California Penal Code §415 refers to Disturbing the Peace. A charge under PC 415 can be either a misdemeanor or an infraction depending on the facts surrounding the case. However, a PC 415 is generally a lesser charge so that it does not have as harsh of a consequence as other potential sentences. Additionally, a PC415 look more favorable on a criminal record and can be explained more easily than another more serious charge.
Let’s consider an example. Let’s say that David has been charged with a drunk and disorderly conduct under California Penal Code § 647(f). This can be charged as a misdemeanor and possibly a felony. It cannot be charged as an infraction, which is the ideal charge if the case cannot be dismissed. An infraction includes lower fines and no jail sentence as part of its potential sentence. When a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney appears on your behalf at the first court appearance they will be given a standard offer.
This first appearance is called an arraignment. At the arraignment the attorney will be expected to put in a plea on behalf of their client. The main goal at the arraignment is to try and negotiate with the District attorney or the City attorney to reduce the criminal charge or have it dismissed altogether. If the charge can be reduced to an infraction within the statute, the attorney will push the government attorney for that option.
However, if the statute does not allow the Court any authority to reduce it to an infraction, then it won’t be possible. This is the case if a person has been charged with Drunk and Disorderly conduct under California Penal Code §647(f). The criminal defense lawyer cannot ask the district attorney to charge their client with a drunk and disorderly infraction because the statute would not allow it. In those situations, the attorney will ask for a different charge, one that allows for an infraction.
Most often the infraction that attorneys will ask for is a Disturbing the Peace, which can be reduced to an infraction. By having the charge reduced to an infraction the attorney can prevent the charge from having to be reported to employers, and educational institutions. Additionally, the sentence associated with an infraction is a significantly lower and usually includes no possibility of jail time.
Having a charge reduced takes skill and experience with negotiations. It also helps when an attorney is experienced and is familiar with each district and city attorney as well as the Judges. Having a misdemeanor on your record means that you have to wait until the probationary period is over to have it expunged. Until then, you must report and explain the charge and conviction to possible employers, schools and other institution.
Furthermore, your potential sentence could include fines upwards of $1,000.00 as well as possible jail time. Make sure you have an experienced Los Angeles Legal Advocate to fight hard for you and have your case reduced.