In California, there are a number of offenses that can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history. These offenses are often referred to as "wobblers" in the state of California.
If, for example, the facts in your case are severe and you already have a criminal history, you will likely be charged with a felony. But, on the other hand, if this is your first offense and there are facts that might reduce some of your criminal culpability, prosecutors may reduce your charge to a misdemeanor.
There are a number of offenses in California that can be considered wobbler crimes, including (but not limited to):
- Breaking and entering
- Drug crimes (including possession, distribution and trafficking)
- Fraud or forgery
- Conspiracy to defraud
- Hate crime
- Possession of a weapon
- Grand theft
- Attempting to or receiving stolen property
- Vehicular manslaughter (only when other factors, aside from a driver, played a role in the fatal accident)
- Theft or burglary (particularly when the accused has a prior criminal record — and particularly if this record includes convictions of violent or felony crimes)
This is an incomplete list. To find out if your offense is considered a wobbler offense, contact a criminal attorney.
The difference of being charged with a misdemeanor and a felony is huge. Felony charges carry far more severe consequences that can haunt you for the rest of your life. If you are charged with a wobbler charge, having the right attorney to defend your case can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
As a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, California, Vitaly Sigal has experience defending criminal cases involving wobbler offenses. He is highly familiar with wobbler offenses and fights aggressively to get his clients charges reduced to misdemeanors.