Under Penal Code 17(b) PC, felony reductions to misdemeanors are available defendants
- are convicted of “wobbler” crimes as felonies, and
- are sentenced to and complete felony probation for the offense.
In California, it is required that both of these elements be satisfied in order to reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor. If you were convicted of an offense that is considered a “wobbler” offense but served time in state prison, you are ineligible for relief under Penal Code 17(b).
What is Penal Code § 17?
(a)A felony is a crime which is punishable with death or by imprisonment in the state prison. Every other crime or public offense is a misdemeanor except those offenses that are classified as infractions.
(b)When a crime is punishable, in the discretion of the court, by imprisonment in the state prison or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail, it is a misdemeanor for all purposes under the following circumstances:
(1)After a judgment imposing a punishment other than imprisonment in the state prison.
(2)When the court, upon committing the defendant to the Youth Authority, designates the offense to be a misdemeanor.
(3)When the court grants probation to a defendant without imposition of sentence and at the time of granting probation, or on application of the defendant or probation officer thereafter, the court declares the offense to be a misdemeanor.
(4)When the prosecuting attorney files in a court having jurisdiction over misdemeanor offenses a complaint specifying that the offense is a misdemeanor, unless the defendant at the time of his or her arraignment or plea objects to the offense being made a misdemeanor, in which event the complaint shall be amended to charge the felony and the case shall proceed on the felony complaint.
(5)When, at or before the preliminary examination or prior to filing an order pursuant to Section 872, the magistrate determines that the offense is a misdemeanor, in which event the case shall proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on a misdemeanor complaint.
(c)When a defendant is committed to the Youth Authority for a crime punishable, in the discretion of the court, by imprisonment in the state prison or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail, the offense shall, upon the discharge of the defendant from the Youth Authority, thereafter be deemed a misdemeanor for all purposes.
(d)A violation of any code section listed in Section 19.8 is an infraction subject to the procedures described in Sections 19.6 and 19.7 when:
(1)The prosecutor files a complaint charging the offense as an infraction unless the defendant, at the time he or she is arraigned, after being informed of his or her rights, elects to have the case proceed as a misdemeanor, or;
(2)The court, with the consent of the defendant, determines that the offense is an infraction in which event the case shall proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on an infraction complaint.
(e)Nothing in this section authorizes a judge to relieve a defendant of the duty to register as a sex offender pursuant to Section 290 if the defendant is charged with an offense for which registration as a sex offender is required pursuant to Section 290, and for which the trier of fact has found the defendant guilty.
Examples of Wobble Offenses
- Penal Code 422 PC California’s criminal threats
- Penal Code 273.5 PC California’s spousal battery
- Penal Code 459 PC California’s burglary
- Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery
- Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC California’s assault with a deadly weapon
- Penal Code 32 Accessory after the fact to a felony
- Penal Code 148.10 Resisting officer and causing death or serious bodily injury
- Penal Code 182(a)(1) Criminal conspiracy to commit felony
- Penal Code 186.22(a) Participation in criminal street gang activity
- Penal Code 182(a)(4) Conspiracy to cheat or defraud
- Penal Code 192(c)(3) Vehicular manslaughter, w/drugs or alcohol, but w/o gross neg
- Penal Code 192(c)(1) Vehicular manslaughter, w/o drugs or alcohol, but w/gross neg
- Penal Code 549 Soliciting fraudulent insurance claims
- Penal Code 487(1) Grand theft
What Are Your Chances That Court Will Reduce the Felony to a Misdemeanor?
The chance vary from case to case, generally the court considered a variety of factors when deciding whether to grant a PC 17(b) felony reduction motion. For instance
- Facts surrounding the case;
- The Nature of the offense;
- Defendant’s criminal history;
- Any violations during probation terms
- Personal history
Speak to a experienced Glendale criminal defense attorney and find out how you can reduce a felony to a misdemeanor under Penal Code 17(b) PC. Our criminal defense attorney provides free consultations. Our attorneys speak English, French, Spanish, Russian, Armenian, and Italian.