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How to Reduce Your Felony to a Misdemeanor in California

If you have been convicted of a felony in California, you are probably facing many hurdles trying to rebuild your life. With a felony on your record, you can have difficulty finding a job or even a home. You can also lose the right to take advantage of certain privileges, such as receiving a professional license issued by the state and the right to own firearms. You can even lose your right to vote with a felony conviction on your record.


However, in some cases, it’s possible to get your felony offense reduced to a misdemeanor. To do this, you would have to petition the court to have the felony expunged from your record. It might be your only option when you are trying to live a normal life after you have paid your debt to society, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you do this.

Changing a Felony Conviction to a Misdemeanor

California’s Prop 47 passed in November 2014, a huge relief for thousands of individuals who have felonies on their records for past charges. Penal Code Section 17(b) PC allows a person convicted of a felony to potentially have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.


This is also known as a “wobbler” type of crime, which can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. To be able to request this, you are also required to have received probation.

What Crimes are Considered Wobblers?

There are a number of crimes that are considered wobblers as per the law. They include the following:


• Burglary

• Criminal threats

• Grand theft


It’s important to know that straight felonies, which are crimes that can only be charged as a felony, cannot be reduced to misdemeanors.

How Can a Felony Charged Be Reduced?

In order to get a felony charged reduced to a misdemeanor, you must attend a preliminary hearing during which you can request it of a judge. The judge may agree to reduce the charge after you plead guilty or no contest during the time of your sentencing.


If you are on probation at the time for a crime that falls under the wobbler category, you also have the option of petitioning the court, requesting it to terminate the probation early and reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. The only way to successfully achieve this is to complete your probation and pay all fines and restitution. Additionally, you must not have committed any additional crimes since.


When the judge determines whether to reduce the charge, they will consider a number of factors, including the specific facts of the case, your performance during probation, your criminal history and issues that might support reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor.


If the judge approves reducing the charge, the next step would be filing an expungement. The misdemeanor must first be put in place, however. This ensures that your rights would fully be restored.


If you have a felony conviction on your record that you wish to be reduced to a misdemeanor, you should speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney. Get in touch with Mark Raymond McDonald, Esq., A Law Corporation to begin putting the past behind you and working to rebuild your future.