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Reducing California Felony Convictions to Misdemeanors

If you're like many individuals who have a California felony conviction, you may fear that your criminal record will prevent you from obtaining jobs and other opportunities, but fortunately it may be possible to put your criminal past behind you and make a fresh start. In some cases it's possible to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor through a process known as post-conviction relief. An experienced attorney from the Writs and Appeals Law Group at the Kavinoky Law Firm will thoroughly analyze your case to establish whether it may be possible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.

Post-conviction relief stems from a series of statues in the California penal code that allow individuals convicted of crimes to correct past mistakes. Under California Penal Code section 17(b), you can have a felony "wobbler" conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and then have the offense expunged.

All California criminal offenses are categorized as either misdemeanors or felonies, but some are both. "Wobblers" are criminal offenses that can be charged either way, although many prosecutors pursue them as felonies.

Misdemeanors are less-serious offenses and are punishable by relatively shorter stints in county jail, fines and probation. Felonies are punishable with prison time. Wobblers that are charged as felonies often carry less-serious repercussions than standard felonies - you may have received time in county jail and probation instead of prison and parole.

If you were convicted of a felony wobbler but received misdemeanor punishment, a motion can later be made under California Penal Code 17(b) to reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is not only far less serious than a felony conviction, but also may be expunged under California Penal Code section 1203.4. However, if you received state prison time for your felony conviction it cannot be reduced, and will likely require a Certificate of Rehabilitation and/or pardon.

In order to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, you must have been sentenced to probation rather than parole. A judge cannot discharge your non-wobbler felony conviction even if you didn't serve time in prison.

After your felony conviction has been reduced to a misdemeanor, it will be treated as a misdemeanor for "all purposes." For example, many job applications require disclose of any and all felonies. A prior felony that was reduced under Penal Code 17(b) would count as misdemeanor, and you're not required to reveal it. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

It's most efficient to seek to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor under Penal Code 17(b) before-or while- seeking an expungement. The Writs and Appeals Law Group at the Kavinoky Law Firm can help determine whether a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor, and can you get a fresh start. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

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Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal Direct Appeal
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas Writ of Habeas Corpus - State Court
Motions for a New Trial Writ of Habeas Corpus - Federal Court
Sentencing Memoranda Expungement
Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal Sentencing Memoranda
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas Direct Appeal
Motions for a New Trial Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus
Representation at Sentencing