In California, certain crimes, known as "wobblers," can be charged as a
misdemeanor or a
felony. Common California wobbler crimes include:
Prosecutors have the choice of how to charge a wobbler but judges often
have the final say. For instance, if a prosecutor charges a wobbler as
a felony, the judge can reduce it to a misdemeanor at sentencing.
Additionally, there are a handful of crimes that are considered “wobblettes.”
These are crimes that “wobble” between a misdemeanor and a
Common California “wobblette” offenses include:
- Disturbing the peace
- Driving without a license
- Criminal trespass
- Exhibition of speed
- Failure to appear for a traffic violation
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
There is no standard based on California law to help prosecutors determine
which cases are eligible for wobblers. Rather, the prosecution has complete
discretion, but base their decision according to the Uniform Crime Charging
Standards published by the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA).
The CDAA recommends that prosecutors consider all of the following factors:
- The severity of the crime
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The defendant’s cooperation with police
- The defendant’s age
- The probability of becoming a repeat offender
- The strength of the prosecutor’s case
- If probation is possible
Most misdemeanors in California can be punished by up to six months in
jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Ventura County,
request a free criminal consultation with our
Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney at
Appel & Morse today.