In criminal law, there are many charges in the various codes that are known as “wobblers”. A wobbler is a statute that can be treated both as a felony or misdemeanor. The sentence for a wobbler will indicate that the section is punishable by jail or prison. Depending on the District Attorney’s discretion, a case can be filed either as a felony or misdemeanor. The difference to the defendant, can be enormous. A conviction for certain codes sections can have a significant impact for life.
An example of a wobbler is Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) assault with a deadly weapon other than firearm or assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury on a person, which is known as felony assault. This is also known as a strike if there is a weapon that was used in the assault. However, if a car was used as the weapon of assault and the defendant get convicted of this crime, the defendant along with any other potential consequences of the crime, will also lose his or her license to drive a motor vehicle for life.
Under California Vehicle Code section 13351.5;
(a) Upon receipt of a duly certified abstract of the record of any court showing that a person has been convicted of a felony for a violation of Section 245 of the Penal Code and that a vehicle was found by the court to constitute the deadly weapon or instrument used to commit that offense, the department immediately shall revoke the privilege of that person to drive a motor vehicle.
(b) The department shall not reinstate a privilege revoked under subdivision (a) under any circumstances.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), the department shall terminate any revocation order issued under this section on or after January 1, 1995, for a misdemeanor conviction of violating Section 245 of the Penal Code.
Even if the District Attorney decides to file the case as a felony, an experienced criminal defense attorney, may make a motion under Penal Code Section 17(b), before the outcome of the case has been decided, to reduce the charges to misdemeanors. However, after a conviction, if the defendant was given probation (instead of being sent to state prison), the defendant can apply to get your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. Most criminal court judges are inclined to reduce a prior felony conviction if the defendant has successfully completed probation.
If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime in California, contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or www.wklaw.com for a consultation of your case. We can help you.