Determining whether a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor isn’t an easy task. There isn’t always a simple yes or no answer for someone who is wondering if their felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor. Note that only felonies classified as “wobblers” can be reduced to misdemeanors.
A wobbler is a specific charge that can be filed as either a felony or misdemeanor. But, how will you know if your case is a wobbler or not? Note that any criminal code section that can be punished in a state prison or a county jail is a wobbler. This includes vehicle, penal, health and safety, and more. Some of the common examples of wobblers include PC 245, assault with a deadly weapon. Another is PC 487, grand theft. PC 459, second-degree burglary, is also common.
You should never be sentenced to any state prison if you want your felony charges to be reduced to misdemeanor charges. Let’s say you are sent to a state prison before or as result of violating probation. Your charge will remain a felony. Let’s say you are sent to a specific term in a state prison and have that sentence stayed. If you are then placed on a specific probation, it’s still a felony.
How to Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor
The process of reducing a felony to a misdemeanor isn’t automatic. This is true even when you qualify for it. In most cases, a lawyer may need to work into a plea agreement for the offense to be reduced to a misdemeanor. This can happen after a successful probation completion, completing half of the probation, rehab, and more. However, you should file a motion and have the court reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor. Keep in mind that a reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor isn’t a right as it is with expungement. In fact, reducing a felony to a misdemeanor is subject to the court’s discretion. Therefore, performing better on your probation and taking your time to file a motion is wise. Besides, everything you have done that puts you on the right side since the time you committed the offense is very important.
Benefits of Getting a Felony Reduced
The benefits of getting your felony charges reduced to misdemeanor charges include the following:
- It will restore your gun rights.
- You will be able to obtain professional licenses.
- Your job search and loan requests will not be negatively affected. o You will have the ability to serve on juries in the future. Once your felony charges are reduced, your charge will become a misdemeanor.
Assuming that you have no other felony charges, you can lawfully answer that you have never been convicted of a felony. The rights you may have lost or disabilities you incurred, as a result, will no longer apply. However, according to the recent changes in the Arizona law, the misdemeanor is still on your record. Therefore, it’s wise to request for expungement when your felony charge is reduced to a misdemeanor.