Why would a misdemeanor be wobbled up to a felony? 7 Answers as of June 20, 2011

Was charged in California with misdemeanor drug possession, cited and released, but at arraignment, it wobbled up to a felony. Why would that happen? Why not charge me with a felony to extract bail from me instead of releasing me and then wobbling my charges up at arraignment?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Sometimes the DA will charge a drug possession as a felony to get the defendant to make a deal to a misdemeanor, and sometimes because of the amount or prior record of the defendant. Once its filed as a felony it can be reduced without a new filing. Once it is charged as a misdemeanor however to change it to a misdemeanor would require a new complaint.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
It is the DAs discretion whether to plead it as a felony or misdemeanor. Probably your record and the facts of the case. Dont worry why. Worry about what you face. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it. Go to trial if it can't be resolved with motions or a plea bargain. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict and jail you. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
Wobblers typically wobble down - the DA can change their mind how to file at any time. For more information, please see my website.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
During the time between your arrest and your arraignment the police forward their report to the DA's office and the case is reviewed - for the first time - by an attorney. As a result of that process, some cases are rejected and never filed. But, conversely, some cases are issued with greater charges than you were originally arrested for. This seems to be what happened to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
Robert Mortland
Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
The decision to charge you with a felony is left to the discretion of the DA. The police can arrest you for a misdemeanor but it is ultimately left to the da to decide what you are charged with.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    The misdemeanor was only a suggestion by the cops who arrested you. Once the DA has a chance to review the case, they can easily change their mind and decide thgat a felony is more suitable for your particular situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    California Criminal Defense Center
    California Criminal Defense Center | Ardalon Fakhimi
    There are several reasons this could happen. First, you were cited by a police officer, but later charged by a prosecutor who decided whether to file the case as a misdemeanor or a felony based on a variety of different factors including criminal history, seriousness of the conduct, etc... Often, when an offense is a wobbler, police officers will arrest an individual under felony charges and the prosecutor later decides to file the case as a misdemeanor. However, the opposite scenario may happen, as it did in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
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