REDUCE FELONY TO MISDEMEANOR
Under California law, you have the right to have your felony conviction expunged. If you plead guilty or no contest to a felony your life is not over. The first question we need to ask is can the felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor?
There are two requirements for a felony conviction in California to be reduced to a misdemeanor:
First, the charge you pled guilty to must be classified as a ‘wobbler’. Under California law, a wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Second, you must have been given a probationary sentence. Even if you served a year in county jail we can reduce your case to a misdemeanor. However, if probation was denied and you were sentenced to state prison, then you are not eligible for a reduction to a misdemeanor or an expungement. At this point, in order to get relief you must file for a certificate of rehabilitation and a pardon from the governor.
Our office will first see if your case falls under the ‘wobbler’ statute where it can be reduced to a misdemeanor.
The process takes several steps. We research your case and follow up with any additional information we need to file your motion.
In order to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor, it is necessary to bring a formal motion or petition to the Superior Court in the county where your conviction was entered. A formal motion is paperwork where we ask the court to reduce your case to a misdemeanor and we cite California case law. Our motion must be accompanied by a declaration from you stating that you have completed all the terms and conditions of your probation. Additionally, a proposed order for the court must also be prepared in the proper format. If you violated probation, we can still win your motion. The judge has the discretion to grant or deny the motion. We have reduced many cases from felonies to misdemeanors when the client violated a term or condition of probation.
After the necessary documents are prepared, the motion must then be filed with the court clerk. The clerk then sets a date for the hearing of the motion. A copy of the motion will be served on the district attorney and often on the probation office that you were convicted.
The district attorney and probation office will file an opposition to our motion. After we read the motion, if necessary, we will file a reply to their motion. Then the hearing will be calendared. We will appear at the hearing. You may or may not be required to be at the hearing. You have the right to go if you want.
At the hearing, the judge will consider all of the factors in the case, good and bad:
- The nature of the offense
- The facts and circumstance surrounding the commission of the crime
- If any victim(s) was hurt and whether money is owed to the victim
- How you complied with the terms and conditions of your probation
- Your work and educational background
- Any prior criminal record
The judge will make a decision whether or not you qualify for a reduction to a misdemeanor. If you completed all of the terms and conditions of your probation there is a high likelihood that the judge will grant your motion.
When the motion is granted, we will draft an order requiring the court to forward the updated information to the department of justice. The department of justice will then update your record.
From the day your motion is granted you can say that you were never convicted of a felony.
There are many benefits to reducing your felony to a misdemeanor:
- It can restore your right to carry a firearm.
- You can lawfully say you have never been convicted of a felony.
- You can obtain certain professional licenses. Some licensing agencies, like the NASD, require a felony to be reduced to a misdemeanor and be expunged from your record as a requirement before they will grant you a license to be a stockbroker.
- Your chances for employment are dramatically increased. Many employers’ insurance premiums exclude convicted felons.
- You can qualify for certain loans and government benefits.
The benefit of expungement to you is that you will be able to legally answer ‘No’, to direct questions asking if you’ve been convicted of a crime on employment applications.
There are 3 exceptions:
- In an application for peace officer or public office
- In an application for a state license
- Contracting with the California Lottery Commission
WE CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR FELONY TO A MISDEMEANOR. DON’T HESITATE – CALL US NOW!
Orange County Law Offices of Stull & Stull
Adam R. Stull, Esq.
23151 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Toll Free: 877-815-7421