With the dust finally settled on the Nov. 4 election, results showed that 54.46% of Californians voted to reform criminal sentencing with the passage of Proposition 47. Prop 47, also known as “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” reduces the classification of most non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.
What Prop 47 Changes
Specifically, Prop 47 mandates misdemeanor sentencing instead of felony sentencing for the following crimes:
- Shoplifting property that is worth up to $950;
- Grand theft of property that is worth up to $950;
- Receiving stolen property that is worth up to $950,
- Forgery of a check, bond, or bill worth up to $950,
- Writing a fraudulent check, draft, or order worth up to $950,
- Writing a bad check worth up to $950;
- Personal use of most illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs and other controlled substances1
In reducing these offenses to simple misdemeanors, Prop 47 aims to reduce California’s prison population and save hundreds of millions of dollars from the state prison reductions. The money saved will be funneled back into K-12 school programs, victim services, and mental health and drug treatment.2
Will Prop 47 Help You?
In addition to limiting felony convictions, Prop 47 works retroactively to permit those who have been sentenced with a felony for the previously listed offenses to seek resentencing to get their conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.3
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a felony for the previous offenses, you may be able to use Prop 47 to reduce your sentence to a misdemeanor. In order for Prop 47 to help you in resentencing your felony, you must hire a knowledgeable criminal attorney to successfully handle your request for resentencing.
Eligibility for Resentencing under Prop 47
Prop 47 requires a thorough review of your criminal history and risk assessment prior to resentencing. As such, Prop 47 allows only non-violent offenders to apply for resentencing.
In order to be eligible for resentencing, you must not have a prior conviction for murder, rape, certain sex offenses or certain gun crimes. Through the review process of prior criminal history, Prop 47 aims to maintain current restrictions for registered sex offenders and anyone with prior convictions for rape, murder, or child molestation.
Although Prop 47 works retroactively, not all applications for resentencing will be heard at the same time. For example, LA County will first focus on individuals who are currently serving time in prison for what used to be a felony before Prop 47 passed. Once these individuals have been reviewed, those who have already served their sentence can petition to downgrade a past felony conviction to a misdemeanor to restore their rights.4
Call a Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away
If you were convicted of a felony and are interested in finding out if you are eligible for resentencing under Prop 47, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled team of attorneys and legal assistants has been successfully defending clients facing these charges for over 40 years. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you, too.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [Proposed Text of Proposition 47. http://web.archive.org/web/20140908183309/http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2014/general/pdf/text-of-proposed-laws1.pdf]↩