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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Criminal: Criminal Case Types: Misdemeanor
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Misdemeanor Cases

Examples of charges

Types of sentences imposed

  • Probation
  • Court ordered programs
  • County jail term of one year or less
  • Base fine for most charges of $1000 (not including fees and assessments) (There are some exceptions - spousal abuse can carry a maximum $6,000 fine)

Misdemeanor processing generally includes:

  • An arrest is made
  • Defendant is taken to jail where
    • No charges are filed and the defendant is released
      For further information, contact the prosecuting agency
    • Defendant posts bail and is released
    • Defendant is released on his/her own recognizance with date for future hearing
    • Defendant remains in custody until court hearing (arraignment)

Arraignment - the defendant is:

  • Informed of the charges
  • Advised of his or her constitutional rights
  • Appointed an attorney, if he or she cannot afford one
  • A plea is entered:
    • Not Guilty - he or she did not commit the crime
    • Guilty - admits that he or she committed the crime
    • No Contest (Nolo Contendere) - the charge is not contested. Same effect as guilty plea
  • At the court hearing:
    • Bail is set and defendant is remanded to custody
    • Defendant is released on their own recognizance

Pretrial/Readiness Hearing

  • Discovery is exchanged between the prosecutor and defense attorney
  • Pretrial motions may be filed such as a motion to
    • Set aside complaint
    • Dismiss the case
    • Suppress evidence
  • Defendant's plea may be changed to
    • Guilty
    • No Contest


Jury Trial

  • A jury is selected
  • Opening statements are presented
  • Witnesses may testify
  • Evidence is presented
  • Closing statements are presented
  • Jury deliberates and delivers verdict to the court

Court Trial

  • Judge hears evidence and arguments

If the defendant is found guilty, the case may be

  • Continued for sentencing
  • Sentenced immediately

If the defendant is found not guilty:

  • Defendant is released

Appeal of conviction

  • The defendant may appeal a conviction to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court

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