What Is Felony Reduction Under Penal Code 17(b)?
Being convicted of a felony can carry a significant stigma and prevent you from gaining employment and professional licenses. Penal Code 17(b) allows anyone convicted of a felony “wobbler” offense to petition the court to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Penal Code 17(b) has three requirements for a felony to be eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor:
1. The felony conviction must be what is known as a “wobbler.”
2. You must have been given probation and not sent to state prison. If you served any time in state prison you are not eligible to reduce your felony. County jail is not state prison.
3. If you were convicted of any other felonies in the same case, all felonies must be eligible for reduction or none of them are eligible.
A California felony “wobbler” offense is any offense that can be charged and sentenced as either a felony or misdemeanor the determination of which is up to the discretion of the district attorney and the judge during your original case.
If your felony is eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor, the judge will consider a Penal Code 17(b) petition to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. The judge will consider the following factors in his decision-making:
1. The nature and seriousness of the underlying offense.
2. Your overall compliance with your probation terms and conditions.
3. Your overall criminal history (i.e., are you a repeat offender or someone who just made an isolated mistake).
4. Your personal history (e.g., are you a productive member of society, etcetera).
If your felony is eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor most judges are willing to grant the reduction relief presuming a strong case for relief is made. Once your felony has been reduced to misdemeanor under Penal Code 17(b) your conviction will be treated as a misdemeanor for all extensive purposes, which means your civil liberties will be restored, including your California guns rights. Although a popular misperception exist that you lose your right to vote once convicted of a felony, this is false. You only lose your right to vote when you are actually incarcerated in state prison or on active parole. Otherwise you have the right to partake in elections.
I am also able to file a petition for expungement at the same time I file the felony reduction to misdemeanor petition, which allows the judge to rule on both petitions at the same time. Judges usually grant the felony reduction to misdemeanor and then grant the expungement petition, which then expunges the conviction that was just reduced to a misdemeanor. This process offers maximum relief. When you purchase my felony expungement service I will file the Penal Code 17(b) felony reduction petition for only $100 presuming your felony is eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor.
Penal Code 17(b) Felony Reduction to Misdemeanor and Restoration of Gun Rights
Any type of felony conviction permanently extinguishes your right to own a firearm. However, relief exists by filing a felony reduction to misdemeanor petition. If your felony is eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor under Penal Code 17(b), your gun rights will usually be fully restored.