The People of the State of California recently adopted Proposition 47, which took effect on November 5, 2014. The main purpose of Proposition 47 is to “ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses” and to “maximize alternatives for non-serious, nonviolent crime . . .” (Proposition 44 section 2). In other words, California voters no longer want to burden the State’s prison system with inmates convicted of relatively minor drug crimes (like simple possession) and theft-related crimes (involving property valued at under $950).
This is very good news for people who are either now facing certain kinds felony charges, as well as those who have been convicted of such charges in the past.
Moving forward, Proposition 47 now requires that Prosecutors charge certain crimes as misdemeanors rather than as felonies. It provides immediate relief to those persons, in that the Court must now reduce such current charges from felonies to misdemeanors, even before conviction.
However, Proposition 47 does not just provide relief for those who are facing current charges – it also requires that prior convictions for certain felonies (a) be reduced to misdemeanors, and (b) that the Court re-sentence accordingly, provided that certain requirements are met, as discussed in greater detail below.
If you have a felony conviction on your record for one of the crimes listed in Proposition 47, you may ask the Court to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor and that you be re-sentenced accordingly. The listed crimes consist in two categories: drug crimes and theft crimes:
1. HS11350 (Possession of illegal drugs)
2. HS11357 (Possession of concentrated cannabis)
3. 11377 (Possession of a controlled substance)
1. PC459.5 (Felony shoplifting)
2. PC473 (Passing a bad check)
3. 490.2 (new) (Felony larceny)
4. PC496 (Felony receiving stolen property)
5. PC666 (Felony petty theft with a prior
If you have ever been convicted for one of the crimes listed above, you may ask the Court to reduce your conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor, and to then re-sentence you accordingly.
You may ask for re-sentencing no matter if you are currently serving a sentence for one of the above-listed crimes or whether you have already completed your sentence. If you are currently serving a sentence, reduction of your conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor could mean getting out of jail or prison much sooner.
You will qualify for Proposition 47 re-sentencing, provided that you:
(1) were not convicted of a serious violent felony, such as murder, solicitation to commit murder, assault with a machine gun on a police officer or firefighter, possession of a weapon of mass destruction, gross vehicular manslaughter, or any other crime that is punishable by life in prison or death;
(2) are not a registered sex offender who was convicted of a sex crime, such as rape (PC261) and other sexual violence (PC286, PC289), sexual battery (PC243.4), sex crimes involving children (molestation, pornography), indecent exposure, human trafficking for prostitution, and similar crimes.
However, even if you otherwise qualify, Proposition 47 does contain a provision that allows the Court to deny Proposition 47 relief if the Court finds an “unreasonable risk to public safety” – meaning that the Court concludes that you would commit another serious crime if released. It is unclear how the Courts will use this provision in practice. Since Proposition 47 is so new, many other questions about how it will be implemented remain.
The Superior Courts in each County in the State is coming up with its own procedures, which are often difficult to understand. I can help you with your Proposition 47 resentencing. I will first take a look at your eligibility and your record. After discussing your case with you, I will draft and file a petition to have your qualifying felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors and will make sure that you are re-sentenced as required by law.
I generally charge $1,500 per petition. Please contact me to discuss your case. I do not charge anything for the initial telephone consultation.
THE FOREGOING DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE