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California Crimes Explained: Stay Safe with Security Base Group

California Crimes Explained: Stay Safe with Security Base Group

In California breaking the law can get you charged with one of three offences: infractions misdemeanours or felonies. Only misdemeanours and felonies are considered crimes and can lead to a criminal record.

Factors Influencing Charges

When you’re accused of a wobbler or wobblette offence the charges you face depend on several factors:

  • Context of the Crime: The circumstances surrounding the alleged offence play a significant role. For example, was the crime planned or was it a spur-of-the-moment act?
  • Intent: Your intentions during the crime can impact the severity of the charges. For instance, was there a deliberate intention to harm or was it accidental?
  • Prior Criminal Record: A history of previous offences can lead to more severe charges. Repeat offenders are often treated more harshly.

Crimes Against Property

For crimes against property the severity is often linked to the value of the property involved:

  • Low-Value Property: If the property taken is of low value (e.g. shoplifting a few items from a store) the crime might be considered a misdemeanour.
  • High-Value Property: If the property is of high value (e.g. stealing expensive electronics or jewellery) the crime is more likely to be charged as a felony.
    • Example: If someone steals a laptop worth $500 it might be a misdemeanour. However, stealing a car worth $10000 would likely be charged as a felony.

Crimes Against People

For crimes against individuals the severity depends on the injury caused:

  • Minor Injuries: If the victim suffers minor injuries (e.g. a bruise or small cut) the offence might be a misdemeanour.
  • Serious Injuries: If the victim sustains serious injuries (e.g. broken bones or severe bleeding) the offence is more likely to be a felony.
    • Example: Assault that causes a minor bruise may result in a misdemeanour charge whereas assault causing a broken bone could lead to a felony charge.

Additional Factors

Several additional factors can influence the severity of the charges:

  • Prior Record: A person with a prior criminal record is more likely to face severe charges.
  • Victim’s Age: Crimes against minors or elderly individuals often result in harsher penalties.
  • Use of Weapons: The involvement of weapons can escalate the severity of the charges.

Types Of Crimes in California 

Infractions

Definition and Penalties

Infractions are the least severe type of offence. They usually result in fines but do not lead to jail time or a criminal record. Think of infractions as “citations” or “tickets.”

Common Types of Infractions

Most infractions are related to traffic violations:

  • Speeding: Driving over the speed limit.
  • Running a Red Light: Failing to stop at a red traffic light.
  • Parking Violations: Parking in restricted areas.
  • Crossing a Double Yellow Line: Illegally crossing lanes marked by double yellow lines.
Other Types of Infractions

Besides traffic violations infractions can include various other offences:

  1. Local Municipal Violations:
  • Walking a dog off-leash.
  • Not having a dog licence.
  • Street weight limit violations.
  1. Park/Recreation Rules Violations: 
  • Breaking rules in parks or recreational areas.
  1. Fish and Game Violations: 
  • Fishing without a licence.
  1. Marijuana Possession: 
  • Possessing less than one ounce of marijuana without proper authorization.
Changes in Law

Jaywalking

  • Old Law: Jaywalking used to be an infraction.
  • New Law: As of January 2023 jaywalking is now legal in California.

Infractions are minor offences typically resulting in fines but no jail time or criminal record. They mainly involve traffic violations but can also include local municipal violations, park and recreation rules, fish and game violations and minor marijuana possession.

Misdemeanours

Definition and Penalties

  • A misdemeanour is a crime with a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1000. An aggravated misdemeanour can carry a more severe penalty.

Probation and Filing

  • Anyone convicted of a misdemeanour can be placed on probation for three to five years. In Los Angeles misdemeanours can be filed by the City Attorney’s Office or the District Attorney’s Office depending on the crime’s location.

Severity

  • Misdemeanours are more serious than infractions but less serious than felonies.
Common Examples of Misdemeanors
  1. Simple Assault: Physical attack without severe injury.
  2. First-Time DUI: Driving under the influence for the first time.
  3. Shoplifting: Stealing items from a store.
  4. Petty Theft: Stealing items of low value.
  5. Vandalism: Damaging property.
  6. Solicitation of Prostitution: Offering money for sexual services.
  7. Domestic Battery: Physical harm to a family member.
  8. Reckless Driving: Driving with a disregard for safety.
  9. Indecent Exposure: Exposing oneself in public.
  10. Trespassing: Entering property without permission.
  11. Public Intoxication: Being drunk in a public place.

Penalties for Misdemeanours

  • Fines: Monetary penalties up to $1000.
  • Probation: Supervised release for three to five years.
  • Community Service: Performing service for the community.
  • County Jail: Up to one year in jail.

Misdemeanours are crimes that are more serious than infractions but less severe than felonies. They can result in fines, probation , community service and jail time. Common misdemeanours include simple assault first-time DUI shoplifting and vandalism.

Felonies

Definition and Key Differences

In California any crime that can result in a sentence of over one year is classified as a felony. This primary difference sets felonies apart from misdemeanours.

Severity and Consequences

Felony offences are the most severe crimes carrying the possibility of state prison time, hefty fines, probation parole and significant collateral consequences.

  1. State Prison: Felony convictions often lead to time in state prison.
  2. Hefty Fines: Fines can be substantial sometimes reaching up to $10000.
  3. Probation and Parole: Felons may be placed on probation or parole involving strict supervision and compliance with various conditions.
  4. Collateral Consequences: Convictions can impact various aspects of life including employment voting rights and housing.
“Straight” Felonies

Some crimes are classified as “straight” felonies meaning they can only be charged and sentenced as felonies. These are the most serious offences and will be considered a “strike” on your criminal record. 

Common Examples of Felonies

Felonies represent the most serious category of criminal offences. Examples include:

  1. Murder: Unlawful killing with intent.
  2. Sexual Assault: Non-consensual sexual acts.
  3. Arson: Deliberately setting fire to property.

