If you are a resident of California, you may have heard of something known as “Proposition 47,” which has downgraded many theft and drug possession crimes from felonies down to misdemeanors. This means big changes in the prison system, possibly meaning lower numbers of those who will be within the walls of prisons and more steps taken toward reform. However, one fact remains – those who have been previously convicted of these crimes may ask for resentencing to misdemeanors in some cases, making the number of felonies much less. If you had questions about Proposition 47, you can find the answers today!

Questions You May Have Regarding Proposition 47

Who does Prop 47 affect? Prop 47 came into play on November 4, 2014 all thanks to the voters of California who believed that many low level theft and drug offenses should be reduced to misdemeanors, possibly helping criminals rehabilitate rather than see years behind bars. This meant good news for the following types of people:

  • Defendants who are facing current charges
  • Convicted people who have served time or are on probation for felony convictions
  • Convicted people who have finished serving their time and are no longer on probation or parole

Who does Prop 47 not affect? If you are someone with a previous conviction for a very serious crime, then Prop 47 will probably not apply to you. This also includes sexually violent offenses and sex offenses against minors less than 14, murder or attempted murder, assault with a machine gun on a police officer or firefighter, possession of a weapon of mass destruction, or any offense punishable in California by life in prison or death. Are Religious Beliefs a Defense to Criminal Charges? Is California the only state to have this reform? California, with a population of 38 million, is actually the largest state to implement this type of reform. However, it is not the first state. In 2011, Arkansas passed Act 570, which allowed nonviolent offenders to be sentenced to work rather than be incarcerated. Georgia signed a bill into law that allowed for alternative sentencing for low-level nonviolent offenders in 2012. And in 2007, Texas signed in a budget of $241 million toward treatment-oriented programs for nonviolent offenders. So, California was not necessarily the first – but having options for those incarcerated is always a good direction. What crimes make me eligible? Here are some of the crimes that may make you eligible for resentencing:

  • Shoplifting of $950 or less of a store during business hours
  • Forgery of $950 or less
  • Fraud/Bad Checks of $950 or less
  • Grand Theft of $950 or less
  • Petty Theft/Shoplifting of $950 or less
  • Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Possession of Controlled Substance
  • Possession of Concentrated Cannabis
  • Receiving Stolen Property of $950 or less

Does Proposition 47 apply to juvenile cases? Yes, as well as adult cases. A juvenile is not charged with a crime the same as an adult. If a juvenile violated a statute that is covered by Prop 47 and it was found that their crime was a felony, the juvenile will be able to petition for a modification. How do I change my record of conviction? The resources are all over. Public defender offices as well as several county courts offices have posted forms on their websites that can be used to assist in the petition or application process. However, if you want to gain a better understanding of the instructions and information necessary to fill out the forms and file them with the court, you will want an attorney who understands the process. If you have been convicted of a felony covered under Prop 47 and wish to have it changed to a misdemeanor, you should give us a call and see where you stand. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we work to help you retain the rights you deserve.