You may face felony or misdemeanor charges in California. In some cases, you may work with a lawyer to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor-level offense. A lawyer could use a Penal Code 17(b) motion (or a motion to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor) to help you in this situation.
Basic Information about Penal Code 17(b) Motions
A Penal Code 17(b) motion requests the court system to change a felony charge into a misdemeanor. However, not all felony charges in California can be reduced in this way. A lawyer may only use a Penal Code 17(b) motion for you if:
- You are charged with a “wobbler”
- You do not spend any time in prison
Your lawyer may make a Penal Code 17(b) motion at multiple points throughout your case. Generally, these motions are filed after your preliminary hearing or even during sentencing if you are convicted of a felony. Your lawyer could file a motion after you are convicted and you have completed your probation.
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Penal Code 17(b) Motions and Wobblers
A Penal Code 17(b) motion may only work for you if you were charged with a wobbler. Wobblers are specific criminal charges in California. Prosecutors can charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony if you face wobbler charges.
There are many different charges that are considered wobblers in California. Examples of wobblers include:
- Penal Code §245(a)(1): Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Penal Code §273.5: Spousal Battery
- Penal Code §459: Burglary
Note that these are only examples of a few wobblers. A lawyer may review your case to see if you are facing a wobbler charge and will help you file a Penal Code 17(b) motion if applicable. This could reduce the severity of the penalties you face if convicted.
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Prison Time and Penal Code 17(b) Motions
A lawyer may not file a Penal Code 17(b) motion if you spent time in prison after a conviction for a felony in California. Any amount of prison time disqualifies you from reducing a felony to a misdemeanor. This means a lawyer may work hard to ensure you get probation instead of prison time after a conviction.
Your lawyer may also file a Penal Code 17(b) motion before you are convicted. Note that you will still face penalties if you are convicted of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction could result in time in jail, fines, and other penalties.
Result of a Successful Penal Code 17(b) Motion in California
You may wonder what to expect if a judge grants your Penal Code 17(b) motion. In this situation, you will face misdemeanor charges instead of a felony. However, there are a number of limitations on a Penal Code 17(b) motion.
You may still get a strike on your record for your conviction. Additionally, sex crime convictions may still require you to join California’s sex crime registry. Finally, the state of California should not consider you a felon after a successful Penal Code 17(b) motion. However, the federal government and some licensing agencies may still treat your charges as a felony.
Note that you may continue working to reduce your charges after a conviction in California. A lawyer may focus on getting your charges expunged completely in some cases. You may expunge either a misdemeanor or felony charge.
Expunging a charge removes it from your record. You may discuss all of your legal options if you were charged with a felony here in California. We can then focus on defending you before the court issues a conviction. We’re also ready to reduce your charges with a Penal Code 17(b) motion. Find out how we could help by contacting us now.
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Speak to a Lawyer About a Penal Code 17(b) Motion
We’re here to answer your questions about Penal Code 17(b) and motions to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group right now to get answers to your specific legal questions. It’s easy to contact us. Just call (310) 997-4688. You may also complete our online contact form.
Discuss your situation with a free consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles are here to help you now. Don’t wait to get help if you’re dealing with a felony charge.