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Trusted Defense For Complex Criminal Cases Felony Crimes

Orange County Felony Crimes Lawyer

Aggressive Legal Representation in Irvine & Throughout Southern California

Felonies are the most serious category of crimes, significantly more so than misdemeanors. In California and nationwide, felony charges are reserved for the most flagrant offenses based on their gravity and the substantial harm they can cause to others. 

The weight of felony charges lies not only in the potential for lengthy prison sentences, huge fines, and strict probation conditions but also in lasting social repercussions.

At Law Office of Diane C. Bass, our Orange County felony crimes attorney is well-versed in California’s felony laws as well as in federal felonies, such as those for drug trafficking, white collar crimes, and child pornography. Ms. Bass and her team bring exceptional knowledge, skills, and resources to individuals at all stages of the criminal process, from investigation by law enforcement to arrests, formal charges, bail hearings, and beyond. 

Discuss your case with our felony crimes attorney in Orange County in a one-hour consultation. Make an appointment by calling us at (949) 990-4195 or submit our online contact form.

Types of California Felonies: Straight vs. Wobblers

California has two significant categories of felony crimes: straight felonies and wobbler felonies. 

A "straight" felony refers to a crime that can only be prosecuted as a felony. Due to their nature or the circumstances surrounding them, these offenses are deemed too severe for lesser charges. The law does not provide a mechanism for these crimes to be downgraded to misdemeanors. 

Examples of straight felonies include:

  • First-degree murder: The intentional killing of another person with premeditation and deliberation.
  • Rape: Non-consensual sexual intercourse accomplished using threats, force, or fraud.
  • Armed robbery: Using a weapon to commit theft significantly increases the crime's severity.

A "wobbler" is a term used to describe a crime that can be charged and prosecuted either as a felony or a misdemeanor, based on the specifics of the case and the discretion of the prosecutor. This flexibility allows the legal system to account for the varying degrees of severity and circumstances involved in offenses.

Examples of wobblers include:

  • Burglary: Depending on the facts of the case, such as the type of property entered and whether it was inhabited, burglary can be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Domestic battery: The severity of the injury and the defendant's criminal history can influence whether this crime is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Fraud: Depending on the amount of money involved and the method used, certain fraud cases can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

Understanding the distinction between straight felonies and wobblers is crucial for grasping California's legal system’s flexibility in prosecuting crimes. 

Consequences of Felony Crime Convictions

Felony charges carry profound implications for defendants, including:

  • Extended imprisonment: Felonies often result in years, if not decades, of incarceration, with some charges leading to life sentences or the death penalty.
  • Significant financial penalties: Fines for felony convictions can cripple personal finances, sometimes amounting to millions of dollars.
  • Permanent criminal record: A felony conviction can tarnish one's record forever, affecting future employment, housing, and educational opportunities.

An example of the range of imprisonment for a California felony is first-degree burglary, which may result in a prison term of two, four, or six years.

The societal impact of a felony conviction goes beyond the legal penalties. Convicted felons may lose their right to vote, own firearms, serve on juries, or hold specific professional licenses. Many employers hesitate to hire someone with a felony record, limiting job opportunities. Felons often face social stigma, making reintegration into society and rebuilding personal relationships challenging.

California Sentencing Guidelines for Felonies

In California, felony sentences are generally divided into three categories based on the severity of the crime: low-term, mid-term, and high-term imprisonment. These terms are predetermined by law for each felony offense, providing an operational framework for judges when handing down sentences. 

The circumstances of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating factors influence the choice among these terms. When a felony law does not expressly state its terms of imprisonment, the crime is generally punishable under California Penal Code 1170(h) PC. Under this law, you can be sentenced to 16 months, two years, or three years in jail.

  • Low-term sentence: This term is typically reserved for those offenders deemed least culpable or when mitigating factors lessen the severity of the crime. It aims to punish the offender while also considering the potential for rehabilitation. 
  • Mid-term sentence: Often considered the standard sentencing term for a felony, this is applied when a crime does not have significant mitigating or aggravating circumstances. It reflects a balance between punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation.
  • High-term sentence: This is assigned in cases where the crime's severity or the presence of aggravating factors justifies the maximum allowable punishment. It is used for the most egregious offenses or when the defendant poses a significant threat to society.

Within these guidelines, California judges have the discretion to consider the specifics of each case, including the defendant's behavior, the impact on victims, and any prior convictions. 

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    "She will put your anxiety at ease and get you through the tangled system."
    Diane is the perfect mix of gentle understanding and fierce action you’ll need if you find yourself dealing with the OC court system.
    - Angie T.
    "Whatever you’re going through, I’m confident Diane will achieve the best outcome you could hope for."
    My first impression was that she’s very experienced, no-nonsense, knows the law, how the system works, and was very busy as a result. I quickly realized that she exceeded even those first impressions but also cared very much about my story, needs, an
    - Daniel B.
    "From the start of my case, she has been there for me."
    First of all, I would like to thank Diane for everything she has done for me. From the start of my case, she has been there for me. Only very few people were granted bond and she pulled it off in my case. I know for a fact not too many lawyers could have done that. I am on probation for three years.. while “the others” will not have the chance to raise their children and live their lives. I was headed to prison….I am free.. and for that, I am forever grateful.
    - John H.
    "Diane Bass is a phenomenal attorney."
    After meeting with Diane I felt immediate comfort, and I was sold on the fact that I could trust this amazing person with my life. Diane Bass was there for me every step of the way like no other attorney had ever been.
    - Ryan O.
    "She is not afraid to battle for you. With her, you will never be alone."
    Diane is a brilliant attorney. She listens carefully to your problems and clearly advises you with honesty. She was with me from the first day of my case and I have never been disappointed in any way.
    - Maria K.
    "I highly recommend Diane if you are dealing with legal troubles of your own."
    Since this being my first Federal offense, I had no idea what to expect. I was extremely anxious. After talking to Diane, I felt like she was the attorney I needed to help me get through these challenging times. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law
    - Adam P.
    "Diane’s work is second to none."

    Diane’s work is second to none. I was charged with felony DV, and after working with one firm in Irvine that did absolutely nothing, I did some hard research and found Diane. She worked quickly and diligently and got the case dismissed. I absolutely don’t foresee me needing a criminal lawyer down the road, but if I do, it’ll be Diane hands down!

    - Shadic A.
    "Diane is the most professional, thorough attorney I have ever met."
    Her expertise, connections, analysis, and comprehensive review of my situation were more than I could ever ask. I am extremely grateful and couldn't be happier with my choice!
    - Jeff R.

Why Choose Law Office of Diane C. Bass?

  • Top-Rated & Award-Winning Legal Representation
    We consistently deliver results that exceed expectations, earning the trust of clients and accolades from the legal community.
  • 25+ Years of Criminal Defense Legal Experience
    With over 25 years of criminal defense legal experience, we bring a wealth of seasoned insight and a proven track record of success to every case we handle.
  • Extensive Knowledge & Experience With Federal Cases
    With extensive knowledge and experience in federal cases, we offer comprehensive legal strategies tailored to the complexities of each situation.
  • An Outstanding Reputation Amongst Clients & Peers
    Our reputation among clients and peers alike reflects our unwavering dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for those we represent.
  • Featured in the Media
    Attorney Bass is frequently featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, LA Times, ESPN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more.
  • Track Record of Success
    With a track record of handling some of the most significant cases in the Central District of California, our firm brings unmatched experience to every client's defense.
  • Selected by Super Lawyers Since 2022
  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Top 100 Lawyers

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