Lawyers often talk of "exposure," which is the maximum sentence a defendant could get if he is convicted on all charges.
In this case, your husband is charged with felony evading (Vehicle Code 2800.2).
He is also charged with auto theft (Vehicle Code 10851) and receiving stolen property, specifically a vehicle (Penal Code 496d.) Because it sounds like these two offenses are based on the same conduct -- driving one stolen car -- the DA probably charged them "in the alternative," which is a fancy legal way of saying, "Let's throw everything we can at this guy and see what sticks." If that's the case, he could only get time for one of them, but not both.
All of these offenses carry a maximum sentence of three years... but, due to the way California sentencing works, he could only get three years on one charge, and an additional eight months on the others. If the two offenses above cancel each other out, the maximum exposure is three years, eight months. If they don't, his exposure is four years, four months.
These offenses are all "wobblers," which can be reduced to misdemeanors with a maximum of a year in jail. Even if your husband gets convicted of felonies, he might get probation -- again, with a maximum of a year in jail.
As my colleagues have mentioned, the outcome depends on many factors. His lawyer -- whether it's someone you hire or a court-apointed public defender -- will have all the facts and is in a better position to address specific questions.
If he is charged with felonies, he could be sent to state prison. I cannot tell for how long without having much more information. On the other hand, the case may be defensible, in which case he would get nothing. If he was convicted of something, he might be eligible for probation.
The bottom line is that you need to talk to that attorney to whom you referred. I sense that this might be perceived as serious since it is charged like a high speed chase in a stolen car that resulted in a crash. Of course, maybe this is all false or misinterpreted. But, either way, given the seriousness of the charges, talk to the attorney immediately.
I would agree with Mr. Sanger that we would need more information in order to answer your question. My experience is that judges tend to treat VC 2800.2 (reckless evading) charges very seriously. I have had more than one judge tell me that they feel a reckless evading is like a person shooting a gun down a street. The fact that your husband went to the hospital seems to indicate that it was a serious chase. In Contra Costa County, if your husband had no record, but was convicted of these charges, it would likely result in a significant jail sentence. If he has a prior record, then state prison is much more likely. I cannot answer for Sacramento County.
With these charges, your husband definitely needs to get a good attorney.
The questions always posed here on avvo.com ask what somebody is likely to get by way of a sentence.
There's so much more than just the charges. We can tell you what the maximum sentence is and if there are any mandatory minimums, but from there....
Every case is unique. A plea sentence (or a sentence after a conviction at trial) takes into account many factors:
The facts of the case. Were there aggravating factors in this particular case that make it worse than others of the same type? Were there facts that make it less serious than others? Did it exhibit a great risk of danger to the public or a hypothetical risk? Was there anyone harmed? If so, have they been made whole again through restitution, etc.?
Any prior record. The presence of any prior convictions - felonies or misdemeanors - matter greatly. I know that's one of the first things any DA or judge will want to know when evaluating a case - what is the defendant's record? If there are prior convictions, can they be explained away or is there documentation to put a better spin on them, rather than just the mere conviction?
Does the case resolve by way of a plea deal or did it go to trial? A defendant in any criminal case has an absolute constitutional right to have the prosecution prove the case against them beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. They cannot be punished for exercising that right, but they can be rewarded for pleading guilty and "acknowledging wrongdoing" at an early stage of the proceedings. That's where plea bargains come into things. That brings up the last factor...
What the defense attorney can work out on behalf of the defendant. There may be additional mitigating factors that need to be brought to everyone's attention to explain the conduct or minimize its significance. There may be legal motions that can be run to suppress evidence, statements or challenge charges.
So - what somebody's looking at versus what they're actually going to "get" can be two very different things. That's best left to discuss with the defense attorney.
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