Though less serious than a felony, a misdemeanor conviction in California can still result in a jail sentence of up to one year. Unlike many states, punishment for a misdemeanor conviction in California is determined on a crime-by-crime basis. Decisions regarding the statute of limitations are also made on a crime-by-crime basis. Where no specific sentencing statute exists, punishment can be up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
- Disturbing the peace
- Driving with a suspended driver’s license
- Petty theft
- Public drunkenness
Some crimes can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Referred to as “wobblers,” the criminal classification of these offenses depends on the circumstances concerning the crime and the existence of any prior criminal history.