How to Reduce a Felony
Having a criminal record can make it difficult to achieve many goals such as finishing your education, being eligible for financial aid, or find desirable employment and housing. Expunging your offense from your criminal record may help to make you a desirable candidate. Unfortunately, not all felonies are eligible to be expunged. Fortunately, as per California Penal Code Section 17(7), you may be eligible to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. Once you reduce your conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor, you may become eligible for an expungement. Before getting a felony reduction and expungement, there are a few things you need to know about how to reduce your felony.
California Felony WobblersIf your felony was considered to be what is known as a "wobbler," then you may be eligible for a reduction. A wobbler is an offense that is up to the discretion of the judge to sentence as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have multiple felony charges, each charge needs to be eligible for reduction in order to have the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
To be eligible for a felony reduction, you cannot have served a prison sentence. If you were sentenced to county jail, as oppose to state prison, then you may be eligible for a reduction. Additionally, you must have completed probation, paid all fines owed to the court, and cannot be serving an additional sentence.
Reduce a Felony to a MisdemeanorBy reducing your felony to a misdemeanor, you will be able to legally say that you have not been convicted of a felony. In order to legally say that you were not convicted of an offense of any kind on applications for employment and housing, you must also expunge your misdemeanor. You can petition for an expungement either before or after your felony has been reduced. If you file for an expungement at the same time as you petition for the felony reduction, you usually have the option to file for the two services together. To look up information about your case, and for more information about your respective California courthouse, visit the following website, http://www.courts.ca.gov/...
First Steps in Felony ReductionThough you always have the option to file for a felony reduction on your own, it is highly advisable that you seek the representation of an attorney who is licensed by the California state bar and is well versed in California's reduction and expungement laws. The right attorney will be familiar with the felony reduction process, and will be familiar with the objections made by the District Attorney. As such, an expungement attorney will be prepared to present the necessary evidence to support your petition for your felony reduction and will be well equipped to represent you in court.
How Long Does a Felony Reduction Take?Reducing a felony to a misdemeanor may take three to five months, depending on the court, the number of counts in your case, and whether or not the District Attorney objects to your petition for reduction. Petitions are filed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the sooner you submit your petition to the court, the sooner your case will be heard. The filing fee for a felony reduction also varies depending on the courthouse and whether or not you file for a felony reduction in conjunction with filing the petition for the misdemeanor expungement.
In addition, you must file your petition for a felony reduction in the same California courthouse that oversaw your original case. That courthouse will have all of the files about your case, which can be accessed by calling the court clerk and providing them with necessary information such as your name, the approximate date for the court hearing, and the case number, if possible.