We know that living with a felony conviction can be very difficult. It can impact your ability to receive employment, professional licensing, housing, access to loans, and the ability to travel. If you have a felony conviction which did not include a state prison sentence, there are specific remedies available through the California Court system to reduce and/or dismiss those convictions. There is still relief available for a felony conviction involving a state prison sentenced but is the subject of a companion blog.
An individual is permitted to file for a reduction of felony convictions pursuant to Penal Code § 17 (b), commonly known as a 17b petition. In order to be eligible to file a 17b petition, you must meet three criteria: (1) the felony must be a “wobbler.” A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor; (2) an individual must not have been sentenced to state prison; and (3) if you were convicted of multiple felonies in the same case, all felonies must be eligible for a reduction.
If your felony conviction meets these criteria, you may be eligible to petition to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. Remember, the success of the petition is not guaranteed. The Court has the discretion to grant or deny your petition. You want a qualified and competent attorney to assist you with the preparation, filing, and presentation of your petition to the judge. Once your petition is filed, the Court will consider several factors:
- The nature and seriousness of the underlying offense,
- your compliance with the terms and condition of your probation,
- your criminal history, and
- your personal history.
If your petition is granted, your felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor. If you have a felony conviction you know this is a huge victory for you and your family. Once your felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, you can file a petition for expungement to dismiss the remaining criminal charge.
If you were convicted of a felony that was not a “wobbler”, relief is also available under Penal Code § 1203.4 for a felony for which you served jail time as a condition of probation.
Penal Code § 1203.4 provides that an individual can petition to set aside and dismiss a conviction if (1) you have fulfilled the terms and conditions of probation successfully and (2) you are not currently facing criminal charges, serving, and a sentence or be on probation. If you did not fulfill the terms and conditions, you may still be eligible to file a petition for expungement, however, you must explain why the court should exercise discretion and dismiss your case in the interests of justice.
At the Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson, we can help you determine your eligibility for a 17b felony reduction or a 1203.4 felony dismissal. We can help you draft, file, and serve the petitions. Our attorneys will go to court and advocate for you in an effort to persuade the Court to grant your petition for reduction or dismissal. Call us now so we can help you move past old criminal convictions, and move forward with your life.