Posted on August 3, 2016
How to Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor & Expungement in California
Reducing a felony to a misdemeanor and obtaining an expungement are governed under different California statutes. However, obtaining relief can be accomplished within a single hearing. Moreover, both remedies are filed within the same petition.
STEP 1: The first step before applying is determining whether the conviction sought to be reduced qualifies as a wobbler. A wobbler is a crime punishable as either a felony or misdemeanor. If the statute states that a conviction is punishable in either county jail or state prison, the crime is a wobbler. If the conviction is not a wobbler, then your only avenue is obtaining an expungement.
STEP 2: The second step is to determine your eligibility. Both remedies do not permit relief for those who served time in state prison. A person who served time in state prison must petition for a certificate of rehabilitation. However, if you were granted probation or served time in the county jail, you are eligible to file.
STEP 3: The third step is filing the petition with the court. The petition is called a “Petition for Dismissal” which will require marking the correct boxes. Failure to mark the correct boxes may result in the denial of your petition.
STEP 4: Once the appropriate documentation is properly completed, it then filed with the court and the prosecuting agency must be served with a copy. A party to the case cannot legally serve the prosecuting agency. Only an attorney or third party server. After serving the documents, a hearing will be held where the court will decide whether the petition should be granted.
Both remedies carry substantial benefits if achieved. Reduction to a misdemeanor will become a misdemeanor for all purposes carrying a potential restoration of firearm rights. Furthermore, they can truthfully state they have never been convicted of a felony. An expungement will increase someone’s chances of gaining employment in the private sector.
When seeking to expunge your record and/or reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, it’s recommended to retain an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to handle your petition. There are strict formalities that must followed that have not been discussed above. Failure to follow court rules and procedure will lead to the denial of your petition. In addition, there are proven methods attorneys pursue to increase the chances of getting relief granted. Furthermore, suffering from a probation violation may serve as a crucial factor the judge considers that may lead to the denial of your petition.
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation
To better your chances of obtaining an expungement and/or reducing a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, contact a reputable Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to schedule a free consultation. We offer affordable rates and payment plans for those seeking post-conviction services. Our office handles petitions all throughout southern California including, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Riverside counties. Give us a call and we can tell you over the telephone whether you have a strong chance of obtaining these remedies.