A criminal action is the proceeding by which a person charged with a public offense is accused and brought to justice and punishment. A criminal action is prosecuted in the name of the people of the State of California, as a party, against the person charged with the offense.
A felony case is a criminal action in which the defendant is charged with violation of a felony. Misdemeanor or infraction violations may be included. The maximum punishment for a felony may be imprisonment in state prison or county jail, a fine, or both. In some cases, the death penalty may be imposed.
A misdemeanor case is a criminal action in which the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor and it may include an infraction charge. It does not include any felony violations. The maximum punishment for misdemeanor violations is not more than 6 months, a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.
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