Articles Posted in Prison Sentence

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Southern California, that does not mean you have been convicted. If there is no conviction, you will not be facing any type of sentence. If you have either entered a plea of guilty, or no contest, then you have been convicted of a criminal offense. Similarly, if you have gone through trial, and have been found guilty of a criminal offense, then you have been convicted. After the conviction, there is generally a sentence. Most sentences, not all, but most, consist of the following components.

Jail Time

Many offenses will consist of jail or prison time. It is important to note that jail or prison time is not a part of a sentence in every offense. There are many offenses that will not require any jail or prison time. A jail sentence is any time served that is one year or less. Prison time is any time that is served beyond a year. Whether or not you are asked to serve a jail or prison sentence will be determined by the facts of your case and your criminal background. Most often violent crimes, felonies, or second or more offenses will include some time in prison or jail.

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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.

Our clients who have been charged with a Southern California theft offense face a range of potential consequences. They will be sentenced along a spectrum of penalties ranging from time in jail, to community service, to a fine depending. Where they land on the scale depends on the specific facts of the case and the value of the object stolen.

A theft offense will be charged as Grand Theft when the value of the merchandise stolen is over $400. For cases involving the theft of a firearm, potential consequences can range between 16 months imprisonment in state prison up to 3 years. (California Penal Code 489). For all other cases involving Grand Theft, the penalty will be up to one year in county jail or state prison.

A Southern California theft offense in which the value is under $400 will be charged as petty theft. Petty theft will be punished by a fine up to $1000, or up to 6 months in county jail, or both (California Penal Code 490).

Some sentences will require convicted defendants to serve their sentence in a Jails and some will require they serve their sentence in Prison. There are differences between the two and they each serve a specific purpose.

Jails are county facilities throughout the state which house two types of inmates. Inmates that are pending completion of their criminal cases house for community safety and for inmates who are serving sentences that are a year or less. The maximum amount of time someone can serve a sentence in a jail is a year.

State prisons, on the other hand, are federal facilities often used to house more serious and often violent offenders. These are for defendants that have already completed their court proceedings and have sentences greater than one year.

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