FAQ #19: What Constitutes as a Felony?

The penal code, or the vehicle code, gives us directions as to what is a felony or what is a misdemeanor. However, the district attorney within those confines of the penal code or vehicle code ultimately has a discretion on how to file the case. In reviewing the case, the district attorney's office is going to look for a number of things. For example, how offensive is the behavior? How violent is the crime? How egregious is the conduct of the person being charged?

A felony charge carries more jail time -- that is the big difference for a felony charge. In addition, a felony charge means longer probationary periods and formal probationary periods where you have search and seizure terms and where the cops can just come and search you without probable cause or warrant. They can also prohibit you from hanging out with other people.

Whereas as a misdemeanor, the most jail time that you're facing is maybe up to a year in a county jail. It's important that when we take a case, we aim to get them away from the felony conviction because it is such a lifetime sentence in carrying that label with you.