Reduction of a Felony Attorney in Long Beach, California
A felony conviction can mean the loss of your rights to own and possess arms, to serve on a jury, and sometimes even to vote. Worse, gainful employment will be virtually impossible to achieve, and professional licensing will prove just as inaccessible. Your entire future life will be under the cloud – and consequences – of your felony conviction.
However, there is a way to get a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, thus avoiding the severe consequences mentioned above. You can work with your attorney to file a Penal Code 17(b) motion, but there are restrictions that could disqualify you. Basically, you cannot have served time in state prison, and the crime for which you were convicted must have been a “wobbler” offense, one that could be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a felony and has completed – or nearly completed – probation in or around Long Beach, California, contact me at McCready Law Group. I am a former police officer who is familiar with the criminal justice system from inside and out – from arrest and prosecution to trial and criminal defense.
I am certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by California’s Board of Legal Specialization, and I have been representing those facing criminal charges for 14 years. I also proudly serve clients in Lakewood and Cypress Hill.
Getting a Felony Reduced to a Misdemeanor
In addition to filing a PC 17(b) motion after probation, California law also provides for other instances when a reduction to a misdemeanor can happen even before the trial begins. PC 17(b) lists three occasions at which the motion can be filed:
At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing
At sentencing during trial
When felony probation is completed (though you can sometimes file just prior to completion)
As for the preliminary hearing, PC 17(b) states: “When, at or before the preliminary examination or prior to filing an order pursuant to Section 872, the magistrate determines that the offense is a misdemeanor, in which event the case shall proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on a misdemeanor complaint.”
Several sections of PC 17(b) address a reduction during sentencing:
“When the court, upon committing the defendant to the Division of Juvenile Justice, designates the offense to be a misdemeanor.”
“After a judgment imposing a punishment other than imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment in a county jail under the provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170.” (The latter refers to felony sentencing to county jail under AB 109, which is considered the same as a state prison.)
“When the court grants probation to a defendant and at the time of granting probation, or on application of the defendant or probation officer thereafter, the court declares the offense to be a misdemeanor.”
The latter is the section that allows those who are assigned probation and/or non-AB 109 county jail time, but not state prison time, to file a PC 17(b) motion.
Benefits of a Reduction
The reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor carries with it the restoration of your rights that were stripped away because of the felony conviction (the right to own guns and the right to serve on a jury). More importantly, on a job application, you can honestly answer “no” to a question asking if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony.
This will open up job opportunities you would never see if you were obligated to answer “yes.” This new freedom also applies to loans that ask the same question and to housing agreements and public benefits in general. The ability to obtain professional licensing will also be restored.
What Are Wobbler Offenses?
Remember, to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor, the original offense must have been a wobbler, meaning it could be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. These crimes are diverse, but include some specific codes relating to burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threat, spousal battery, some sex crimes, and most California fraud charges.
Filing a PC 17(b) Motion
As detailed above, you can file a PC 17(b) motion at the time of your preliminary hearing or at the time of sentencing at your trial, or both.
You can also file a PC 17(b) motion if you were sentenced only to county jail time (but not under AB 109) and/or probation. When you successfully complete probation, you can then file for a reduction to a misdemeanor, but there are occasions when, nearing the end of probation, the motion can be submitted along with a possible motion for reduced probation time.
Considerations in the Granting of the Motion
Whenever you submit your motion, the judge will consider several factors, including:
The nature of the offense
The facts of the case
Your compliance with probation terms and conditions
Your criminal history
Your personal history
It’s essential that you do not abuse probation and adhere to every requirement and condition. You need to show behavior that will convince the court to reduce your conviction.
Trusted and Experienced Guidance
It’s important to contact me and retain my services as early as possible in the investigation, charging, and trial process. There are opportunities even before your hearing that I can argue for a reduction in the charge, and the prosecutor, hearing your side of the story, may agree. Even if that proves out of reach, we still have the preliminary hearing and the sentencing to file a motion for reduction to a misdemeanor.
Finally, of course, if you complete your probation under the stated terms and conditions, we can submit a PC 17(b) motion.
The sooner you and I can get going on your defense, the more our odds improve of being able to obtain a more favorable result.
Reduction of a Felony Attorney Serving Long Beach, California
If you’re arrested or called in for investigation, contact me immediately at McCready Law Group so I can advise and counsel you, while building up a solid defense strategy. For 14 years, McCready Law Group has proudly defended clients in criminal cases in and around Long Beach, Lakewood, and Cypress Hill, California.