A criminal conviction on a person's record can be detrimental and can negatively impact one's future in numerous ways.
There is a big distinction between a misdemeanor and a felony conviction. Misdemeanors are defined as a crime which is punishable by up to one year in jail. Felonies are defined as crimes that are punishable by prison sentences greater than one year. The consequences of a felony conviction can continue after the defendant has completed his or her sentence.
Failure to disclose a felony conviction to an employer can lead to loss of employment and the inability to receive unemployment benefits. Persons with felony convictions can lose professional licenses in their respective fields including but not limited to medicine, social work and teacher credentials.
In addition, persons with felony convictions lose their right to vote. They may also be ineligible to serve in the armed forces and are disqualified from serving on a jury, from holding public office, and owning a firearm.
In California, an individual charged with a felony may get their case reduced to a misdemeanor, thus avoiding some of the harshest consequences and punishments. Individuals seeking to reduce their record from a felony to a misdemeanor under the California Penal Code 17 (b), need to show compliance with probation terms, successful completion of programs if substance abuse was involved, or anger management issues.
Reducing a Felony to a Misdemeanor Under Penal Code 17 (b).
Defendants who have been convicted of a felony may have their offense or offenses reduced to a misdemeanor in certain circumstances, namely:
- If the felony conviction is a "wobbler." This is an offense that can be charged and punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Depending on the type of charge, these offenses typically carry a prescribed sentence of either time in a county jail or in a state prison. The prosecutor decides whether it is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
- The defendant must have been sentenced to probation. Time in state prison will leave an inmate ineligible for reduction.
- If an individual is convicted of other felonies in the same case, all charges must be eligible for reduction.
A person who satisfies all three criteria may petition for a reduction of charges either post-conviction, at the time of the felony sentencing or after being sentenced and completing felony probation.
If you are serving a term for a felony conviction, our
experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyers
can advise as to whether the charges are eligible for a reduction under Penal Code 17 (b). Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to obtain an early termination of probation to speed up the process.
The court will weigh several factors at the
PC 17(b) felony reduction
- Any previous convictions in a defendant's criminal history;
- The pertinent facts of the case;
- The defendant's compliance with the terms of probation;
- The nature of the criminal offense.
Keep in mind that the reduction of charges after a conviction is not the same as an expungement. There are certain circumstances where felonies are eligible for expungement.
When felonies are expunged, offenders may have difficulty restoring certain rights and privileges. For example, it can be extremely difficult to restore Second Amendment rights. Many defendants who are charged with a 'wobbler' seek a PC 17(b) felony reduction prior to filing a petition for an expungement.
If you have been charged with a felony, you should seek every means possible to get it removed from your record. It's not possible to reduce all felonies after a conviction but California law gives you the chance to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor in certain cases. Our Orange County criminal defense lawyers can advise as to your rights.
Call the Law Offices of Virginia Landry at 866.902.6880 or
visit our website.