In the state of California, there are a variety of forms of post-conviction relief available to convicted drunk drivers. DUI cases, as with other criminal cases, are categorized as misdemeanors, felonies, or “wobblers.” Convicted drunk drivers who are charged with a misdemeanor face up to one year in county jail and those charged with a felony face one or more years in state prison; however, wobblers are different. Wobblers can be considered as felonies or misdemeanors.

Convicted individuals whose cases were categorized as wobbler-felonies may be able to get their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors under California Penal Code Section 17 (b) if they were not sentenced to state prison. Under California’s Penal Code, it goes on to state that:

“any defendant who has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or who has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation…. shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation (if he or she is not serving a sentence for any new offense, charged with the commission of any offense, or on probation for any offense) be allowed by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if the defendant has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and in either case, the court shall dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant.”

The defendant shall then be released (except as otherwise noted) from all penalties resulting from the convicted DUI offense. The Penal Code further states that upon the granting of the relief, “for all intensive purposes,” the crime will be treated as a misdemeanor with certain exceptions. For instance, the DUI offense remains as a “prior” under California’s Three Strike law and the right to possess firearms will continue to be restricted.

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