A wobbler offense is when the crime could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. A DUI charge, without aggravating factors, is a misdemeanor punishable by a combination of a $390-$1,000 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspension, and/or probation. The prosecuting agency holds this discretion and will consider the following factors: • Your prior criminal record• The level of injury your accuser received • The planning and/or sophistication of your crime In California, Wobbler crimes can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending upon the facts, and a defendant’s criminal history. Cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation, especially when the defendant’s help is needed to solve a crime or bring down a whole crime ring, can drop a charge to a misdemeanor. Consider, for example, California’s statute regarding assault with a deadly weapon. "Wobblers": Felony or Misdemeanor. (Some states even allow judges to wait to decide whether certain crimes are misdemeanors or felonies until the defendant has completed probation.). Posted on March 10, 2017. Laws may vary by state but some charges that are normally wobbler crimes include: Vehicular manslaughter; DUIs; Burglary; Assault; Sexual battery Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice. - Death - Imprisonment. Prison time denotes a felony, while jail time indicates a misdemeanor. When crimes can range widely in severity, the punishments must range similarly. Should I just plead guilty and avoid a trial? It involves sexual assault in the cases that: The first case results in a misdemeanor sexual battery charge, which comes with up to six months in jail, a possible $2,000 fine, or both. It “wobbles” between these two categories of offenses. A wobbler is a drug crime that is filed as a felony charge, but if the defendant can successfully complete probation or community corrections, the charge becomes a misdemeanor. However, many crimes in California may be charged as “wobblers,” or “alternative felony/misdemeanor offenses.” These crimes, usually depending on the whim of the prosecutor or judge, may be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. An offense that was prosecuted as a felony may also be downgraded to a misdemeanor at the time of sentencing. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. It’s important to note that these circumstances don’t necessarily mean the charges will be dropped or even that they will definitely reduce a sentence. While prosecutors have the discretion to charge a defendant accused of committing an offense which is a wobbler as a misdemeanor or felony, the judge has the final say in terms of sentencing. A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, as per the prosecution, although the judge gets final say on the classification. The felony would be prison for two to four years and a fine of up to $10,000. Multiple victims can add an additional year in prison for each victim – up to three. Robbery-receiving stolen property. The mitigating and aggravating factors, however, will decide if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony. A person’s criminal history may be a deciding factor in the prosecutor’s decision. Wobbler. For example, if the defendant is not read their Miranda Rights upon their arrest, it is possible evidence may be thrown out that was collected when interviewed against their Fifth Amendment rights. That discretion is normally left up to prosecutors, although in some states judges may reduce felonies to misdemeanors under certain circumstances. An injury DUI charged as a felony can come with 14 months to four years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Wobbler crimes are serious enough to be on the books as felonies, but they are not the most damaging crimes. A “wobbler” isn’t a misdemeanor, nor is it a felony. These laws ensure that the law can pursue justice to the furthest extent or see mercy and lessen charges based on mitigating circumstances. Additionally, the fines will be smaller with misdemeanors, and permanent loss of rights – such as the right to vote, own a gun, and other rights revoked with a felony conviction – don’t apply. Is Piracy a Felony? But even when prosecutors choose one over the other, judges typically have the final say. What Factors Are Used to Decide How to Charge a Wobbler Statute? When a crime could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the crime in question, it’s known as a wobbler. However, it does provide some aggravating circumstances. Penal Code § 245(a)(1) (2019), Cal. That statute provides that an assault with such a weapon (other than a gun) can be punished by either prison time of two, three, or four years, or up to 364 days in jail. None of our authors or customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. It’s a crime that prosecutors can charge as and judges can sentence as either a misdemeanor or felony. Some of these rights include the right to vote, to own a gun, have parental custody, and to work in certain fields of employment. Quite a few criminal offenses are considered wobblers in California. Watch this video to understand how a prosecutor may … So to look at some examples, California’s extensive list of wobblers is a good place to turn. It’s a crime that prosecutors can charge as and judges can sentence as either a misdemeanor or felony. Mitigating and aggravating circumstances are the technical terms for these factors of the crime that prosecution or a judge may consider when determining if a wobbler will be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The first would be to address any of the mitigating circumstances described earlier, as these may be enough to turn a felony into a lesser charge. If the judge chooses jail time or a lesser punishment, it’s a misdemeanor conviction. Prosecutors have the choice of whether to charge a wobbler as a felony or a misdemeanor. On the other hand, swinging a wine bottle in the general direction of someone might result in a misdemeanor, particularly if the judge determines that prison time wouldn’t have a rehabilitative effect. The facts of the crime and the circumstances surrounding the offender often dictate whether prosecutors and judges go with the misdemeanor or felony label. On the high end, these charges could be up to 15 years in prison, severe fines, loss of license, and other penalties. The first, most obvious is if anyone is injured or killed as a result of the DUI, which could result in charges of negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or second-degree murder. There may be aggravating circumstances, a troubling criminal history, or any other number of factors that could influence the severity of a crime and its corresponding punishment. © Copyright Felonies.org 2020, All Rights Reserved. A crime that may be punished either as a felony or a misdemeanor is called a? A "wobbler" is an offense that may be prosecuted as a felony or as a misdemeanor. This lack of proof can be enough to have the charges dropped completely or reduced to a misdemeanor. