Major Felonies


Criminal sentencing varies depending on the type of crime and its severity. One of the main ways in which crimes are categorized is by designating them as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are lesser offenses that generally result in fines and / or a jail sentence. Examples include shoplifting, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and reckless driving. Felonies are serious offenses that are punished by years, decades, or life in state prison.


Felonies come in all shapes and sizes. Drug crimes such as manufacturing or trafficking can be felonies, as can violent crimes such as murder or manslaughter. Sentencing for most felonious offenses is provided in California Penal Code § 1170(h), which is a prison term of 16 months to 2 or 3 years. The court decides which of these sentence lengths the offender will face. Some offenses have their own sentencing guidelines, however, and could incur a prison term of five, nine, or more than nine years. For example, murder in the first or second degree will incur a penalty of 25 years to life in prison. Offenses such as these can be considered "major felonies." Other examples are as follows:

  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Felony assault
  • Grand theft auto


California is one of many states with a "three strikes law." Under Cal. Pen. Code § 667(e)(2), if a defendant is convicted of a subsequent felony after having already been convicted of two or more prior felony offenses, he or she could be sentenced to life in prison. This "three strikes, you're out" idea was intended to discourage repeat offenders. Some say the program has succeeded while others complain it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment and a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Serving Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, L.A. County, and Southern California

If you are convicted of a major felony, it could possibly contribute to a life sentence in the future. Don't let this happen, but obtain the help of a qualified Ventura County criminal defense attorney Ridley Defense has fought false charges for 13 years and could provide the criminal defense you need. Attorney Ridley has prior experience as a deputy district attorney responsible for determining whether or not a case had the proper evidence on which to file charges. With our knowledge and skill on your side, your charges could be reduced to a misdemeanor or dropped altogether. Contact us today to learn how our firm can help you!