Can I Reduce My Felony To A Misdemeanor?

April 6, 2015

In California, a number of crimes are categorized as “wobbler” offenses. Wobblers are crimes that can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. The prosecutor holds discretion on whether to charge someone with a felony or misdemeanor. When making that determination, Prosecutors generally look at one’s prior criminal history and/or the severity of the current charge. If you have been convicted of a felony wobbler offense, hope is not lost.

Pursuant to California Penal Code 17(b), the court may reduce a felony to a misdemeanor upon proper motion by the defendant. If the court grants the motion, a criminal defendant will be released from all penalties associated with a felony conviction and from that point on, you will no longer be a convicted felon. Reducing a felony to a misdemeanor has a substantial affect in restoring one’s rights, including, restoration of firearm rights, right to vote, and serve on a jury.

The court will request a reason “why” a defendant is seeking reduction. Common reasons include: 1) immigration; 2) child custody; 3) employment; 4) rental applications; 5) bank loans. Additionally, the factors the judge will consider prior to ruling on a reduction motion is the severity of the offense, whether the defendant has fully completed all of their probation time, whether the defendant violated probation, and the defendant’s prior criminal record.

When an attorney submits a motion to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, generally a motion to expunge the conviction is conjointly filed therewith. Therefore, one can obtain the benefits of reducing their felony to a misdemeanor, then having the misdemeanor expunged all in a single hearing.

Common Wobbler Offenses

•    Aggravated Battery
•    Assault with a Deadly Weapon
•    Battery against a Police Officer
•    Carrying a Loaded Firearm
•    Child Abandonment
•    Child Endangerment
•    Child Pornography
•    Criminal Threats
•    DUI Causing Injury
•    Embezzlement
•    Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
•    Forgery
•    Grand Theft
•    Receiving Stolen Property
•    Resisting an Executive Officer
•    Sexual Battery

Wobbler Example

Dan was arrested and convicted for felony assault with a deadly weapon. The judge sentenced him to 9 months in county jail, 3 years probation, and 52 weeks worth of anger management. Dan completed all his required orders from the judge. After his probation expired, Dan hired an attorney to file a motion to reduce his felony to a misdemeanor. Because Dan has no prior criminal record and completed his sentence with no probation violations, the judge will likely grant his motion. In that instance, Dan will no longer be a convicted felon.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

For more information, or if you are seeking to reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor contact an experienced Newport Beach criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation. Our office handles post-conviction relief in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Deigo, and Ventura counties.

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