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When can my felony be reduced to a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2023 | Firm News |

Having a felony on your record will likely affect you for the rest of your life. A felony conviction can prevent you from holding certain jobs, serving on a jury or in the armed forces and voting.

Additionally, a felony conviction can make you ineligible for federal assistance and cause you to lose any professional licenses.

In short, life is tough for felons. These are just some examples of the many disadvantages of being a felon, which is why so many convicted felons struggle with trying to put their lives back together after a conviction.

Wobbler crimes

California law allows you to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor in some cases. Only certain felonies are eligible for this reduction.

These felonies are sometimes referred to as “wobbler” crimes. Wobblers are crimes that can be charged and prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Reduction as part of a plea deal

Sometimes you may be able to negotiate this as part of your plea deal. The prosecutor can agree to convert your felony to a misdemeanor.

You can start these negotiations when you are first charged, but if you cannot reach a deal, you can renew your request at your preliminary hearing or even during sentencing.

Reduction through a petition

If your crime qualifies as a wobbler and the prosecutor does not agree to charge the crime as a misdemeanor, you can file a petition requesting a judge to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor.

When you file your petition, you must show that you have completed your probation and any other terms or conditions of your sentence. You will generally not be eligible for a reduction if your sentence included prison time.

Factors when considering a reduction

There are various factors considered when determining whether to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. Some of these include your age, criminal history, your cooperation and the chance you will commit future crimes.

Knowing if you qualify for a felony reduction, and the process involved, can be confusing and complex. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney is a good idea.