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An Overview Of The Criminal Law Process In The State Of California

Interviewer: What are all the different kinds of crimes that you represent people for?
Scott Stotz:  There’s a variety, generally speaking, the most typical one is a DUI, I would say DUI is a probably be about 70% of the criminal cases I handle, but we’ve pretty much handled anything from smaller crimes like petty theft, public intoxication, driving without a license, to some of the more mid-level offenses like DUI, domestic violence, battery charges, and some of the more serious offenses like some 3 strikes cases.  We’ve handled assault cases, assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft, burglary, robbery, check fraud, pretty much a broad variety of matters, in addition to the other post-conviction stuff like expungements, probation termination motions, and motions to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, things like that.
Drug Related Offenses Are Very Common in the State of California
Interviewer: Do you also do handle drug cases as well?
Scott Stotz:  Yes,I do handle drug offenses. Not necessarily the standard “being under the influence” charges, but also possession for sales, transporting, etc.  We pretty much do it all.
DUI is Technically a Traffic Offense as it is Listed Under the Vehicle Code and Not the Penal Code
Interviewer: Why would DUI be considered a criminal offense over a traffic offense
Scott Stotz:  In my opinion it’s probably more to do with the propaganda that’s behind it, it is listed under the vehicle code, rather than under the penal code, so technically it is a traffic offense.  However, it is considered a misdemeanor, if there are no enhancements; if there are no injuries in a collision, or is a first, second or third offense within 10 years.  Otherwise, it’s considered a felony.
The Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor Charges in California
Interviewer: What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony that people don’t generally know about?
Scott Stotz:  A misdemeanor is California’s mid-level offenses; California has 3 levels of offenses.  The lowest is an infraction, which is basically just punished by a fine, that’s it; you move on, that would be something like a seatbelt violation or speeding ticket. Misdemeanors usually involve some sort of probation as well as a fine, and some sort of imprisonment.  That imprisonment can be jail time, it can be community service, but generally with misdemeanor the maximum punishment allowable is up to 1 year, and that’s actually changing in California to be 364 days, rather than 365 starting in 2015. With felonies, the minimum mandatory sentence is at least a year.  However, most felonies, depending on the offence, have sentencing range of anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in state prison, some obviously will be a lot more, but that’s usually the main difference, is the, how much time you can be doing in jail.