Can You Get Felony Charges Reduced to a Misdemeanor?

 Posted on January 14, 2024 in Criminal Law

IL defense lawyerIn criminal cases, a prosecutor and defense attorney may negotiate a plea bargain. This allows the defendant’s charges to be reduced, possibly dropping charges and affording the offender a more lenient sentence. 

In many cases, it is possible to have a felony offense reduced to a misdemeanor. Our Arlington Heights, IL, felony defense attorney would like to discuss what felony offenses are eligible and what is involved in getting your sentence reduced.

Wobbler Crimes

Not all felony charges are eligible to be reduced to a misdemeanor charge. Only those felonies that are “wobbler” offenses have the potential for charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor. 

A “wobbler” offense is a crime that can be tried as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. Examples include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Drug possession
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Disorderly conduct

Plea Bargaining

Before your case even reaches trial, it may be resolved through a plea bargain. A plea bargain is a negotiation between your attorney and the prosecution in which both sides come to a concession. In a plea bargain, the defendant may plead guilty to a lesser charge, or multiple charges may be combined into one single charge.

Plea bargaining requires the defendant to enter a guilty plea. Taking a plea bargain does not automatically mean that your charges will be reduced. If you are charged with a felony offense, the district attorney may simply request that the judge be more lenient in your sentence. For example, if Illinois law states that your crime is punishable between 4-15 years in prison, the district attorney may recommend the judge consider sentencing you to a minimum of four years in jail.

Usually, a plea bargain needs court approval. Still, a judge is not required to agree to the terms of a plea bargain. 

Alternative Sentencing

There are other options to serve less time, including attending a diversion program. Cook County offers many diversion options, including a Drug Treatment Program for those defendants diagnosed with a substance abuse problem. 

Anyone charged with a violent crime is disqualified from the program. Defendants must have the court’s approval to participate. Defendants who successfully complete the program will serve significantly less time in prison. 

There are many forms of alternative sentencing, but commonly, a judge may allow an individual to be released on probation. A judge will consider a defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the offense, the individual’s character, and whether he or she is a threat to the community when making such a decision. 

The bottom line is that you want to avoid incarceration. A Rolling Meadows, IL, felony defense attorney can help you in achieving this goal. 

Consult with an Arlington Heights, IL, Felony Defense Attorney

The process of getting charges reduced is complicated and should not be attempted without an experienced Rolling Meadows, IL, felony defense attorney by your side. Do not hesitate to contact Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law today to schedule your free consultation. Our office can be reached online or by calling 847-253-3400.

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