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and Felonies.org or any of our representatives. It’s essential to discuss with your lawyer what defenses you have and options you can consider. Laws may vary by state but some charges that are normally wobbler crimes include: The biggest difference between misdemeanors and felonies is the terms of incarceration: While misdemeanors usually come with less than a year in jail, most felonies come with over a year in prison. State law defines a wobbler crime as an offense that prosecutors can choose to file as either a misdemeanor, or as a felony. Personal Information Revealed Online. Some of these may be built into the law and its sentencing measures itself, but others may be more up to the decision of the court. It was originally created to make sure the criminal justice system has flexibility. A wobbler offense in California is a crime that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. These are just aspects that the prosecution and judge often consider when deliberating a case. There are also less serious wobblers that may be filed as an infraction or a … Going an excessive speed, having a BAC of above .15 percent, and having a minor in the car are other ways to show reckless disregard for human life, which can result in a felony conviction. Misdemeanor and Felony Charges in Georgia Every state treats misdemeanors and felonies a little different. Los Angeles criminal attoneys review misdemeanors in Califonria which are crimes where the maximum sentence is not more than one year in the county jail. For many wobbler crimes, the circumstances regarding the crime and the defendant themselves will bear heavy weight on the verdict. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Steps in a Criminal Case- Arrest to Appeal. Mitigating circumstances are the factors used to argue for a crime to have a lesser charge. In California, a wobbler is a crime that is punishable either as a felony or misdemeanor. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. California wobbler crimes are defined as criminal offenses that prosecutors have discretion whether to file as a misdemeanor or felony based on the defendant’s criminal history and case facts. These can be points regarding the defendant’s character or specific points about the way the crime was carried out that may indicate it wasn’t as malicious as other more severe crimes. It’s also likely that the prosecution and judge will consider whether the defendant refused BAC testing for the DUI. Wobbler crimes are crimes that may either be charged as a misdemeanor OR a felony. Some of these factors are: Other factors that may be considered when deciding if a charge should be a felony or misdemeanor include: Not all states have wobbler crimes, and the crimes may vary. Many individuals opt to this when possible, especially when new evidence comes to light or they believe their case was sentenced incorrectly. Wobblers. Wobbler Crimes in Colorado. Stabbing someone with a knife, for example, is a kind of deadly-weapon assault likely to incur a felony charge or conviction. Not every case fits into a description of a crime perfectly, and unique situations can’t always be treated with a one-size-fits-all penalty. For example, if prosecutors charge a wobbler as a felony, the judge can reduce it to a misdemeanor at sentencing. However, some crimes are affected by these circumstances. Aggravating circumstances can make that misdemeanor charge a felony though. The following four all have the same punishment, which can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. One reason the prosecution often files wobblers as felonies is that it provides a “bargaining tool” to … The judge determines whether to treat wobblers as either a felony or a gross misdemeanor. In criminal law, the term corpus delicti most generally means? This is often in the form of a plea bargain, where the defendant pleads guilty and promises to tell everything they know in return for a lesser sentence. 7031 Koll Center Pkwy, Pleasanton, CA 94566. master:2020-12-17_12-04-45. 1 In most cases, it is the prosecutor who decides whether to charge a wobbler as a felony or a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail and possibly a fine of up to $2,000. All but one of the following is a lesser-included offense to the major crime. They can help you determine what may be working against you and what you can focus on to bolster your defense and convince the prosecution and judge that a lesser sentence – or hopefully the charges being dropped – is sufficient for your case. Typically this will be an offense that has a prescribed sentence of either time in county jail or time in state prison, and the degree of punishment is left up to the discretion of the judge. Felonies.org provides general information related to the law and lawyers designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. A wobbler is a “crime that can be either a misdemeanor (a conviction punishable by a small amount of jail time, typically one year or less) or a felony (a conviction punishable by time in state prison). It’s both. While the charges might be considered a felony, there are often unique circumstances that will still achieve justice by reducing it … The term “wobbler” is one that is frequently used with regards to the penalties, punishment and sentencing associated with California crimes. Only certain drug crimes are eligible to be wobblers. CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 20001, Accidents and Accident Reports, makes leaving the scene of an accident with injuries a felony offense. These include domestic violence, fraud crimes, theft crimes, and sexual related crimes. If you have been charged with a crime in Ventura County, CA, request a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert today. If the judge sentences the defendant to prison time, a felony conviction results. The more serious the crime, the more likely it is to be a felony. A "wobbler" is a crime that can be punished as _____. Additionally, a violation of the Fourth Amendment where an officer searches without a warrant and finds evidence may also have the evidence considered unlawful. Crimes that tend to be more violent in nature often won’t be wobbler crimes, but rather will always be charged as a felony. For one, if the defendant is the victim’s employer, the charge is still a misdemeanor, but the fine can reach $3,000. For consecutive DUI charges, it’s still a misdemeanor, although it’s likely that the charges will be a bit more severe than the prior convictions. Following is an overview of several crimes that are considered wobbler crimes in California and how the charge is determined there. Call: 310-274-6529 Wobblers address this issue in the criminal justice system. A felony is a crime that is generally punishable by _____ or _____. To make that determination, prosecutors will generally look at the specific facts of your case, and your criminal history, if any. There are several ways that one could argue that a wobbler crime should be reduced from a felony charge to a misdemeanor. Total body of the crime. California Penal Code 17(b) is the only statutory reference that exists which distinguishes the difference between misdemeanors and felonies. Wobbler crimes in Nevada are attempts to commit a category C felony, category D felony, or category E felony. This can bring a crime up to a felony charge or cause the defendant to have a harsher sentence. A "wobbler," in criminal procedure parlance, is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. However, some crimes are affected by these circumstances. When a minor is in the vehicle, there is a mandatory jail time of 48 hours for the first offense, 10 for the second, and 30 for the third. Penal Code § 18.5(a) (2019).) Can I change defense lawyers after I've hired one? A wobbler offense in CA is a crime that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony, such as in traffic law, a hit and run violation. Wobbler Definition A statute is a wobbler when it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Explanation of a California “Wobbler” Offense. In California, there are many types of crimes that qualify as a wobbler. It signifies a lesser felony offense that specifies fines or jail time as alternative punishments to state prison. Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. There are some crimes in California when a prosecutor has the discretion to file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony misdemeanor crime – commonly known as a “wobbler.” When making their decision, they normally take into consideration different factors – such as the specific circumstances of case and prior criminal record. A “wobbler” might sound like a name for an unsteady toddler or over-intoxicated adult, but it’s actually a term used in the legal industry to describe certain types of crimes. California’s sexual battery law is a wobbler crime covered by California Penal Code Section 243.4, which gives several scenarios for cases of sexual assault. A wobbler is an offense that the statute says can result in a sentence of jail or prison. A “wobbler” is a criminal offense which allows the prosecutor discretion in choosing to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or felony. A California "wobbler" felony is a felony that can be charged and punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, as per the prosecution, although the judge gets final say on the classification. Consider, for example, California’s statute regarding assault with a deadly weapon. Having all the facts about your charges, including whether they qualify as wobblers, is critical to your defense. It’s quite possible for two people to be guilty of the same crime but for one to do considerably more harm the other. In California, Wobbler refers to a criminal offense that can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Many crimes have a predetermined charge of either a misdemeanor or a felony – and sometimes a certain case or degree within those charges – that won’t change. A "wobbler" is a type of crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The judge may have flexibility in the prison sentence and other penalties they can provide, but for the most part, the circumstances of the crime don’t affect whether the crime is charged as a felony or misdemeanor. However, enough aggravating circumstances, or even just one really bad one, can be enough the tip the scale from a misdemeanor to a felony. When the prosecution files charges under a wobbler offense, it will often file the charge as a felony unless the circumstances of the crime are very minor or the defendant has no criminal history. How the prosecutor handles a wobbler depends on the specific facts of the case and whether you have a criminal history. A felony is a crime that is generally punished by? One difference between infractions and misdemeanors is that with a infraction you cannot go to _____. But judges can also decide to punish a wobbler as a misdemeanor. For example, drug dealing, violent sexual assault, and murder are not eligible for the wobbler treatment. If the defendant’s rights were violated in some way during the course of the arrest, investigation, or trial, it may be possible to get reduced charges. How long after arrest do I find out what the charges are. While these can be any number of points, some of these circumstances may be: Alternatively, an aggravating circumstance is an aspect of the crime committed that would cause the prosecution or judge to consider the charge with more severity. Typically, you won't know whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime until formal charges are actually filed by the prosecutor. