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How Do Prosecutors in Fresno Decide to File Charges?

Nov 29, 2018 by Mike McKneely in Criminal Defense
Justice Figurine in Front of Criminal Law Books

A criminal case in Fresno begins when a person is arrested, a prosecutor files charges, or a grand jury issues an indictment. Of the three, a likely scenario you could find yourself in is an arrest. After an arrest, a prosecutor will likely file official charges and attempt to prove that you are guilty of an offense.

Finding out you’re facing criminal charges can be daunting. If convicted, you face a myriad of potential statutory and collateral consequences, including incarceration, fines, driver’s license suspension, difficulty finding and maintaining employment, and more. As such, it’s important to have a criminal defense attorney on your side who will dedicate themselves to protecting your rights and proving your innocence.

With over 15 years of experience defending clients in criminal cases, Fresno defense attorney Michael McKneely knows very well what makes prosecutors in Fresno decide to file charges. A former prosecutor himself, attorney McKneely understands which factors play a role in whether the Fresno District Attorney (DA) or other prosecution agencies will pursue charges or drop a case.

To schedule a free and confidential case consultation with a Fresno criminal defense attorney, call 559-443-7442, or reach out via the online form.

What Crimes Can a Prosecutor Charge You With?

There are hundreds of crimes that you may be charged with in the state of California. In Fresno alone, you can be arrested by a number of agencies (including the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno Sheriff’s Office, the Fresno Police Department), and transported to jail to await arraignment. At this hearing, you will learn of the charges against you, be allowed or denied bail, and have a chance to plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere to the charges.

Prosecutors in Fresno can charge you with the following offenses:

  • A felony is a crime punishable by time in state prison and/or fines, or death, depending on the offense.
  • A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by time in jail, a fine, or both.
  • An infraction is a crime punishable by a fine.

What Felony Crimes Does the District Attorney Focus On?

Per information shared on their website, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is “one of the largest prosecuting agencies in California… [handling] more than 50,000 criminal cases a year in the County of Fresno.” The DA has set up separate divisions for the crimes it is most interested in pursuing, including:

Domestic Violence

Any physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse between current or former spouses, domestic partners, fiancé(e)s, co-habitants (also referred to as live-in romantic partners, someone with which you share a child, someone you are seriously dating or seriously dated in the past.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above is a criminal offense under California law. However, there are situations in which an officer can arrest you if your BAC is below the legal limit. These include if you’re underage, are a CDL driver, and if your ability to drive is impaired by any amount of alcohol so that your actions behind the wheel become unsafe.

Identity Theft

If you falsely impersonate another individual and use their identifying information to deprive them of money or property, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony under California Penal Code (PC) § 530.5.

Juvenile Delinquency

Any individual under the age of 18 can be found “delinquent,” as opposed to guilty, of a criminal offense. This means that had the teen been an adult when they committed an offense, their actions would be considered illegal.

Real Estate Fraud

Actions that Fresno prosecutors consider crimes include foreclosure fraud, rent skimming, recording forged deeds, home improvement fraud.

Sex Crimes

Charges for sexual offenses, including child sex abuse, rape, sexual assault and battery, and more can bring with them misdemeanor or felony-level charges.

Welfare Fraud

If you provide any false representations or do not disclose information that is used to obtain public government assistance, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Prosecutors in Fresno are more likely to file charges for cases they think they can win. The County must invest money and hours in preparing a case for trial. The best way to ensure charges are not filed against you is to have aggressive legal representation on your side.

Have Prosecutors in Fresno Contacted You About a Case? Contact Us Today for Help

As a former Deputy District Attorney in Fresno, Michael McKneely knows how prosecutors think. He saw how the system treats those charged with criminal offenses in California, and he is passionate about providing his clients with a strong defense. If you were arrested or charged with a crime in Fresno, contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. Call 559-443-7442, or reach out online to schedule a free evaluation of your case.

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