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Can my felony charge be reduced to a misdemeanor in California?


A felony conviction can impact your life in a number of ways. With a felony on your record, you can hardly find a job or even rent a property. A felony on your record can also strip you of the right to certain privileges like owning a firearm or receiving a professional license.

However, there are instances when you can get your felony conviction revised to a misdemeanor in California. To do this, you must petition the court to expunge the felony from your record. This can come as a great relief when you are trying to get your life back on track after paying your debt to society.

Types of felonies that can be reduced to misdemeanors

Section 17 (b) of California’s Penal Code allows a person who has been convicted of a felony to petition for the reduction of the charge to a misdemeanor after receiving probation. Felonies that can be reduced to misdemeanors are also known as “wobbler” crimes and they include the following:

  • Grand theft
  • Burglary
  • Criminal threats

However, it is important to understand that straight felonies that can only be charged as felonies can never be reduced to misdemeanors.

Getting your felony reduced to a misdemeanor

To have your felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor, you must submit your request to the judge during the preliminary hearing. The judge may review the circumstances of your case and agree to reduce the charge upon entering a guilty plea or no contest.

If you are on probation at the time for a wobbler crime, you may also request the court to consider terminating the probation so it can reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. However, you must complete your probation and pay any applicable fines and restitution. Also, you must not be having any additional crime in your name.

Once your petition is with the judge, they will take into account a number of factors such as the specific facts of your case, your conduct during the probation and your criminal history before deciding whether to reduce your charge or not.

A felony conviction on your record can impact your life in many ways. Fortunately, there are instances when you can have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor and restore certain rights and privileges.

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