How to Reduce Your Felony Conviction to a Misdemeanor under 17(b)
If you want to reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor AND get your conviction expunged, it is very easy to do both at the same time When you have your court hearing for your expungement, the judge will consider both requests—first your request to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, and then your request to have it expunged. If you meet all the requirements, usually the judge will grant both of your requests together. (For a list of the requirements for reducing a felony to a misdemeanor, see PG. 968. For expungement requirements, see PG. 960.)
There are two main steps to this process:
- File Your Petition for Dismissal:
- The Petition for Dismissal (form CR-180) that you must file to get your conviction expunged has a box to check if your conviction is also eligible to be reduced. When you are filling out your Petition for Dismissal, mark the box on question # 1 to show that the conviction is eligible for reduction under California Penal Code section 17(b). (For more information on getting and filling out form CR-180, see APPENDIX K, on PG. 1018.)
- File the petition in the county where you were convicted. The same petition now serves as both your request to have your conviction expunged AND your request to have it reduced to a misdemeanor. (For details on how to file a Petition for Dismissal, see APPENDIX K, on PG. 1018.)
- Go to Your Court Hearing: When you have your court hearing, the judge will usually consider both requests at the same hearing—first your request to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, and then your request to have it expunged. At the hearing, the judge will consider the following:
- The nature of the offense;
- The facts of the case;
- Whether you fulfilled the conditions of your probation;
- Your full criminal record and personal conduct record;
- Any objections from the district attorney.
Again, usually the judge will make a decision on both of your requests together.
As a Separate Petition:
If the judge does NOT reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor, or if your felony is eligible for reduction but not expungement, you may need to file a separate petition to get it reduced. Your petition will need to show the judge that your felony conviction meets all the requirements to be reduced to a misdemeanor (see PG. 968 for a list of these requirements), and explain why you deserve to have your conviction reduced. It will be entirely up to the judge to decide whether your conviction should be reduced. PLEASE NOTE: This is a formal court document, not just a form you fill out, so it is recommended that you ask a lawyer to help you.
Your petition will have of 3 parts:
- The Petition—This is your formal request to the court explaining that you are asking to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
- The Memorandum of Points and Authorities—This is where you state that your felony conviction meets all the requirements to be reduced to a misdemeanor under the law (California Penal Code section 17(b)(3)), and explain why you deserve to have your conviction reduced to a misdemeanor (based on the factors that the judge will consider, listed below).
- The Declaration—Here, you state all the important facts about your situation and swear that they are true. Your Declaration must include ANY and ALL of the facts that you have included in the Petition and Memorandum sections.
Factors the Judge May Consider:
When the judge decides whether or not to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, here are some of the things s/he will consider. You should emphasize these in your petition:
- The nature and circumstances of your offense (for example, how old you were at the time; your role in the offense; the specific details of the offense);
- Whether you have taken responsibility for your conviction and learned from it;
- Your attitude in court;
- Your efforts at rehabilitation;
- Your ability to successfully complete your parole;
- Your individual situation—why you deserve to have your conviction reduced to a misdemeanor (for example, your work, school, and/or family situation; your accomplishments since your conviction; how you have changed since your conviction; and why reducing your felony to a misdemeanor is necessary in order for you to succeed).
As we said, you should ask a lawyer to help you prepare your petition, however, we have included an example in this appendix for your reference.
People v. Superior Court (Alvarez), 14 Cal. 4th 968 (1997). ↑