PC17b – What is it and How Does it Affect Gun Rights?
Being arrested and convicted of any crime is very serious and can have significant collateral consequences. These problems can include difficulties getting a job, obtaining housing, and owning or possessing firearms. Felony (and sometimes misdemeanor) convictions preclude a person from possessing or owning a gun in California. In some cases, felony convictions can be reduced to misdemeanor convictions, allowing someone to reinstate their gun rights. So, what Is PC17b, and how does it affect gun rights?What is a PC17b Motion?
A PC17b motion is a petition on behalf of the defendant to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor. This can only take place if the felony that you were convicted of was a wobbler offense. A wobbler offense is one that could have been initially charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. It’s not possible to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor if it couldn’t have been charged as a misdemeanor to begin with. The judge typically looks at the following criteria when deciding whether to grant a 17b motion:
- The nature and circumstances surrounding the defendant’s conviction;
- The defendant’s attitude toward the conviction;
- The defendant’s behavior and attitude during the trial; and
- The defendant’s criminal history.
There’s no true formula for granting or denying this motion; it’s left up to the judge’s discretion. The decision should ultimately be in the interest of justice.When Can a 17b Motion Be Brought?
In California, you can bring a PC17b motion at the end of a preliminary hearing, at sentencing, or once you have successfully completed felony probation.Why a 17b Motion is so Important
There can be significant benefits to a 17b motion. While you would still have a misdemeanor conviction on your record even if your motion were successful, this is far better for you than having a felony conviction. If your felony conviction is changed to a misdemeanor, you may reap the following benefits:
- If an employer asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, you can say no.
- You may not lose professional privileges or licenses as a result of a misdemeanor conviction as opposed to a felony conviction (it depends on the circumstances and the profession).
- Restoring gun rights in some circumstances
For many people, one of the most significant consequences of being convicted of a felony in California is losing the right to own or possess a firearm. If you were convicted of a felony that strips you of these rights, and the charge is then reduced to a misdemeanor, you can restore your gun rights and be permitted to own or possess a gun in many circumstances. It’s also important to note that some misdemeanors preclude gun ownership and possession, so in order to ensure that your gun rights would be restored after a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor, it’s essential to talk to a lawyer about your case and your eligibility.
Once your felony conviction is reduced to a misdemeanor, it will appear as if you were convicted only of a misdemeanor. Therefore, most of the collateral consequences from a felony conviction will no longer apply. Some aspects of the felony conviction may remain: if your felony conviction was a strike, it will remain a strike even once your conviction is reduced to a misdemeanor. Similarly, if you were required to register as a sex offender as a result of your felony conviction, you will still be on the registry even if the charges are reduced.Contact Attorney William S. Kroger For a Fresh Start
Any conviction is severe and carries adverse consequences. However, felony convictions generally carry longer sentences and much more in the way of collateral consequences. We understand how difficult a felony conviction can make your life. Whether you’re having a hard time finding employment, renting a home, or you’re frustrated because you’re no longer permitted to own or possess a gun, we understand how serious the consequences are. If you find yourself in this position and think your case might meet the criteria for a 17b motion, Attorney William S. Kroger can help. He has been practicing criminal law for decades and has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases in California. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free, confidential consultation. Set up a meeting by calling 323-655-5700 or by messaging the office today.