Felonies are very serious crimes that risk far more severe penalties than misdemeanors do. In addition, you will lose certain rights if convicted of a felony, such as the right to vote and/or purchase a firearm.
Therefore, reducing a felony charge to a misdemeanor is in your best interests as this transition can help to mitigate undesirable consequences in the event of a conviction. Here are some ways to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor in Washington.
Through a plea deal
One way to get a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor is by accepting a plea deal offered by the prosecution. The prosecution may offer to charge you with a misdemeanor instead of the original felony in exchange for a guilty plea. With that said, it is advisable to understand the terms of a plea deal before signing on the dotted line. Plea deals are not always the best way out, even if your charges may be reduced.
Challenging the legal standards of the charge
A wide range of criminal offenses, known as wobblers, can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. If your lawyer can show that the prevailing facts of your case do not support a felony charge, the court may reduce your charge to a misdemeanor.
For example, a felony assault charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor if the injuries inflicted on the victim were not severe enough or did not meet the legal threshold. However, other external factors, such as your criminal past or efforts at rehabilitation, may come into play when the court assesses whether to reclassify a wobbler offense.
Going to trial
You may also go all the way to trial. Although this is a less predictable way of reducing your charges, you will have a chance to defend against the charges you’re facing during trial. The best-case scenario is an acquittal, although you may be found innocent of the felony offense but guilty of a lesser included misdemeanor charge.
In conclusion, getting a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor is possible, but it requires careful consideration and a strategic approach. The specifics of your case and your criminal past matter, alongside other legal technicalities that will impact your situation. As such, it is best to seek qualified counsel to determine the best course of action.