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Serious Felonies (PC 1192.7) Defense

California penal code 1192.7 includes a list of crimes that are considered serious felonies (PC 1192.7(c)); PC 1192.7 also covers some of the criminal procedural requirements for the crimes listed in that section.

Note: Several of the crimes listed in 1192.7(c) may be classified as either a felony, or alternatively as a misdemeanor (wobbler crimes). Other serious felony crimes are listed in PC 1192.8(a), but the vast majority of serious felony crimes are listed under PC 1192.7(c) (See partial list of serious felony crimes below). Also, a serious felony, along with violent felony, are classified as "strike" offenses under California's Three Strikes Law.

To begin with, the district attorney doesn't charge a defendant with the crime of "PC 1192.7" by itself. This is because 1192.7 is not a criminal offense by itself. Instead, when the defendant notices that the district attorney has charged him or her with a violation of PC 1192.7, it means that the underlying offense, or offenses, is considered a "serious felony" under California law.

For example, the crime of felony Criminal Threats, which is one of the serious felonies listed in PC 1192.7(c)(38), would look something like the following on a charging document:

Count 1: PC422(a)-F Criminal Threats; PC1192.7(c)(38) Serious Felony

Strike Crimes: As mentioned, serious felonies listed under PC 1192.7(c) and PC 1192.8(a) are considered strike offenses and are therefore covered under California's Three Strike Sentencing laws. In general, "strike" offenses carry longer prison sentences for subsequent felony convictions (See Three Strikes Law).

In addition, some of the serious felonies that are listed in PC 1192.7(c) require the defendant to serve a higher percentage of his or her prison sentence (up to 80% of the sentence for most offenses listed in PC 1192.7(c)). A few common exceptions are murder (100% of sentence); criminal threats (50% of sentence); and assault with a deadly weapon (50% of sentence).

Wobbler Crimes: As mentioned, some of the crimes listed in PC 1192.7(c) are classified as wobbler crimes. A wobbler crime is any crime that may be charged as either a misdemeanor, or alternatively as a felony. A crime listed in PC 119.27(c), which is charged as a misdemeanor, is not considered a strike offense.

Some common PC 1192.7(c) wobbler crimes include: criminal threats (PC 422); assault with a deadly weapon (PC 245); dissuading a witness (PC 136.1(b)(2)); criminal street gang activity (PC 186.22(a)); vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence (PC 191.5(b)); battery on a custodial officer (PC 243(c)(1)), and more.

Prison Presumptive: The serious offenses listed in PC 1192.7(c) are usually prison presumptive crimes, which means that if the defendant is convicted of the serious crime, then he or she must serve his or her time in a California state prison as opposed to a local county jail. It also means that the defendant may not split or suspend his sentence as part of a plea bargain between the criminal defense attorney and the district attorney (applies to most serious felonies but not all). For more information on split and suspended jail sentences, see PC 1170(h) Sentencing.

Probation: Most, but not all, serious offenses listed in PC 1192.7(c) are ineligible for probation. This means that unless there are unusual circumstances in the defendant's criminal case the defendant will be denied a probation sentence. Unusual circumstances are generally drafted by the defendant's criminal defense attorney and include all the mitigating factors that distinguish the defendant's case as one that requires the equity of a probation sentence (as opposed to a sentence to state prison).

Bail: The serious offenses listed in PC 1192.7(c) generally carry higher bail amounts. Generally, without a noticed bail motion requested by the defendant and presented by his or her criminal defense attorney, the defendant's bail will not likely be reduced by a judge in any PC 1192.7(c) related case (See Bail Information).

Plea Bargaining: Plea bargaining is also limited for many of the serious felonies listed in PC 1192.7(c). For example, unless there is insufficient evidence to prove the district attorney's case, the district attorney is forbidden to plea bargain in any serious felony that accuses the defendant of personally using a firearm during the commission of a crime, or any felony driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol charge (DUI) [PC 1192.7(a)(2)).

Serious Felony List of Crimes (Partial List):

  • PC 1192.7(c)(1): Murder or Voluntary Manslaughter (PC 187 & 192)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(2): Mayhem (PC 203)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(3): Rape and Spousal Rape (PC 261 & 262)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(5): Oral Copulation by Force (PC 287)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(6): Lewd Act on Child Under 14 (PC 288(a))

  • PC 1192.7(c)(9): Attempted Murder (PC 664/187(a))

  • PC 1192.7(c)(10): Assault to Commit Rape or Robbery (PC 209)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(18): First Degree Burglary (PC 459/460)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(20): Kidnapping (PC 207)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(23): Assault with a Deadly Weapon (PC 245)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(25): Sexual Penetration with Object by Force (PC 289)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(31): Assault on a Police Office or Firefighter (PC 245(c))

  • PC 1192.7(c)(37): Witness Intimidation (PC 136)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(38): Criminal Threats (PC 422)

  • PC 1192.7(c)(42): Conspiracy to Commit Any "Serious" Crime

  • PC 1192.8(a): Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence (PC 192(c)(1))

If you or a loved one is charged with any criminal offense, including any serious offense listed in PC 1192.7(c) or PC 1192.8(a), contact our criminal defense attorneys today for free consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys are available seven days a week to answers your criminal defense and criminal procedure questions. We handle criminal cases in every Inland Empire city, including Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Fontana, Yucaipa, Rialto, Ontario, San Bernardino, and Victorville, and more. Call today!


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