Marin County Felony Defense Attorney

A Felony Charge is a Serious Legal Matter.

If you are facing a felony charge in a California court, you need to understand the nature of your situation. This includes the charge itself, any potential penalties, and legal defense options available to you.

Hiring a felony defense attorney should be the first item on your checklist. An experienced felony attorney will know how to protect your rights and fight for your interests.

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What is a Felony charge in California?

A felony charge is the most serious criminal accusation in the American court system. Felonies can encompass a wide range of criminal activities, including violent crimes, property crimes, drug offenses, and more.

If convicted, they typically result in severe penalties for the accused. These penalties are life-altering — and likely to include substantial prison time, hefty fines, and a criminal record.


Common Felony Crimes

If you are accused of one of these common felony crimes, you should consider hiring a defense attorney to represent your case. There are many potential felony crimes — this list does not include all of them:

  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Rape
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Degrees of Felonies

In California, felonies are categorized into three main degrees: first degree, second degree, and third degree.

First Degree

A first-degree felony is the most severe and usually involves crimes that are premeditated, planned, or considered exceptionally heinous.

Second Degree

Second-degree felonies are less severe than first-degree felonies but still carry significant penalties. These offenses are often considered crimes of passion or impulsive acts.

Third Degree

Third-degree felonies are generally less severe than the first two degrees and often involve crimes that are not premeditated or are less violent. 


What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

The key difference between a felony and a misdemeanor lies in the severity of the crime and the potential penalties that accompany it. Marin County provides their own definitions of a felony and misdemeanor on their website, which we sum up for your here:

A felony is a serious criminal charge reserved for acts considered highly dangerous or morally reprehensible. The consequences include longer prison sentences, large fines, and a permanent criminal record.

A misdemeanor is a less serious criminal charge, but still a serious matter. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by shorter sentences and smaller fines.

What are Wobbler Crimes in California?

Wobbler crimes are a unique aspect of California law that allows certain offenses to be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the prosecutor’s discretion.

The decision to charge a wobbler crime as a felony or a misdemeanor often depends on factors such as the defendant’s criminal history and the nature of the offense.

Common Wobbler Crimes

  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Grand Theft
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Possession
  • Burglary
  • Child Endangerment
  • Elder Abuse

California’s “Three Strikes” Law

The “Three Strikes” law in California is a controversial law that can lead to a longer sentence for individuals convicted of three felonies — regardless of the crime or its normal sentence. The law was designed to deter repeat offenders and keep them incarcerated for extended periods.

The end result of receiving “Three Strikes” can lead to significantly increased penalties for individuals with prior felony convictions.

The “Three Strikes” law operates as follows:
  1. First Strike: Upon a first felony conviction, it counts as the first “strike.”
  2. Second Strike: If a person with one prior strike is convicted of a new felony, the new felony counts as the second strike. This results in a 5 year sentence “enhancement”.
  3. Third Strike: If a person with two prior strikes is convicted of a new felony, the new felony counts as the third strike. This leads to a mandatory minimum of 25 years imprisonment, with a possibility for life imprisonment. 

The “Three Strikes” law carries a lot of implications for someone accused of a felony in California — namely the potential for -life sentences for repeat offenders.

This law underscores the importance of a defense against felony charges and the need to seek legal representation.


Prison Sentences and Penalties for Felonies in Marin County

The specific penalties for a felony conviction in Marin County will depend on a number of factors. Judges will typically assess the nature and circumstances of the crime and weigh it against your criminal history.

Prison sentences for felonies in California can range from a few years to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.

Some of the factors that can affect the length of a prison sentence include:

  • Whether it is a first, second, or third strike under the “Three Strikes” law.
  • Special circumstances, such as the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
  • The nature of the crime, such as violent crimes or sex offenses, often resulting in longer sentences.
  • Aggravating factors or prior convictions on the defendant’s record.

In addition to prison time, felony convictions may also result in substantial fines, mandatory parole or probation, restitution to victims, mandatory counseling or rehabilitation programs, and a lifelong criminal record that can affect future employment and housing prospects.

Understanding the Consequences of a Felony Conviction on Your Record

A felony conviction can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s life, affecting various aspects of their personal and professional life. Some of the consequences of a felony conviction include:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Civil Rights
  • Education
  • Immigration
  • Personal Relationships
  • Mental Health

Many employers conduct background checks, and having a felony on your record can limit your job opportunities.

Landlords often conduct background checks on potential tenants, and a felony conviction can make it challenging to secure suitable housing.

The stress and stigma associated with a felony conviction can impact mental health and well-being.

The list goes on and on.


Marin County Court

Defendants in Marin County should familiarize themselves with the unique aspects of their local court system. 

Court Appearances

It is important to understand the various court appearances and proceedings that may be involved in your case. A felony case typically follows a series of stages, each with its own purpose and procedures.


The arraignment is usually the first court appearance. During an arraignment, a defendant is formally informed of the charges against them, and they are given an opportunity to enter a plea.

The three common pleas are:

  1. Guilty: Admitting to the charges, which can lead to a conviction.
  2. Not Guilty: Denying the charges, which triggers the trial process.
  3. No Contest (Nolo Contendere): Not admitting guilt but not contesting the charges. This plea is treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.

At the arraignment, the court may also address bail, release conditions, and set future court dates.

Pretrial Hearings

Following the arraignment, there may be pretrial hearings. At this time, the prosecution and defense may engage in negotiations, present motions, and exchange evidence. These hearings aim to streamline the legal process before trial.


If a resolution cannot be reached through negotiation or dismissal, the case proceeds to trial. Felony trials involve multiple stages, including jury selection, opening statements, presentation of evidence, cross-examination, and closing arguments. The outcome of the trial is determined by the jury’s verdict.


If the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, a separate sentencing hearing is held. The court considers various factors, including the defendant’s criminal history and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The judge then determines the appropriate sentence.


If a defendant is convicted and believes that errors or injustices occurred during the trial or sentencing, they have the option to file an appeal. The appellate process allows for a review of the trial court’s decisions, with the goal of potentially overturning the conviction or securing a more favorable outcome.

Failure to Appear

Failing to appear in court when required can have severe consequences. If you miss a court date, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest, which means law enforcement can detain you and bring you before the court. Additionally, missing court appearances can negatively impact your case and result in additional charges for failure to appear.


Hire a Marin County Felony Defense Attorney Today

The legal process can be overwhelming and complex, and the consequences of a felony conviction are life-changing.

Your future, freedom, and reputation are at stake when facing felony charges, and a competent attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

A skilled attorney can provide you with a strong defense, protect your rights, and work to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

If you or a loved one is facing felony charges in Marin County, seek legal representation and safeguard your future and freedom.

Don’t let a Felony charge ruin your life. Contact Kevin Heaney today to start your felony defense. 


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Here’s what clients had to say about Kevin Heaney’s work
Kevin did an amazing job. He turned a nightmare into a really manageable situation. Without going into detail, I was facing some complications due to my record that would have made for a lengthy and grand problem. He was able to get it mitigated and really came away amazing, compared to where we started. Worth every penny and more. I feel that the work he did was more than commensurate for what he charged me. I will use him in the future and I would recommend him to family and friends.
Amazing honest and efficient lawyer! Kevin knows the ins and outs of the criminal system. He is the definitely the guy to have on your side. I won’t go into the details of the case, but my brother got involve in a domestic violent situation and we needed a good Marin lawyer that wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg to take his case. I was referred to Kevin by a friend of mine. I noticed on the initial phone consultation that he really wanted to help. We were able to work out a very reasonable price for the handling of the case, so we hired him. Kevin worked hard since day one, and he got my bro a very good deal with the DA. Our family is thankful to have hired him.
I contacted Kevin when I needed legal representation in a case which I felt required a high level of client service and representation. He was always right there for me when I needed him, whether it was showing up early for hearings, to the individualized attention I received at the courthouse, and having private meetings in his office anytime, as often as needed without any rescheduling. Kevin approached my case with care and made me feel comfortable as he took the time to thoroughly review my case history, explain my options to me, and was readily available and responsive when I had questions or just needed to talk to him. He treated my case with genuine care and attention it deserved and my case results certainly reflected his strong personal and professional attributes. I wouldn’t hesitate to contact Kevin again if the need arises.
I received the best possible outcome by giving my case to Kevin Heaney. He fought for me the entire way until he got my case dismissed! I have never come across a lawyer that cares so much about his clients or what happens to them. His rates are very affordable and he is open to negotiate the numbers. It is clear that he wants to help. Kevin knows his stuff and he is on top of it. He is also very personable, kept me in the loop of things throughout the process and always returned my calls and emails. I am grateful and lucky to have found Kevin. He is a true professional and knows how to get it done.
I wanted to thank you for the excellent job you did on getting Luis Correa’s case dismissed. You were very efficient and with minimal stress to Mr Correa. He had full confidence in you and you made it very easy for him to put this case in your hands. The fact that he only had to meet with you a few times and only able to provide you with minimal information he had on his case was a blessing that you were able to get the case dismissed! You know your stuff! Thank you once again and Mr Correa is very pleased with the outcome and can get on with his life without this case over him.