You may have heard the term "wobbler" in passing, or perhaps you have come across it in relation to a charge you are facing. In either case, it is important to get informed about wobbler crimes in Georgia. Wobblers can work in the favor of an individual, or they can work against them. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you successfully confront a wobbler in your criminal case.
What is a Wobbler Crime?
Wobbler crimes are crimes that may either be charged as a misdemeanor OR a felony.
What is the Difference Between Misdemeanor & Felony Charges in Georgia?
Every state treats misdemeanors and felonies a little different. Georgia does not classify crimes in the same way that some states do. Rather than generally classifying crimes in specific categories (i.e., Class B felony), crimes in Georgia are determined to be a felony or a misdemeanor based on the individual circumstances of each case.
A crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of one year or more is considered a felony. A crime that is punishable by a county or local jail sentence of less than one year is considered a misdemeanor. From DUI and theft to assault and white-collar crimes, the circumstances of an individual case could result in a misdemeanor or a felony.
What is Georgia’s “Wobbler” Law?
The Georgia Code states the following: "Imposition of misdemeanor punishment for felonies punishable by imprisonment for term of ten years or less."
O.C.G.A. 17-10-5 (2010)This allows a judge to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor if the prison term punishment is ten years or less in length. In the right circumstances, a judge may take this action to reduce the severity of an individual's potential punishment. In this way, the wobbler law can work to your benefit.
However, wobbler crimes can also pose a danger to your case. Many crimes can be considered a felony if the prison sentence exceeds a year in prison. The judge is not required to reduce your sentence— if your misdemeanor turns into a felony issue, there is no guarantee the judge will act in your favor.
How to Handle Wobbler Crimes the Right Way
You don't have to know the ins and outs of criminal law to get a handle on your case. A criminal defense attorney in Paulding County can do that for you. Exploring all of your options with a legal professional may ensure that when you go to court, you are prepared for the unexpected. Wobbler crimes do not have to be unpredictable. A skilled criminal lawyer will know how to build a strong defense that can reduce the risk of a simple misdemeanor from turning into an aggravated charge, or use protections under Georgia law to reduce a felony punishment to a misdemeanor penalty.
If you are dealing with wobbler crime in Georgia, you don't have to face it alone. Contact Henrickson & Sereebutra today and review your case with a team that has 75+ years of collective experience in criminal defense. Learn more about our criminal defense services here!