcohol awareness.

Juvenile Criminal Cases

Sometimes individuals facing criminal charges are not adults. In the case of juvenile

criminal cases, minors under the age of 18 at the time of the offense fit into this category.

The juvenile justice system in California says that juveniles can still be charged with felonies and misdemeanors. However, with some exceptions, the juvenile system generally emphasizes the treatment and rehabilitation of minors. Minors can be sent to a correctional facility or youth camp. And if they are ever sentenced to prison, the minor will stay at the Division of Juvenile Justice until the age of 18.

There are many different types of cases and charges. And oftentimes, a case may call for evidence. There are four general types of evidence.

  1. Demonstrative – a model that shows what is likely to have happened.
  2. Real – tangible evidence.
  3. Documentary – a type of document.
  4. Testimonial – testimony from a witness.



So, what kind of case or charge are you facing? What kind of evidence do you need? If you are facing possible charges, there may be nothing more valuable than counsel from a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. Take action and get in contact with The Law Offices of Grant Bettencourt to best handle your case.