How Will I Know what Penalties I will be Facing if I am Convicted of a Criminal Charge in San Diego?

When you have been arrested and charged with a crime in San Diego, that does not mean you are guilty of unlawful activity. It merely means that you have been suspected of violating a California law, and will be tried before a Judge in a Court of law to determine whether you are actually guilty or not.

A person will only be convicted once the government has proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the person being charged did in fact commit the crime. Once the person has been tried, and found guilty, a sentence will be imposed.

Sentencing is not a black and white standard. Not all crimes deserve the same punishment and therefore, the legislative provides a range of possible sentences. For example, let’s consider an assault charge by comparing two different scenarios.

In the first scenario Dan is at a bar. A guy accidentally knocks over Dan’s beer as he is leaving the bar. Dan is outraged that the man spilled his drink and immediately punches him. Dan has previously been arrested and convicted for battery. The man that Dan hits suffers a broken nose and is rushed to the doctor, he will incur medical bills and will take some time to recover.

In the second scenario, Dan is at a bar with some friends. Dan has no criminal record, nor has he ever had any tickets on his record. Dan sees a guy in the bar harassing a woman by the pool table. Dan steps in and asks the man to stop harassing the woman. The man ignores Dan and continues to harass the woman, even grabbing her arm at one point. Dan has no choice but to push the guy away, who falls backwards and falls on top of a table. Other than a few bruises, he suffers no injuries.

Both instances are situations in which Dan may be charged with assault and arrested. Potentially an assault charge may impose up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.00 if a person is convicted. In comparing the two scenarios, it hardly seems fair that both should warrant the same consequences.

In the first situation, Dan had already been found guilty of having hit someone in the past, and Dan was unnecessarily acting with force. In addition, he ended up severely injuring someone and costing them their health , time and expenses. In contrast, the second situation Dan was being chivalrous. Whereas he still hit someone, there were minimal injuries and there was no prior record demonstrating that Dan in that situation was a good citizen and a stand up guy.

The Judge will consider all these factors and circumstances, including the criminal history and will impose a sentence accordingly. That is why the statue defining the unlawful action will be laid out in a wide range. This gives the Judge discretion in imposing a sentence that is reasonable in light of the background of the case.

A skillful San Diego Criminal Defense lawyer has years of experience in negotiation with a Judge when it comes to sentencing. The right argument and defense can make the difference between no time in jail and six months.