Articles Posted in Jail and Misdemeanors

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Serving time in jail or prison will not excuse you from your financial obligations. However, often weeks, months or even years can pass from the time you are arrested to the time your case is closed. So what happens to your funds during this time?

If a judge determines you’re not a flight risk and you’re in a position financially to make bail, then you should have time to sort out your finances. If you are denied or unable to make bail, your credit and finances may suffer unless you make the appropriate arrangements.

What Happens to Your Money While in Prison?

manage funds jailGenerally, nothing happens to your bank account if you are sent to prison; however there are some exceptions. If the government believes that you financially benefitted from your criminal activity, such as selling drugs or insider trading, they may freeze or even take your assets.

All banks are different, but most banks will put a hold on your account restricting any access to your funds if there is no banking activity for a certain amount of time. By updating your banking address to your jail or prison address and making small deposits periodically, you can avoid bank holds due to account dormancy.

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With the November election approaching, prosecutors and defense attorneys are turning their attention to a ballot measure that will reduce penalties for some non-violent, non-serious offenses. Although it is gaining traction with the public, prosecutors are split over Proposition 47.

According to an August field poll, the proposition has 57% support, which means it could be voted into law barring significant changes before November. However, that is not expected to change as opposition has failed to raise funds and has remained quiet.1 Here is what you need to know about Prop 47.

What Will Prop 47 Do?

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California Governor Jerry Brown has come up with another plan to delay a reduction in prison overcrowding. Rather than to fully comply with a panel of three federal judges who ordered California to reduce its prison population more than four years ago, the Governor is prepared to go back to the justices yet again to ask for more time.

On Sept. 9, Gov. Brown and state Legislative leaders put together a new scheme to seek more time from federal judges to reduce the prison population. They plan to request an additional extension in order to comply with an August 2009 federal order, which was upheld in May 2011 by the United States Supreme Court.

The Governor has vowed to comply with the federal order, if necessary, without resorting to the early release of prisoners. If the federal judges deny the request for an extension, Republican and Democratic Legislative leaders are prepared to spend over $315 million of California’s $1.1 billion reserve this year alone to fund relocation of California prisoners to private and out-of-state prisons, county jails and other facilities. That figure is expected to increase to $415 annually in coming years.

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This is a question we are often asked. The answer to the question depends upon several factors.

Under California law for most crimes, if you are sentenced to one year in county jail you will actually serve 50% of that sentence or six months.

Time%20served%20in%20jail%20defense%20attorneys%20Wallin%20%26%20Klarich.jpgHowever, there are certain more serious crimes, where you could serve as much as 80% or 85% of the one year sentence. These crimes are normally serious felony matters where you were fortunate enough to receive probation or cases where you have received probation but you have a prior “strike offense”.

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An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney is the Only Place to Turn to Avoid a Lengthy Prison Stay

Unfortunately for many people, criminal charges tend to follow after a night of drinking. Such was the case for a 24 year old man arrested on August 3, 2009. After a long night of drinking, the defendant was arrested for public intoxication; a misdemeanor charge that in California, under California Penal Code Section 647, could result in 6 months in jail, as well as fines. The arresting officer claimed that the he observed the man stumbling in the street around 3:00am. Sadly, the man’s troubles did not end there.

According to police, the man was placed in the back of the police vehicle while he was transported to the county jail. Once the police vehicle reached the jail, the man pulled his legs between his hand-cuffed wrists to get his arms in front of him. The man then broke the police vehicle’s window and climbed through. Police quickly stopped the man before he got too far. He was then charged with felony for trying to escape police custody. The new felony charge for attempting to escape carries a 20 year maximum sentence.

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Comments from a Wallin & Klarich Criminal Defense Attorney

There are several grounds that give law enforcement authority to arrest for a misdemeanor offense. Both statute and common law give authority to arrest for a misdemeanor committed in the officer’s presence.

Some of the ground for misdemeanor arrests include:

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When a person is charged with a crime, the first formal legal process is the arraignment. The arraignment is a hearing before a judge where several important things occur. If a person is in custody, the arraignment must occur within two to three days. Otherwise, arraignment is usually set for a date several weeks in the future.

There are several purposes of an arraignment. First, the defendant is formally read the charges he or she is facing. Next, the defendant is informed of his or her rights. For misdemeanor and felony crimes in California, these include a right to a jury trial, a right to present evidence, a right to confront adverse witnesses, and, if any jail time is a possibility, a right to an attorney. To be appointed a Public Defender, a defendant must meet certain income criteria. Depending on your income level and assets, the court may or may not decide that you qualify for the services of the Public Defender. If the court determines you do not qualify, generally you will be allowed to continue the arraignment in order to obtain a private attorney.

In a misdemeanor case, even if you do qualify for a Public Defender, it is often wise to obtain the services of a private attorney, because they may appear at the arraignment (and several other proceedings) without your presence. A great benefit of retaining private counsel is the simple fact that you do not have to miss work and spend all morning in a courtroom waiting to be called. This is true in some proceedings in felony cases as well, although courts vary in their requirements for the presence of the defendant.

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An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney May Be Able to Obtain a Reduction of Your Felony Conviction to a Misdemeanor

A court may hear a petition to reduce certain felony offenses in California to a misdemeanor at any time following the suspension of judgment and granting of probation. In J.M. Meyer v. Superior Court (1966) 247 Cal. App.2d 133, 140, the court noted: “the word ‘thereafter’ in Penal Code Section 17 is not followed by a time limit, nor is it by express terms restricted to the probationary period.

Moreover, in conferring upon the court the power to declare an offense to be a misdemeanor after it has suspended imposition of judgment or sentence, the Legislature evidently intended to enable the court to reward a convicted defendant who demonstrates by his conduct that he is rehabilitated.

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Which Prior Convictions Will Disqualify Me For Drug Diversion Under Proposition 36 or Penal Code 1000?

Prior convictions for California drug offenses, even drug sales, will not necessarily disqualify a defendant under Proposition 36. The only prior conviction that excludes a defendant under Prop 36 is one for a serious or violent felony listed in Penal Code 667.5(c) or Penal Code1192.7. However, even this exclusion can be avoided if the defendant has remained free of all drug possession offenses for 5 years or more.

Defendants who are charged with other non-drug offenses are not eligible for drug diversion under Penal Code 1000. Conversely, under Proposition 36, eligibility turns on the offenses of which the defendant is convicted, regardless of what the defendant is charged with.

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How Can I Get My Misdemeanor Charges Dismissed? Why an Experienced Law Firm Can Help Keep Your Record Clean.

When you are charged with a misdemeanor offense in California, it is important to get the best legal advice so that every alternative is explored in getting your case resolved. It is extremely important to hire an experienced law firm that can explore all possible remedies and options to get your charges reduced or dropped completely.

One of those options in a misdemeanor case is to obtain a civil compromise under California Penal Code sections 1377 and 1388. Under those California Penal Code sections, if the injured person, or victim, comes before the court and acknowledges that he has received satisfaction for the injury, the court can discharge the defendant and order that all proceedings be stayed or halted. This means that your case could be dropped and the misdemeanor case would not appear on your record.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.