Understanding The Legal Process

What Are Wobbler Crimes?

by Eli Gregory

When you face criminal charges, the entire process can be long, costly, and scary, and you might not know what to expect. Of the many types of crimes people can commit and be charged with, wobbler crimes are not well known. If the crime you committed falls into this category, here are three things you should understand.

What Is a Wobbler Crime?

A wobbler crime is one that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and it is up to the court how the crime is pursued. Crimes that fall into this category include these:

  • Assault and battery
  • Burglary and theft
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI)

Crimes like these are not always considered felonies, nor are they always considered misdemeanors; they can go either way. These crimes wobble, which is why they are called wobbler crimes.

How Does the Court Handle Wobbler Crimes?

When a person is charged with a crime that is considered a wobbler crime, the prosecutor will decide whether to file it as a felony or a misdemeanor. In some cases, courts may offer plea bargains to defendants that commit wobbler crimes, and this allows a defendant a chance to get the charge lowered.

If the plea bargain is for a felony charge, the prosecutor may agree to drop it to a misdemeanor if the defendant pleads guilty. Plea bargains eliminate the need for trials, which can save the court time and money.

The court often takes into consideration the criminal record of a person before they are willing to reduce the charge. If a person has never been charged with a crime before and has a spotless criminal record, the court may have more leniency with the person.

Finally, the court will consider the nature of the charges when determining whether to file it as a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, if a person is charged with assault with a weapon, but it can't be proven that a weapon was present, the court may file the charge as a misdemeanor.

Why Does This Matter?

If you are facing charges for a crime in this category, you will need to hire a good criminal lawyer. Your lawyer will discuss the case with you and look for a way to get the charge reduced. Getting the charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor can be highly beneficial for your future.

While the punishments of felony crimes and misdemeanors can vary drastically, the punishments for misdemeanor crimes will always be lighter than those of felonies. Having a misdemeanor might not be a good thing for your record, but it will not be as bad as having a felony.

Facing criminal charges is not a pleasant experience, but it helps to better understand how the criminal law system works during this time. If you would like help with your case, contact a criminal lawyer today, such as one from the Bayley & Mangan Law Office.