In California law, a “wobbler crime” is a crime that can have a charge and sentence of either a misdemeanor or a felony. The judge has the right to decide whether to treat the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony. Many wobbler felonies have mandatory minimum sentences in state prison. Judges do not have the flexibility to give you a lighter sentence if the jury finds you guilty. The only way the judge can help you is to decide that the crime is actually a misdemeanor. If the jury says you are guilty, the worst sentence you can get is time in the county jail. When you try to expunge a wobbler conviction from your record, the judge will sometimes agree to reduce it to a misdemeanor on your record. A registered legal document assistant (LDA) can help you get your wobbler conviction expunged from your record or reduced to a misdemeanor.
Which Offenses are Wobblers?
Wobbler crimes are serious enough to be on the books as felonies, but they are not the most damaging crimes. For example, drug dealing, violent sexual assault, and murder are not eligible for the wobbler treatment. In some instances, you can reduce ome wobbler felonies involving weapons, and some felony sex crimes to misdemeanors. These are just a few examples of wobbler felonies according to California law:
- Bringing a deadly weapon into a courthouse or government office
- Attempting to dissuade a victim or witness from testifying
- Theft by a caretaker of a dependent adult
- Conspiracy to commit a felony
- Making criminal threats of violence
- Impersonation for fraud
You can find the complete list of wobbler felonies in California Penal Code 17(b).
How to Reduce Your Wobbler Conviction
If the court finds you guilty of a wobbler crime and the judge decides to charge and sentence you the crime as a felony, it is still possible to reduce it to a misdemeanor after the fact. The process for reducing a wobbler felony conviction on your record to a misdemeanor is very similar to the process of expunging the conviction from your record entirely. You must meet the eligibility criteria for expungement, such as having finished your sentence at least five years ago and not having any new convictions.
To get a felony conviction, wobbler or otherwise, expunged, you must file a PC 1203.4 petition. First, file a 17(b) petition to reduce the wobbler conviction to a misdemeanor. Then file a PC 1203.4 petition. It is possible to file them both at the same time. Hiring a lawyer to help with these petitions is an unnecessary expense. It is better and less expensive to have a registered LDA prepare the petitions for you.
Contact a People’s Choice About Expungement of Wobbler Convictions
A registered LDA can get felony convictions removed from your record by expungement or by reducing a wobbler conviction to a misdemeanor. A People’s Choice provides affordable LDA services for people who do not want a criminal record to stand in the way of their job prospects. Contact A People’s Choice about preparing a petition for expungement or reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor.
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