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California Penal Code Section 17

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Penal Code > California Penal Code Section 17

17.  (a) A felony is a crime that is punishable with death, by
imprisonment in the state prison, or notwithstanding any other
provision of law, by imprisonment in a county jail under the
provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170. Every other crime or
public offense is a misdemeanor except those offenses that are
classified as infractions.
   (b) When a crime is punishable, in the discretion of the court,
either by imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment in a
county jail under the provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170,
or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail, it is a misdemeanor
for all purposes under the following circumstances:
   (1) After a judgment imposing a punishment other than imprisonment
in the state prison or imprisonment in a county jail under the
provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
   (2) When the court, upon committing the defendant to the Division
of Juvenile Justice, designates the offense to be a misdemeanor.
   (3) When the court grants probation to a defendant without
imposition of sentence and at the time of granting probation, or on
application of the defendant or probation officer thereafter, the
court declares the offense to be a misdemeanor.
   (4) When the prosecuting attorney files in a court having
jurisdiction over misdemeanor offenses a complaint specifying that
the offense is a misdemeanor, unless the defendant at the time of his
or her arraignment or plea objects to the offense being made a
misdemeanor, in which event the complaint shall be amended to charge
the felony and the case shall proceed on the felony complaint.
   (5) When, at or before the preliminary examination or prior to
filing an order pursuant to Section 872, the magistrate determines
that the offense is a misdemeanor, in which event the case shall
proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on a misdemeanor
complaint.
   (c) When a defendant is committed to the Division of Juvenile
Justice for a crime punishable, in the discretion of the court,
either by imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment in a
county jail under the provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170,
or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year,
the offense shall, upon the discharge of the defendant from the
Division of Juvenile Justice, thereafter be deemed a misdemeanor for
all purposes.
   (d) A violation of any code section listed in Section 19.8 is an
infraction subject to the procedures described in Sections 19.6 and
19.7 when:
   (1) The prosecutor files a complaint charging the offense as an
infraction unless the defendant, at the time he or she is arraigned,
after being informed of his or her rights, elects to have the case
proceed as a misdemeanor, or;
   (2) The court, with the consent of the defendant, determines that
the offense is an infraction in which event the case shall proceed as
if the defendant had been arraigned on an infraction complaint.
   (e) Nothing in this section authorizes a judge to relieve a
defendant of the duty to register as a sex offender pursuant to
Section 290 if the defendant is charged with an offense for which
registration as a sex offender is required pursuant to Section 290,
and for which the trier of fact has found the defendant guilty.

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Last modified: March 17, 2014