Post-conviction Relief: Reduction of Felony to Misdemeanor (PC 17)
You may worry that your California felony conviction will follow you throughout your life, but that’s not necessarily the case. It is sometimes possible to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor through a process known as post-conviction relief. The skilled defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm will thoroughly evaluate your case to determine whether it may be possible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
Post-conviction relief is made possible by a series of statutes in the California Penal Code that allow individuals to distance themselves from their mistakes. California Penal Code 17(b) allows the reduction of felony “wobblers” to misdemeanors so that they can then be dismissed and expunged.
The California Penal Code distinguishes all crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies, and in some cases, both. “Wobblers” are offenses that can be charged either way. Misdemeanors are considered less serious, so these offenses generally include limited time in county jail, fines and probation. Felonies, on the other hand, include terms in prison. Felony wobblers are often punished less severely than standard felonies – the defendant may receive time in county jail and probation versus prison and parole. The basic difference is in the punishment that can be imposed.
If you were convicted of a California wobbler offense that was charged as a felony but carried misdemeanor punishment, a motion can later be made under California Penal Code 17(b) to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor not only reads better than a felony, but it is also eligible for expungement under Penal Code 1203.4. But when the offense is punishable only by state prison, it is not reducible, and will likely require a