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When is a felony reduction to a misdemeanor available?

A felony reduction to a misdemeanor is possible for most felonies.  California Penal Code (PC) 17(b) outlines when a felony reduction to a misdemanor is possible.  A felony is any charge that is punishable by imprisonment in state prison or county jail under a PC 1170(h) commitment.  A felony that can be reduced to a misdemeanor states that it is also punishable by imprisonment in county jail up to one year.  If the punishment for the crime does not indicate specifically that it is punishable by county jail up to one year, then it is non-reducible.  Most charges can still be expunged if there was no prison commit or a certificate of rehabilitation may be available if there was a prison commit.

Law enforcement cannot do a felony reduction to a misdemeanor, only the District Attorney (DA) or a Judge and only if it is reducible.  Both the Court and the DA have discretion to make eligible felonies misdemeanors.  The DA can file a misdemeanor after reviewing a case so that it enters the Court sytem as a misdemeanor, even if there was a felony arrest.  It is treated as a misdemanor for all purposes which means the maximium penalty is only up to one year county jail and $ 1000 fine.  A felony may also be reduced during plea bargaining before its resolved or there can be an agreement to reduce a felony to a misdemanor later during or after probation.  Even if the DA will not reduce a felony, a Judge has discretion to do it at the preliminary hearing, at sentencing, during or after probation.

There are a number of factors that go into to the decision to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor.  These factors vary with the crime, the stage of the proceedings and the defendant.  Once reduced, it is as if there never was a felony and you are even eligible to possess a firearm depending on the charge.  Contact Christoph Law Offices at 760-941-5720 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.  We have been providing the highest level of personal and professional representation at every stage of Criminal Proceedings for over 32 years across from Vista Courts.