Have you ever interviewed for a competitive job? Or applied for housing or a loan from the bank? Could you imagine how much more complicated and stressful these processes could have been if you had a felony conviction?
Having a felony on your record makes it much more difficult to navigate your life, which is why it’s crucial to take every measure possible to avoid it. Attorney Dod of Dod Law understands what’s at stake when you’re convicted of a felony offense in San Diego and he can help you learn your options for reducing your charge.
Why Reduce a Felony Conviction in San Diego?
There are many advantages to having a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor conviction, which is possible under certain circumstances in California. Generally, felonies are much more severe than misdemeanor crimes and thus carry harsher penalties.
Your felony conviction can affect you for the rest of your life in ways you might not anticipate. Consider working with an experienced criminal defense attorney to mitigate these effects.
Felons May Lose Some Civil Rights
As a felon, you can lose your right to vote, serve on a jury, and own a firearm. Having a felony conviction may also prevent you from traveling outside of the country, applying for public assistance and/or housing, and maintaining parental rights.
Job Applications that Disclose Felonies Take a Back Seat
The majority of convicted felons also have difficulty once again becoming productive members of society because of the dreaded “box” on job applications. Usually, you will need to disclose your felony conviction to a prospective employer. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that that employer will overlook your application in favor of someone with no criminal record. If you can erase a felony conviction or have it reduced, it may be possible to avoid disclosing your past when seeking employment.
It May Be More Difficult to Expunge Your Record
California is one of the few states which allows for the expungement of some felony convictions. However, your chances of having a misdemeanor conviction expunged are higher than for a felony conviction. With the right representation, it may be possible to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor.
Am I Eligible for a Felony Reduction?
You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for a felony reduction.
First, you must have been convicted of a wobbler offense — those offenses unique to California which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances and the defendant’s criminal record.
Next, you must have been sentenced to imprisonment in county jail as a condition of probation, or you must have been sentenced to felony probation. If you were sentenced to felony probation, you must have completed it.
Finally, if you were convicted of multiple offenses, each one must meet these criteria in order to be eligible for their reduction.
Examples of Wobbler Offenses in California
Wobblers may be prosecuted as misdemeanors or felonies, and it’s usually up to the prosecuting attorney to decide which charge is appropriate. Unlike many states, California has dozens of crimes that can be wobblers, including:
- Battery against a peace officer
- Criminal threats
- Grand theft
- Sexual battery
- Spousal battery
- Statutory rape
- Vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence
The decision whether to proceed with a misdemeanor or felony prosecution of a wobbler may rely on the following factors:
- The severity of the crime
- The defendant’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement
- Extenuating or aggravating circumstances
- The defendant’s criminal record
- The likelihood of gaining a conviction
When May I Seek a Reduction of a Felony Conviction?
A defendant with a felony conviction may seek a reduction of his or her conviction at various times throughout their case:
- At your preliminary hearing
- At your sentencing hearing
- Upon completing probation
- Before seeking expungement
The sooner you seek legal counsel, the sooner you may be able to request a reduction of your felony, and the better your chance may be of doing so successfully.
Turn to Dod Law for Quality Criminal Defense in San Diego
Whether you face a misdemeanor or felony conviction, your case is serious and deserves top representation. Attorney Dod of Dod Law helps people from all walks of life resolve all types of criminal cases throughout San Diego, and has more than 16 years of experience doing so. His experience includes more than 75 jury trials and more than 400 preliminary hearings. Call (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form for a free case review at any time.