While misdemeanor charges typically carry lighter penalties than felonies, a conviction can still affect your criminal record and future. Having a misdemeanor record can interfere with employment opportunities or your ability to obtain public housing. At Chew Law Offices, we take misdemeanor cases seriously, providing a vigorous defense and personalized attention to each client.

General Information:

Misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of a fine and less than one year in county jail. Punishments may include probation, community service, a short jail sentence or one served on weekends. Common misdemeanors include petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, vandalism, simple assault, drug possession, trespassing, disorderly conduct and reckless driving. Being convicted of a misdemeanor may affect your ability to hold certain professional licenses or obtain certain jobs.

Don’t Let A Misdemeanor Charge Become A Misdemeanor Life Problem

Mistakes, I’ve made a few. It’s a classic line from a great Frank Sinatra song we all know, and its message holds true through the ages—people make mistakes. We all make mistakes. No one wakes up, gets out of bed, and says to themselves, “today I shall commit a misdemeanor.” But the stress of life, pressures at work or home, financial pressures, emotions, the influence of alcohol or drugs, etc. can sometimes put us in a state in which judgment is clouded, and it is these times that mistakes are often made.

While the average American is a law-abiding citizen, we’re not perfect, and a momentary lapse in good judgment can sometimes lead to actions that are regrettable. However, no matter how much you may regret whatever action you took that led to your misdemeanor charge, what’s done is done, and you now must find a way out. But what if you didn’t commit any criminal act at all, and have been falsely accused? If you’re completely innocent and have been falsely accused then you’re probably even more upset about the charges, and rightfully so. You need a skilled San Francisco criminal defense attorney, and you need one right now.

But what is a misdemeanor charge? Simply defined, in California a misdemeanor is a crime in which the maximum sentence is up to, but not to exceed, one year in county jail, depending on the circumstances, judge, etc. A California misdemeanor is significantly more than an infraction but decidedly less serious than a California felony of course.

California misdemeanors are divided into two basic categories:


Misdemeanors that are punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000

Gross or Aggravated

Misdemeanors that are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, or more

In addition to the above, there is another special category known as “wobbler” offenses. A wobbler is a crime in which the case’s prosecutor has options in regard to charging. If the offense is designated as a wobbler then the prosecutor can charge it as a felony, misdemeanor, or even an infraction in some cases.

Common Misdemeanors In California

The list of possible misdemeanors in the state of California is a long one, and the chances are pretty high that you know someone who has, at some point in their life, been charged with one. Let’s consider some of the most common.


  • Drunk in Public
  • Drug Possession
  • Trespassing
  • Petty Theft
  • Indecent Exposure (the 1st offense)
  • Prostitution
  • Shoplifting


  • Domestic Battery
  • Driving on a Suspended License
  • Violation of a Restraining Order
  • DUI without Injury

What To Expect After A Misdemeanor Arrest

In California, there is a standard process that is typically followed, stages that occur in a usual order:

A) Arrest
When the charged defendant is taken into custody

B) Arraignment
This is the time in which the formal charging and plea process occurs

C) Bail Hearing
This is the court process through which a judge will determine whether the defendant shall be allowed to post bail and be released from jail for the term of her or his trial

D) Pretrial Phase
During this pretrial phase the defense and prosecution will be involved with discovery of evidence, as well as motions to dismiss or exclude evidence

E) Jury Trial or Bench Trial
The formal trial procedure

F) Appeal
An appeal is the process by which cases are reviewed, and through which parties may request a formal change to an official decision that was handed down

It is rare that an average misdemeanor case will go through all the aforementioned steps. Many times cases are dropped due to insufficient evidence or if there is an approved motion to suppress evidence. Other times the defense and prosecution reach a mutually beneficial agreement known as a plea bargain.

Take Charge Of Your Life!  Hire The Best San Francisco Criminal Defense Attorney

At The Law Offices of Jonah Chew in San Francisco, California, we take pride in our track record. We win cases. Every client who walks through our door is given the same quality attention that we would give our own family members. While we might not actually be related, we understand that your family is counting on us to get you out of a mess so you can return to them and continue your lives together. We take that job seriously, and for that reason we treat every person we work with like family. Let us work for you. We are your San Francisco criminal defense attorney.

If you are facing misdemeanor charges, we can help. Call Chew Law Offices at (415) 484-0906 or email us at info@chewlawoffices.com

We represent people throughout the Bay Area facing a variety of misdemeanor charges, including:

  • DWI/DUI drunk driving
  • Probation violations
  • Reckless and careless driving
  • Drug possession
  • Petty theft and shoplifting
  • Assault and battery
  • Bench Warrants
  • Property Crime


Police Officers Lie During Battery Trial

Case: Our client and his brother, two African American men in their early 20s, were charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest after white officers described an altercation at a San Francisco restaurant.

Results: During trial, jurors weighed testimony from both our clients and the police. The jury determined the officers lied about the incident, and cleared the brothers of all charges.

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