What is a Wobbler Offense in Orange County, CA?In California, a “wobbler” offense is a crime that can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge. Hundreds of offenses fall under the wobbler category.

Examples of wobbler offenses in California include:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Grand theft
  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Embezzlement
  • Money Laundering
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Forgery
  • Stalking
  • Sexual battery
  • Statutory rape
  • Carrying a loaded firearm in public
  • Being an accessory to a crime
  • Tampering with a witness

Factors That Help Determine Which Way the Charges Wobble

In most cases, the prosecutor determines whether someone arrested on a wobbler offense should be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony crime. They make this decision based on several factors. These factors can include:

  • The severity of the crime
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • The defendant’s age
  • The likelihood of the defendant committing other crimes;
  • The defendant’s eligibility for probation
  • The defendant’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement
  • The strength of the prosecutor’s case

Judges can also decide whether to punish a wobbler as a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on the mitigating circumstances in a case, a judge may decide to punish a felony offense as a misdemeanor. Here are some of the mitigating circumstances that could cause a judge to reduce a defendant’s sentence.

  • The defendant was a first-time offender, a
  • The defendant admitted to and showed remorse for their crime,
  • The defendant played a minor role in the crime, or
  • The defendant attempted to avoid harming others.

Getting the Law to Wobble in Your Direction

There’s a big difference between the punishments for a misdemeanor conviction vs. a felony conviction. In California, a misdemeanor is a crime with a maximum punishment of up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1000 in fines. On the other hand, you could receive a jail term of one year to life, or even the death penalty if you’re convicted of a felony crime and/or forced to pay several thousand dollars in fines.

The best way to get the law to “wobble” in your favor is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your case. They’ll be able to examine the evidence against you and determine any weaknesses in the state’s case. Your lawyer will use these weaknesses to place doubt in the minds of jurors. They’ll also make the judge aware of all the mitigating factors in your case. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may be able to argue a felony charge down to a misdemeanor one, or even get the charges dismissed altogether.

Speak to an Experienced Orange County, CA Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Wobbler Offense

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Orange County, CA contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki without delay. A former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney, Jim knows the tactics the prosecution will use to get their conviction as well as the defense strategies to counter their charges. Jim’s skilled representation often results in reduced or even dropped charges for his clients.

The sooner you hire a lawyer the better your outcome is likely to be. Contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney.