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How are “wobbler” crimes both a felony and misdemeanors?

Classifying crimes as either felonies or misdemeanors differs from state to state. While some states pre-classify these types of crimes, Georgia is a bit different—in that it considers the unique details of each offense before classifying the severity of the crime. In general, a “wobbler” crime is neither a misdemeanor or a felony—rather, it’s both. It’s a crime that can be charged as and be sentenced as either. If you’ve been arrested for a serious crime, it’s important to understand wobbler offenses, how the severity these crimes may be reduced, and how your attorney can help.  Wobbler crimes

Understanding Felonies and Misdemeanors

The difference between certain kinds of crimes is usually understood by the punishment it brings. Here is a brief look at the general types of crimes:

  • A felony is a crime that is punishable with jail time exceeding one year.
  • A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable with jail time at one year or less.
  • An infraction is a crime punishable only by fines.

A Wobbler May Be Either a Felony or a Misdemeanor

Because a wobbler offense can be considered a felony or a misdemeanor, a judge may reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor if the felony penalty is ten years in prison or less. However, the opposite is also true: a judge may increase the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony if he feels the details of your case warrant a felony punishment. Common wobbler crimes in Georgia could include:

  • DUI
  • Theft
  • Assault

How an Attorney May Work to Reduce the Classification

Your attorney will work together with you, closely review the details of your case, and build an argument in your favor. He may be able to reduce your charges by:

  • Making a plea deal. Your attorney may be able to make a conditional agreement with the prosecution. For example, your felony would be reduced to a misdemeanor if you complete your probation or anger management classes.
  • Advocate for you to a judge. If you do not wish to make a plea deal, your attorney may be able to use your good behavior since the crime, cooperation with your probation officer, or your lack of criminal record as evidence that you don’t deserve a felony.

Call an Experienced Attorney

Georgia criminal law can be difficult to navigate, so it’s important to hire an attorney to handle your charges. The team at Duffy & Feemster can help explain your options and possible penalties and work to reduce the charges as much as possible. To get started on your case, give us a call today.


Dwight T. Feemster
Dwight is a civil and criminal attorney in Georgia.

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