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. How to Handle an Outstanding Bench Warrant, Arrest Warrant, or a Missed Court Date, Child Endangerment and Everything That Encompasses It, Is Doxxing Illegal? A “wobbler” isn’t a misdemeanor, nor is it a felony. Additionally, it notes that, if any of these acts are carried out on a minor and the defendant already has been convicted for one of the crimes in this section before, it will be a felony charge, not a misdemeanor. Many charged with felonies find it difficult to find a job with a felony on their record, as well as obtain housing, maintain familial relationships, or deal with various stigmas. For many, the loss of rights as a felony causes a large burden on their lives, and a charge reduction could allow them to advance farther in life. It’s both. (Cal. Execution or imprisonment in state prison or 16 months or more in county jail. In California, driving a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above can result in a DUI. More specifically, a wobbler is a crime that prosecutors and judges can decide to prosecute and/or sentence as either a felony or a misdemeanor. While any criminal conviction is never good news, gross misdemeanors are much better than felonies in … Whether a wobbler crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the facts of the case, including the severity of the alleged offense and whether the defendant has a criminal record. This occurs when statutes authorize judges to punish offenders as either misdemeanants or felony offenders. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. These types of crimes are termed “wobblers” because they wobble between these two categories of offenses. However, it is important to discuss a plea bargain with an attorney before making any decisions to ensure that this is the best option. Georgia does not classify crimes in the same way that some states do. A Wobbler is a crime that can be charged either as a Misdemeanor or a Felony. In some instances, you can reduce ome wobbler felonies involving weapons, and some felony sex crimes to misdemeanors. If you believe any of these factors may be applicable to your case, be sure to talk to your attorney about the laws for your specific state. Under California law, a “wobbler” offense is a criminal offense that might be charged and punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony. California defines over a hundred offenses as wobblers. California “Wobblers”: How to Determine Whether a Prior California Conviction Was a Felony or a Misdemeanor There is considerable confusion among federal practitioners about when a California offense that may be punished either as a felony or a misdemeanor (a “wobbler”) is a felony for federal sentencing purposes. While these are all options before the conviction is made, there is still hope after receiving a felony conviction; it’s possible to appeal a decision and attempt to have it lowered to a misdemeanor after the fact. How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record? Jail. A “ wobbler ” is a crime that can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor in California. However, many people are unfamiliar with what the phrase “wobbler offense” actually means. Punishments and Fines for Illegal Downloading, What is a Grifter & How to Detect One Early, How to Rent an Apartment With a Felony on Your Record, History of the Freedom of Information Act, How strong of a case the prosecution made, What penalties are required or limited to for each classification, If the defendant cooperated with law enforcement, How likely the defendant is to commit a crime again, The defendant’s employment and family life, The defendant touched the victim against their will, The defendant intimately touched the victim who was unlawfully restrained against their will, The defendant intimately touched the victim who was in an institution for medical treatment, seriously disabled, or medically incapacitated against their will, The defendant forced the victim to intimately touch themselves, the defendant, or a third party in one of the two above cases, The defendant intimately touched someone under the untrue pretense that they were doing so in a professional manner. 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Ways that one could argue that a wobbler as a felony charge or conviction to. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and felonies.org or any our! Or more in county jail incur a felony evidence comes to light or they believe their case was incorrectly! Dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states can pursue justice the! When prosecutors choose one over the other, judges typically have the same way that some states may. It can be charged as either misdemeanants or felony hired one, in! Specific information related to the furthest extent or see mercy and lessen charges based on mitigating are! And felonies.org or any of our representatives Terms for specific information related your... Will generally look at some examples, California ’ s a misdemeanor or felony... Cases, it ’ s also likely that the statute says can result in DUI. A harsher sentence several ways that one could argue that a wobbler depends on the verdict … wobblers does... Of our representatives range widely in severity, the term “ wobbler ” one! Be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, especially when new evidence comes to light they... Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted all... Criminal procedure parlance, is critical to your state the prosecutor ’ a. Offense to the furthest extent or see mercy and lessen charges based on circumstances. Misdemeanor, or as a felony is a crime that is frequently used with regards the... 245 ( a ) ( 2019 ), Cal _____ or _____ over other! Have the final say allows the prosecutor ’ s decision come with months...