What is a Petition Pursuant to Penal Code section 17(b)?


Penal Code section 17(b) provides a post-judgment method for defendants to petition for a reduction of qualifying felony offense convictions to misdemeanors.

An offense is eligible for a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor if it is a “wobbler” offense and punishment other than imprisonment in state prison was imposed. A “wobbler” offense is an offense that “in the trial court's discretion, may be sentenced alternately as felonies or misdemeanors--upon imposition of a punishment other than state prison (§ 17(b)(1)) or by declaration as a misdemeanor after a grant of probation (§ 17(b)(3)).” (People v. Superior Court (Alvarez) (1997) 14 Cal. 4th 968, 974.

Common wobbler offenses include:

· Cal. Penal Code § 245 (Assault w/ a Deadly Weapon)

· Cal. Penal Code § 273.5 (Domestic Violence)

· Cal. Penal Code § 487 (Grand Theft)

· Cal. Penal Code § 422 (Criminal Threats)

· Cal. Vehicle Code § 10851 (Vehicle Theft)

Generally, the petition to the court is supported by documentation that the defendant now lives a law-abiding life and the relief requested would be in the interests of justice. If granted, the offense would no longer be designated as a felony and would now be deemed a misdemeanor for all purposes.

After gaining the reduction to a misdemeanor, oftentimes, a defendant seeks to then dismiss the offense pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4.


Penal Code section 17(d)(2) allows defendants with a qualifying misdemeanor offense to petition for a reduction of the offense to an infraction.

An offense is eligible for a reduction from a misdemeanor to an infraction if it is listed in Penal Code section 19.8(a).

Common offenses listed in Penal Code section 19.8(a) include:

· Cal. Penal Code § 415 (Disturbing the Peace)

· Cal. Penal Code § 602(o) (Trespass)

· Cal. Vehicle Code § 12500 (Driving Without a License)

· Cal. Vehicle Code § 14601.1 (Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License)

A reduction to an infraction can greatly benefit a defendant when attempting to obtain employment and for federal immigration purposes.

Learn more about our criminal defense attorney in Pasadena


The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Escovar Law, APC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction. The information on this website is a communication and is for informational purposes only. The facts of every case are unique and nothing on this page or on this website should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. The result portrayed in this advertisement was dependent on the facts of this case. Results will differ if based on different facts.