In California, a “wobbler” is a crime that can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony. While the prosecutor decides whether to charge a wobbler as either option, judges ultimately have final say.
A wobbler can be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor during various stages of the criminal justice process (i.e. arraignment, trial, and sentencing). Ultimately, it is the prosecutor's discretion that determines whether or not a felony is reduced to a misdemeanor.
The CDAA recommends that the prosecution consider the following factors:
- The seriousness of the criminal offense
- The defendant's prior criminal record
- The defendant's age
- The likelihood that the defendant will commit another crime
- The defendant's cooperation with law enforcement
- The strength of the prosecution's case
- Whether the defendant is eligible for probation
In order to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor, the defendant and their attorney must present evidence of mitigating circumstances in their favor. The more mitigating factors found in the case, the more lenient the judge will be come sentencing.
The mitigating factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- No previous criminal record
- Didn't play a significant role in the criminal offense
- Admitted to wrongdoing early in criminal process
- Used caution to avoid harming people or property
- Provided the victim with restitution
- Obtained a satisfactory report while on probation
Some of the most common wobbler offenses in California include the following:
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Grand theft
- Child endangerment
- Sexual battery
- Statutory rape
- Spousal battery
- Lewd acts with a minor
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Carrying a loaded firearm in public
Additionally, some crimes in California are considered “wobblettes.” Rather than a felony or a misdemeanor crime, it is a misdemeanor or an infraction.
Common “wobblette” offenses in the state include:
- Disturbing the peace
- Driving without a license
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Failure to appear for a traffic violation
- Criminal trespass
- Exhibition of speed
If you have been charged with a California wobbler offense in Ventura County, request a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorney at Wilfert Law P.C. today.