On November 4, 2014 California voters approved Proposition 47, also known as the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes initiative or The Safe Neighborhood & Schools Act. This initiative was passed overwhelmingly and constituted a significant step towards rolling back outdated criminal sentencing guidelines that contributed to overburdened prisons. It also calls for fair sentencing in cases involving non-serious and non-violent property and drug offenses.
When Proposition 47 became law, certain low-priority offenses that were formerly considered Felonies were re-classified as Misdemeanors. This means that 1) individuals currently serving sentences – either in jail, prison, or under Court supervision – for crimes that were redefined as Misdemeanors by Prop 47 would be eligible for reductions and resentencing; and 2) those who have already completed their sentences for crimes redefined as Misdemeanors by Prop 47 would be eligible to have their convictions reduced.
Are You Eligible for Prop 47 Reductions?
Many people will be able to have their recent case, as well as any earlier cases, reduced from Felonies to Misdemeanors under Proposition 47, but not everyone is eligible. In other words, some crimes qualify under the new laws, but some do not.
Individuals may be eligible for a reduction and resentencing under the terms of Proposition 47 as long as they do not have a history of serious or violent crime, and have been sentenced for any of the following:
- Commercial Burglary of a Store during regular Business Hours (PC §459).
- Fraud/Bad Checks (PC §476a).
- Forgery (PC §§470-476).
- Petty Theft/Shoplifting (PC §484, 484/666).
- Grand Theft (PC §487).
- Receiving Stolen Property (PC §496).
For these charges to be eligible for reduction, the amount involved must be less than $950.00.
You may be able to have your most recent case, and any earlier cases, changed from felonies to misdemeanors if you were convicted of the following charges:
- Possession of Methamphetamine (H&S §11377).
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (H&S §11350).
- Possession of Concentrated Cannabis (H&S §11357(a)).
Proposition 47 reclassified the possession of simple possession of any controlled substance or illegal drug for personal use from being a Felony to a Misdemeanor.
Charges will not be reduced, however, for certain prior convictions and for most people who are registered sex offenders.
Proposition 47 is completely retroactive.
It doesn't matter how long ago your conviction occurred. You are eligible to have any qualifying Felony reduced to a Misdemeanor, no matter how long ago you were convicted.
Learn More about Your Options
Attorney Lynn Gorelick is ready and willing to assist you in learning more about Proposition 47, and whether or not you may be eligible for reductions and resentencing. If you were convicted of a crime in Alameda or Contra Costa County, and want to know more about your possible eligibility, call the Gorelick Law Offices today.