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The Answers You Need When Facing A Criminal Charge

Last updated on June 14, 2021

With more than 60 years of combined experience, we at Hansen & Miller Law Firm defend clients throughout the Santa Rosa metro area who face a spectrum of criminal charges. From misdemeanors to felonies, we can help you understand your rights, the justice system and what to expect from your case.

On this page, you can read the answers to some of our clients’ frequently asked questions. We hope this gives you some of the information you need, as facing a criminal charge can feel incredibly confusing.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony? What are the possible penalties?

Misdemeanors are the less serious category of criminal charges. The most common misdemeanors include:

  • Drug possession
  • Driving under the influence
  • Petty theft or shoplifting
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Trespassing

Any criminal action that carries a possible sentence of one year or less in jail is typically classified as a misdemeanor. The sentences for misdemeanors usually include fines, community service or probation. Felonies are more serious. Some common examples include:

Felony charges usually have more than one year of jail time as a penalty.

What is a plea bargain?

The district attorney’s office will sometimes make a bargain where you can plead guilty to a lesser charge than the one you originally faced. These deals are often very beneficial to you as a defendant, as you can avoid a trial and have a lighter sentence. In other situations, you might benefit more from going to trial and having a judge or jury issue a verdict.

Will a conviction affect my record?

If the state convicts you of a criminal charge, it will remain on your record unless you have it expunged. Even an arrest will show up on your record. Your potential employer, landlord, creditor and friends will be able to see your past offenses if they access your criminal record.

When should I hire a criminal defense attorney?

As soon as you possibly can. You should never speak to a law enforcement officer without an attorney present, even if they claim that they merely want to eliminate you as a suspect. The cops have ways of getting incriminating information out of you, even if you have absolutely no involvement in a crime. The moment you believe you are under investigation, contact a strong defense lawyer.

What should I look for when hiring a criminal defense attorney?

Though California has a bounty of defense lawyers to hire, you should always keep a few key criteria in mind. For instance:

  • Their years of experience
  • Their previous case results
  • Their testimonials from past clients
  • Their reputation among their peers

At Hansen & Miller Law Firm, we have these qualities in spades. Our attorneys bring decades of practice in criminal defense and have achieved thousands of acquittals, dismissed charges and reduced sentences. Our clients and peers alike respect us for our excellent service.

Do You Have More Questions About Criminal Law?

You are not on your own in the justice system. Our experienced lawyers are here to help you. For knowledgeable answers to even more of your questions, reach out to us to schedule an initial consultation. To contact us, call 707-575-1040 or send us an email.