When you are convicted of a felony, you may assume you will have to serve time in prison. However, thanks to realignment in California, you may be able to avoid prison depending on the severity of your crime. Let’s examine how realignment works in California.
The California Public Safety Realignment Initiative
A 2011 ruling by the United States Supreme Court led to the creation of the California Public Safety Realignment Initiative. As part of the ruling, the state of California was required to reduce its prison population by changing its practices regarding sending people to prison.
The initiative was put in place because the state’s prison population had reached 180 percent of its designed capacity. The court ruling said that the state must reduce its population by no more than 137.5 percent of capacity within two years.
California responded by passing two bills, Assembly Bill 109 and Assembly Bill 117. Both of these bills became law on October 1, 2011. These laws are referred to as “realignment” in California.
How Realignment Affects Felony Offenses
Under realignment, people charged with certain felony offenses are eligible to be imprisoned in county jail facilities instead of state prisons.
The crimes that are eligible for county jail sentences are all non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious offenses. These crimes are also known as “N-3” crimes.
Under these laws:
- If you are convicted of a non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual felony offense, you will likely be sentenced to county jail. Before the realignment laws passed, these offenses could have led to prison time.
- If you are serving a prison sentence for a crime that qualifies for realignment, you will be supervised by county probation officers under the Post-release Community Supervision (PRCS) program once you are released. State parole agents previously handled these matters.
Who Qualifies for Realignment?
Only those who have been charged with a felony offense after October 1, 2011 qualify for realignment in California. This means that inmates in state prisons for a felony offense prior to that date do not qualify for realignment. However, these people can enter into the program upon release if post-release supervision is required as part of their sentence. Supervision will come from the county or local level as part of realignment.
There are additional factors that determine whether you qualify for realignment. These factors include:
- If you were convicted of a crime listed under California Penal Code Section 1170(h) and probation was denied, you will likely be sentenced to county jail. Under PC 1170(h)(3), you must be sentenced to state prison if you were convicted of a felony and you:
* Have been denied parole
* Have previous felony convictions on your record, or
* Have committed a crime that requires you to register as a sex offender
Contact the Wallin & Klarich Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony offense in California, it is best that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients facing felony charges in California for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices located in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, West Covina, San Diego, Los Angeles and Torrance, our skilled team of criminal lawyers is available to help you no matter where you live.
Call our office at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.