What is a Wobbler Offense? | Criminal Defense Lawyer

July 13, 2016

In California, some criminal charges are straight felonies and some are misdemeanors. However, there are certain charges which could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. A felony conviction carries a state prison sentence (subject PC 1170(h)) and a misdemeanor conviction carries up to 1 year in the county jail. The government holds discretion when electing to charge you with a felony or misdemeanor. Facts the government will consider are your prior criminal record, the planning and/or sophistication of your current offense, and the level of injury the alleged victim received.

An example of a wobbler offense is the charge: assault with a deadly weapon under PC 245(a)(1) which reads “Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in the county jail for not exceeding one year…” When reading a statute, if the statute is punishable by state prison or county jail, then the charge is a wobbler.

If the government elects to charge you with a felony, there are stages in criminal prosecution which will permit your lawyer to ask the court for reduction. Normally, your lawyer will ask for reduction to a misdemeanor after your preliminary hearing or after your conviction and you completed your probation period. If the judge grants your reduction motion, the charge is a misdemeanor for all purposes.

If you’ve been arrested, charged, or are under investigation for a wobbler offense, contact a Newport Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of John Rogers for a free confidential consultation.

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