What Is a Wobbler Offense?
Oct. 24, 2022
Many Texans know that crimes in the state are divided into misdemeanors and felonies. But most do not understand that a criminal offense can also be a “wobbler” and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, you need to understand what a wobbler offense is and what you can do to defend yourself against the charges. At Madson Castello Law, our criminal defense attorneys in Dallas, Texas, help good people who have found themselves facing criminal issues. With more than three decades of combined legal experience, we have tried over 300 criminal cases to a jury throughout North Texas, including Denton, Fort Worth, and McKinney.
Contact our attorneys to learn more about what crimes are wobblers in Texas and how a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor. We pride ourselves on providing personalized representation and helping clients seek favorable outcomes.
Wobbler Offenses in Texas
According to a report by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the state saw an increase in the rate of violent crime from 415.6 crimes per 100,000 population in 2019 to 442.9 crimes in 2020. As mentioned earlier, a “wobbler” offense can be punished as either a misdemeanor or felony.
When prosecuting a crime, a prosecutor can charge a wobbler as a felony. However, it may be possible for a good defense attorney to intervene. We may be able to convince either the prosecutor or the grand jury that the defendant should not be charged with a crime at all, or that the alleged felony should be reduced to the charge of a misdemeanor.
Several factors come into play when prosecutors and judges decide how to proceed with a wobbler offense, including:
The type of the offense
The facts surrounding the offense
The strength of the prosecution's case
The defendant’s prior behavior and criminal history
Whether the defendant admits they committed the crime
Whether the offense involved minors
Whether the defendant has participated in rehabilitation programs or probation, if applicable
Felonies are more severe than misdemeanors in Texas and carry heavier sentences. That is why you need to consult with an attorney to explore your defense options and determine if your wobbler offense can be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Common Wobbler Crimes
Some examples of criminal offenses that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony include:
Driving while intoxicated
Violation of bail
Violation of probation
Violation of a protective order
Possession of marijuana
These and many other crimes can be “wobbler” offenses in Texas. Cases involving wobbler offenses can be unpredictable. You’ll need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney if:
You are facing a misdemeanor charge but it could be elevated to a felony. If the prosecution successfully establishes specific elements of the wobbler offense, your misdemeanor charge could be elevated to a felony. If this happens, the punishment will be harsher.
You are facing a felony charge, but there is a potential to reduce it to a misdemeanor. With the proper legal counsel, you could convince the prosecution to reduce the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.
If you are dealing with a wobbler offense, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to determine the best way to proceed in your unique case. Your freedom and future could be at stake, so you shouldn’t take chances. Let an experienced defense attorney at Madson Castello Law review your case and explain all available defense options.
Can a Felony Be Reduced to a Misdemeanor in Texas?
The short answer is, “Yes, a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor in Texas.” However, it takes the right kind of legal counsel to obtain a reduction. Defendants stand a better chance of reducing a felony to a misdemeanor when represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Typically, felonies are reduced to a misdemeanor through a plea bargain, in which the defendant’s attorney can highlight the weak points in the state’s case against their client. For example, if the police obtained evidence through an illegal search and seizure, this fact alone could be used as the basis for reducing a felony to a misdemeanor. Another example is when the defendant is charged with an “attempt” to commit the crime but never actually committed it.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
The consequences of a criminal conviction can last a lifetime. Various areas of life may be affected if you have a conviction on your record, especially if it is a felony. If you are facing felony charges, hire a criminal defense attorney to discuss the possibility of reducing the charges to a misdemeanor or getting the charges dropped altogether.
Each case is unique, which is why what may work for one person facing charges may not work for another. There are different tactics for confronting a wobbler offense, so a consultation with a local attorney may be necessary to determine the best way to proceed with your defense.
If you were arrested or are being investigated for a crime, do not speak to law enforcement before you talk to your attorney because you may end up making statements that could hurt your case without even realizing it. Our attorneys have developed professional relationships with prosecutors and local law enforcement in Dallas, Texas, and surrounding areas in North Texas.
Let’s discuss the best way to improve the outcome of your case. At Madson Castello Law, our lawyers strive to help clients achieve the best possible results when charged with any offense, including a wobbler offense.
Turn to Madson Castello Law
If you still have questions about wobbler offenses in Texas, get our help. At Madson Castello Law, we have 30 years of combined legal experience defending criminal charges, including wobbler offenses, throughout North Texas. With an office in Dallas, Texas, we can assist you in preparing the best possible defense strategy for your case. Tell us more about your situation during a consultation.