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Can Felonies be Reduced to Misdemeanors
Under California law, any crime that carries a prison sentence of more than one year is considered a felony offense. In addition to a potential state prison sentence and significant fines, a felony conviction carries other long-lasting penalties that can make it extremely difficult to secure housing or certain types of employment. Convicted felons are also stripped of their right to vote, hold public office, or own or possess a firearm. These harsh consequences make avoiding a felony conviction a top priority for criminal defendants in California. However, not all felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors. If you have been arrested or charged with a felony offense in San Diego, contact our award-winning criminal lawyers today at (619) 430-2355 for a free consultation. We can help you determine whether you can get your felony reduced to a misdemeanor.
- A felony conviction carries long-lasting penalties that can make it extremely difficult to secure housing or certain types of employment.
- Convicted felons are stripped of their right to vote, hold public office, or own or possess a firearm.
- Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to get your felony offense reduced to a misdemeanor.
- A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible for a reduced charge and how best to proceed.
Consequences of a Felony Charge
A felony offense is not something to take lightly. The consequences of a felony charge can be far-reaching and long-lasting, which is why we treat these cases with the utmost care and attention to detail. Fortunately, some felonies in California can be reduced to misdemeanors, which can help minimize the associated criminal penalties and collateral consequences.
What Felonies Can be Reduced to Misdemeanors?
There are two main categories of felony offenses in California. If you are charged with a felony offense, it could be a “straight” felony, which is an offense that can only be charged as a felony, or it could be a “wobbler,” which is an offense that can be charged as either a California felony or a California misdemeanor.
If you are arrested for a California wobbler like sexual battery (Penal Code 243.4), burglary (Penal Code 459), or assault with a deadly weapon (Penal Code 245(a)(1)), the decision to file the case as a misdemeanor or a felony is at the discretion of the prosecutor. However, your attorney may be able to make an argument in favor of a misdemeanor charge. Even if you are convicted on felony charges, if the offense is a wobbler, you may be able to file a petition to have the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
If you are arrested for a straight felony, like murder (Penal Code 187), rape (Penal Code 261), or kidnapping (Penal Code 207), a good defense attorney may be able to reach out to the prosecutor ahead of any charges and negotiate or provide the prosecutor with additional information that leads to a less serious offense that is either a wobbler or a misdemeanor. It is important to note that, unlike a wobbler, a straight felony conviction cannot later be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Four Ways to Reduce a Felony Charge
There are four main ways to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor in California, the details of which you can discuss with a qualified criminal defense attorney. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be able to get your charge reduced by:
- Pleading guilty to a lesser offense;
- Completing a pretrial diversion program;
- Completing felony probation; or
- Showing that the facts of the case do not support a felony charge.
The best way to determine whether you are eligible for a reduced charge is to consult a knowledgeable San Diego criminal lawyer who knows the ins and outs of California law. Sevens Legal is San Diego’s premier criminal defense firm and we can ascertain the best route to a possible reduced charge based on your specific situation.
Benefits of Getting a Reduction
The benefits of getting your felony reduced to a misdemeanor are significant. Perhaps the most important benefit is not having a felony conviction on your criminal record. Felonies are the most serious offenses in California, and convicted felons can face considerable obstacles when it comes to securing employment, housing, student loans, or professional licenses, among other personal and professional challenges.
If you are convicted of a felony offense in San Diego and you can get the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, you may be able to file a petition for expungement, which can help clean up your criminal record. Under California law, most misdemeanor convictions are eligible for expungement, so long as you are no longer on probation and are not facing any criminal charges. By expunging your criminal record, you can free yourself of nearly all of the penalties and consequences associated with a conviction.
Free San Diego Criminal Defense Consultation
Being arrested or charged with a crime can be a frightening experience, particularly if you are at risk for a felony conviction. Fortunately, there are certain situations in which a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor in California. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Sevens Legal have decades of experience defending clients against all manner of criminal charges and we can determine the best approach for your situation. We offer prospective clients a free legal consultation, which means you can discuss your case with our attorneys and review your options before making a decision about your legal representation.
How to Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys
We know how devastating a felony charge can be for criminal offenders and their loved ones. We have a knowledgeable California criminal defense team standing by, ready to help. Call our firm at (619) 430-2355 to set up a free legal consultation today.