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Name: People v. Mauch
Case #: G038602
Opinion Date: 06/03/2008
Division: 3
Citation: 163 Cal.App.4th 669

The trial court’s authority to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor is limited by Penal Code sections 17 and 18. After appellant pled guilty to a violation of Health and Safety Code section 11358 (cultivation of marijuana), the trial court designated the maximum potential punishment as 365 days in the jail, “thereby making count 11358 [sic] a misdemeanor by virtue of the court’s indication of a maximum potential sentence.” The appellate court agreed with the prosecution that the court lacked the authority to reduce the offense. Because section 11358 is not a “wobbler” crime and is punishable only by a state prison sentence, the court does not have the authority under Penal Code section 17 to impose alternative misdemeanor punishment. Likewise, because section 11358 does not provide for a fine as alternative punishment, the court does not have authority under Penal Code section 18 to exercise that section’s misdemeanor option.