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In California, certain offenses are considered a “wobbler.”  This simply means that there are criminal code sections which make it possible for a prosecutor to charge and individual with an infraction or misdemeanor offense, or a misdemeanor or felony offense.  A felony charge is the most serious, incurring the harshest penalties for those convicted.  If your charge is under a wobbler, could it be good news?  We’ll discuss it below.

How does a prosecutor determine whether to charge the client with a misdemeanor or felony?

In wobbler cases, the prosecutor will determine whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony based on your criminal history, the specific details in your case, and other factors.  For example, if the crime is considered violent or severe, it’s likely the prosecutor will feel the crime deserves harsh punishment.  However, if it is a first offense and mitigating facts exist that would eliminate or lessen your responsibility in the crime, he/she may decide to charge you with a misdemeanor.

A 72-year-old Venice doctor who practices in West Hollywood recently pleaded guilty to prescribing powerful painkillers even though his authority to prescribe those drugs had been revoked.  James William Eisenberg allegedly wrote over 1,200 prescription for medications including Vicodin and Norco.  Eisenberg is charged with one count of distribution of hydrocodone; he pleaded guilty in federal court.

As experienced Los Angeles drug crime attorneys, we know that prescription drug offenses have been on the rise in past years.  Crimes involving such painkillers as oxycodone and hydrocodone have saturated the media; even highly recognized celebrities have been known to have addiction issues, many of them losing their lives.  When a doctor is accused of writing improper prescriptions, he or she may face serious criminal penalties if convicted.

In May, an indictment filed against Eisenberg charged him with three counts of distribution of hydrocodone and four counts of using a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number which had been revoked.

James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, Jr. is being tried for allegedly killing 19 people in a Boston Court.  During the prosecutor’s case in chief, witness, Kevin Weeks took the stand and called Bulger a “rat”.  Mr. Weeks was a one-time assassin for Bulger who was responsible for many many murders at the bequest of his boss Bulger.  However, Weeks allegedly heard that his boss was an FBI informant back in the day when Weeks was killing people for him.  And that was the reason that he was willing to testify for the prosecution and become their star witness.  Of course Mr. Weeks worked out a very favorable plea deal that only put him in custody for 5 years.  He admitted to killing 5 people for Bulger. In that regard, when he called Bulger a “rat” the Judge had to intervene as there were F-bombs exchanged by the two men.  It should be noted that Bulger has consistently maintained that he was never an informant for the FBI.  He did say that he bought or paid for information and intel from dirty agents from time to time. The reputed mobster evaded authorities for more than 16 years.  There were numerous sightings of him and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig in over 22 countries.  However, it turned out that Bulger and his girlfriend were in Santa Monica, California for almost 14 of the 16 years they absconded.  The FBI found the couple in their modest Santa Monica rent-controlled apartment.  Coincidentally, they were found with over $800,000 and an arsenal of firearms. Continue reading