4.Kidnapping: Unlawful abduction of a person.

  1. Robbery: Taking property from a person using force or threat.
  2. Embezzlement: Theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust.
  3. Rape: Non-consensual sexual intercourse.
  4. Lewd Acts with a Minor: Engaging in sexual activities with a minor.
Penalties for Felonies

Felony convictions can result in severe penalties including:

  • Substantial Fines: Up to $10000 or more.
  • Lengthy Prison Sentences: Prison terms can range from one year to life imprisonment depending on the crime’s severity.
  • Life Imprisonment: Some felonies like severe murder cases can lead to life imprisonment.
  • Death Penalty: The most extreme murder cases may carry the death penalty. However as of now there is a moratorium on capital punishment in California.
Sentencing

The standard sentencing for a felony conviction in California includes serving time in state or county jail and potentially paying substantial fines. Judges also have the discretion to impose formal felony probation instead of imprisonment.

  1. Terms of Imprisonment: Felony offences are typically punishable by one of three terms—low middle or high. 
  • Low Term: The minimum sentence defined by law.
  • Middle Term: The standard sentence typically imposed.
  • High Term: The maximum sentence under the statute.
  1. Location of Sentence: Some criminal statutes dictate whether the sentence is served in a county jail or state prison.

Felonies are the most serious criminal offences punishable by long prison sentences, substantial fines and severe collateral consequences. Understanding the nature and implications of felony charges is crucial for navigating the legal system and preparing a defence. Examples like murder sexual assault and arson highlight the gravity of these crimes underscoring the importance of legal guidance and representation.

Wobblers and Wobblettes

Wobblers

Wobblers are the kind of offences that can be charged as either a misdemeanour or a felony. The decision depends on various circumstances allowing prosecutors and judges to consider multiple factors:The decision depends on various circumstances allowing prosecutors and judges to consider multiple factors:

  1. Severity of the Offence: The severity of the crime is a critical factor in the determination of the penalty.
  2. Defendant’s Criminal History: The prior convictions can affect the charge given depending on the type of crime committed.
  3. Harm Caused: Another important consideration is the degree of loss or injury resulting from the offence.

Examples of Wobbler Offences

  1. Vehicular Manslaughter: Causing death through negligent or reckless driving.
  2. Battery with Serious Bodily Injury: Physical attack with severe physical consequences.
  3. Petty Theft with Prior Convictions: Petty theft offenders who have had multiple convictions.
  4. Grand Theft: Purloining of items or cash of a specified or over a specified value.
  5. Assault with a Deadly Weapon: In this case, it refers to a situation where one person uses a weapon to assault another person.
  6. Various Types of Fraud: Fraud and other dishonest actions for monetary benefits.
  7. DUI with Prior Convictions: Multiple DWI or DUI convictions.
  8. Statutory Rape: Having sexual relations with a person who is below the age of eighteen years.
  9. Child Endangerment: Neglecting a child or exposing him or her to situations that cause harm.
  10. Criminal Threats: To intimidate or to pose a risk of physical injury on an individual.

Wobblettes

Wobblettes relate to a few offences in California that can be charged as infractions or misdemeanours. Although these are not formally known as legal terms for such offences, they are referred to as “wobblettes. ”

Examples of Woblette Offences

  1. Disturbing the Peace: Creating a scene or making noise that is disturbing to the public.
  2. Trespassing: Trespassing into someone’s property or land.
  3. Driving with a Suspended or Revoked Licence: Driving a car when one is not legally allowed to do so because of not holding a license.
  4. Failing to Appear in Court: Failing to attend a hearing that one was supposed to attend.

Wobblers and wobblettes are legal provisions which create elasticity in the legal system where charges can be reduced or increased depending on certain factors. Wobblers are those offences that can be tried as misdemeanours or felonies while wobblettes are those offences that can either be infractions or misdemeanours.

How Security Base Group Can Protect You from These Crimes

Security services play a significant role in tackling and addressing different offences. Here are some unique ways Security Base Group stands out in enhancing safety and protection:

  1. Proactive Crime Prevention Strategies: Our security guards employ different methods and equipment in crime prevention before it is committed.
  2. Expert Handling of High-Risk Situations: The security guards of Security Base Group are trained to handle sensitive cases such as vehicular manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily harm.
  3. Specialised Security Solutions: Our security services are flexible and can be customized to meet the requirements of your environment whether it is a commercial or residential area or a social event. 
  4. Comprehensive Background Checks and Monitoring: We ensure that our security guards conduct background checks and monitoring to ensure that they do not allow any suspicious characters like individuals with prior convictions for petty theft or DUI.
  5. High tech Technology Integration: Through the implementation of modern security features such as artificial intelligence-based security cameras and security incident reporting systems.

Special Protective Measures Implemented by Security Base Group

  1. Situational Awareness Training: Our guards are well trained and alert to the environment which assists in early identification of offenders and dealing with them for offenses such as; causing a breach of peace and trespassing.
  2. Conflict De-Escalation Techniques: Security Base Group has expertise in using safe words that help in managing and mitigating conflicts to ensure that minor incidents do not escalate into major ones.
  3. Integrated Monitoring Systems: Through integrated monitoring systems, we guarantee that any violations like driving with a suspended license or failing to show up in court is reported and dealt with appropriately.

At Last

Understanding about the main crimes in California helps us know the different levels of threat and how they are treated. Security Base Group offers special services to prevent these crimes and keep everyone safe. They use advanced technology and trained guards to protect your home, school, or business.

Want to stay safe? Let Security Base Group help. They provide custom security plans to protect what matters most to you. Contact Security Base Group now to create your safety plan. Stay safe and secure today!

 

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