Wobbler Offense California

Penal Code section 17(b) authorizes the reduction of wobbler offenses--crimes that, in the trial court's discretion, may be sentenced alternatively as felonies or misdemeanors. (People v. Superior Court (Alvarez) (1997) 14 Cal. 4th 968, 974 [60 Cal. Rptr. 2d 93, 928 P.2d 1171].) It does not allow a court to reduce a straight felony to a misdemeanor. ( People v. Superior Court (Feinstein) (1994) 29 Cal. App. 4th 323, 330 [34 Cal. Rptr. 2d 503]; People v. Mendez (1991) 234 Cal. App. 3d 1773, 1779 [286 Cal. Rptr. 216].) The validity of the trial court's order declaring section 14014 a misdemeanor thus depends on whether that offense was a wobbler or a straight felony. Penal Code section 17 provides in pertinent part: "(a) a felony is a crime which is punishable with death or by imprisonment in the state prison. Every other crime or public offense is a misdemeanor except those offenses that are classified as infractions. (b) When a crime is punishable, in the discretion of the court, by imprisonment in the state prison or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail, it is a misdemeanor for all purposes under the following circumstances:. . (3) When the court grants probation to a defendant without imposition of sentence and at the time of granting probation . . . the court declares the offense to be a misdemeanor."