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Name: People v. Feyrer
Case #: S154242
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/25/2010
Summary

A plea agreement does not restrict the court’s authority to declare a “wobbler” as a misdemeanor after the court initially granted probation by suspending the imposition of sentence. There was a no contest plea to a felony assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and admission of the infliction of great bodily injury. The defendant performed well on probation and the court granted relief pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4 by setting aside the plea and dismissing the charges. However, the court denied a request to reduce the offense to a misdemeanor (Pen. Code, sec. 17, subd. (b)(3)) because the court believed that would be in excess of its authority. The plea in this case was followed by mutual silence as to the form in which probation would be granted. When there is a grant of probation on a felony and the court proceeds without first imposing a sentence, the court retains discretion over the defendant by virtue of the probation procedures. When there is a conviction of a wobbler offense, by trial or plea, and probation is granted without imposition of sentence, the offense is deemed a felony, and remains so, unless subsequently reduced to a misdemeanor. The fundamental feature of probation is that good conduct on the part of the probationer may result in mitigation or reclassification of a wobbler. Any curtailment of that routinely-available option would have to be made an express term of the plea agreement.