A wobbler is a crime that the court may punish as a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge has flexible consequences so the court can consider other conditions. This legal flexibility allows for justice while accounting for extenuating circumstances.
The prosecution decides if a crime is a wobbler. They are also responsible for negotiating any types of plea bargains. However, certain crimes, like murder, can never be wobblers.
The court judge will then decide a sentence based on the crime charged. However, judges also can reduce the charge before sentencing the punishment. Likewise, your lawyer can motion for a felony reduction to a misdemeanor.
What’s a wobbler mean? How does it affect your case? There is a big difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. As the defendant, you want the lesser charge since it will have lesser consequences, like smaller fines and shorter jail sentences.
The court calls the country’s most serious crimes felonies. Felony convictions can mean lengthy jail and prison sentences, high fines, and permanent loss of rights.
Individuals sentenced to prison time usually go to high-security facilities. The degree of their felony will affect the minimum or maximum amount of time a court can sentence them.
According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Title 30 §923, sentencing for felonies is as follows:
- Felony of the first degree – more than ten years imprisonment
- Felony of the second degree – a fine between $5,000 and $25,000 and/or no more than ten years behind bars
- Felony of the third degree – a fine between $2,500 and $15,000 and/or no more than seven years imprisonment
A felony can also affect an individual after serving their sentence and paying a fine. Some of the most common ways a felony conviction affects someone include the following:
- Buying and having a firearm
- Traveling abroad
- Voting for elected officials
- Gaining employment in certain professions
- Participating in jury duty
- Receiving welfare and public housing
- Having parental rights
You will want your legal team to try to reduce your wobbler charge to a misdemeanor. Even if a prosecutor charges a felony, your criminal lawyer might be able to reduce it to a misdemeanor before sentencing.
A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is a less serious crime. Misdemeanor sentencing can involve jail time for less than a year, smaller fines, community service, or other court-ordered programs.
Individuals sentenced to jail time typically go to local county jails. Three classes of misdemeanors indicate the maximum jail time a judge can sentence a criminal. According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Title 30 §923, sentencing for misdemeanors is as follows:
- Misdemeanor of the first degree – a fine between $1,500 and $15,000 and/or no more than five years imprisonment
- Misdemeanor of the second degree – a fine between $500 and $5,000 and/or no more than two years imprisonment
- Misdemeanor of the third degree – a fine between $250 and $5,000 and/or no more than 90 days imprisonment
A misdemeanor can also be expunged from your criminal record. An expunged conviction is not accessible to the public. Pennsylvania will only expunge felonies if the person died three or more years ago or if the individual is at least 70 years old and has not received a new conviction within ten years of completing their sentence.
Your lawyer can fight to reduce your charge to a misdemeanor if the prosecutor initially charged you with a felony.
How to Reduce Your Wobbler Charge
If you are in Montgomery County, PA, and have a flexible charge, you might ask yourself, “What’s a wobbler mean?” It means that McKenzie Law Firm can help.
As your legal counsel, attorney David McKenzie will fight for the reduction of your charges. You may be more likely to have your wobbler charge reduced if you:
- Are a minor or someone younger than 18 years old
- Are a first-time offender
- Were acting in self-defense
The court may be lenient if it believes you are not likely to commit another crime, and you have cooperated with law enforcement and the prosecution. The court will also consider other legal factors, such as the severity of the crime, the strength of the prosecution’s case, and if you are eligible for probation.
Cases like driving under the influence often have evidence, like the results of a breathalyzer or a recording from a dashcam, that can strengthen the prosecutor’s case. Your attorney might negotiate a plea bargain that reduces or eliminates a charge in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Our team is very accessible through email, text, phone calls, and social media once you are a client. Whether your wobbler charge is criminal, a drug crime, a federal crime, or a traffic crime, contact McKenzie Law Firm at (610) 991-7219 with your questions and get a former prosecutor on your side.