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3 “Wobbler” Offenses and What They Could Mean for You

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Some crimes are clearly misdemeanors, while other more serious crimes fit squarely in the felony category. Seems straightforward enough, right? The thing is, some offenses are what is sometimes referred to as felony-misdemeanors, or “wobblers” because they can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. So what are some “wobbler” offenses?


The circumstances and facts of the case, as well as the criminal history of the accused, will all be taken into account when the decision is made regarding how to charge a “wobbler” offense. In the case of burglary, first-degree burglary charges are considered felony offenses. If the offense committed was second-degree commercial burglary, it’s considered a felony if the value of the items stolen meet or exceed $400. Anything less is more likely to be charged as a misdemeanor. Of course, if the accused has already been convicted of a theft crime, it’s more likely to be charged as a felony.

DUI Causing Injury

From the outset, a DUI causing injury seems pretty straightforward. California Vehicle Code Section 23153 labels the crime of causing injury while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as a felony. That puts you in serious hot water if you’re accused of such a crime. When you dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that things may not be quite so straightforward. If you were in fact intoxicated but didn’t break any traffic laws and the accident wasn’t caused because of your actions, but rather the actions of the other driver, you may face misdemeanor DUI charges instead. Of course, the number of people injured and the severity of the injuries can also impact the charges brought against you.

Spousal Battery

California takes domestic violence very seriously. This can put you in a scary situation if you find yourself being unfairly accused or if an argument got even just a little out of hand. The severity of any injuries suffered will play a major role in determining whether this is filed as a misdemeanor or felony. Slight or almost nonexistent injuries will likely result in a misdemeanor charge, while more serious injuries such as broken bones or cuts are usually filed as a felony. If there is any history of similar behavior in the past, that also increases the likelihood of the incident being filed as a felony offense. If you’ve been accused of committing a “wobbler” offense, it’s perfectly normal to be confused about what that means for you. It’s not always a clear-cut situation, and the details may be a bit muddy for you at times. It’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer if you find yourself in this situation. We can help you make sense of the accusations and the circumstances surrounding the event so you can mount a clear defense that will be appropriately suited to the case that’s being brought against you. Want to know who will be representing you? Meet Our Team and contact us any day, any time.

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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