Proposition 47

In November 2014, California voters passed a proposition, known as "Prop 47," which reduced many non-violent crimes previously charged and convicted as felonies to misdemeanors. After its passage, Prop 47 went into immediate effect, adding to and amending certain sections in the Penal Code and the Health and Safety Code. As a Garden Grove Proposition 47 lawyer, I am familiar with its impact.

The most immediate and significant effect of Prop 47 is that because it is retroactive, anyone who has been previously convicted of certain felony crimes, and who is otherwise eligible, may now petition the superior court for a recall of his or her sentence and request to be resentenced according to the new laws passed by Prop 47. This includes those persons who are currently serving prison time on a felony conviction for one of the crimes now reduced to a misdemeanor by Prop 47 and those who have already served their sentence. (PC §1170.18.)

A petition for relief under Prop 47 law (i.e., petitioning to be resentenced) must be filed by November 4, 2017. While that might seem like plenty of time, it is a mere three years and the petition process itself can take some time as it is often necessary to gather previous records and other documentation before filing the petition. Anyone who thinks he or she might be eligible for relief under this new law should contact an experience criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

I limit my practice to criminal defense and I have assisted hundreds of clients. Contact me at any time to set up a confidential consultation with a Proposition 47 lawyer in Garden Grove without charge.

Which Crimes are Affected by Proposition 47?

Prop 47 makes the following crimes misdemeanors:

  • Shoplifting if the value of the property taken (or intended to be taken) does not exceed $950. (Penal Code §459.5)
  • Forgery if the value of the instrument forged does not exceed $950. (Penal Code §473(a).)
  • Writing a Bad Check if the value of the check does not exceed $950. (Penal Code 476a.)
  • Theft if value of the thing taken does not exceed $950. (Penal Code §490.2)
  • Receiving Stolen Property if the value of the property received does not exceed $950. (Penal Code §496(a).)
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance. The new law is far-reaching and makes simple possession of virtually all controlled substances a misdemeanor, including opiates, hallucinogenic substances, and heroin. (Health and Safety Code §11350.)

While the above enumerated crimes are now charged as misdemeanors with retroactive application, some conditions make them ineligible for resentencing as a misdemeanor. In general, someone who received a felony conviction for one of these crimes and had been previously convicted of certain crimes or who was convicted of certain other crimes in conjunction with the Prop 47 crime may not be eligible for resentencing under this new law. The conditions are specific to each crime and can be quite confusing.

Additionally, persons who have been convicted of certain sex offenses that require registration under Penal Code §290 and those convicted of some serious or violent crimes are not eligible to petition for retroactive relief under Prop 47. An experienced Proposition 47 attorney in Garden Grove will be able to determine a person's eligibility to petition under this law.

Petitioning for Relief

Those who qualify may petition the trial court in which they were convicted for a reduction of their felony conviction to a misdemeanor. If the petition is granted, it could mean immediate release from a sentence of incarceration or a reduction in sentence or probation. It will mean that the felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor. Some persons who were previously ineligible to expunge (dismiss) his or her conviction under Penal Code 1203.4 will also now be able to petition for an expungement of that conviction.

The Prop 47 petition process requires the petitioner to complete a designated form and notice the district attorney for the county in which he or she was convicted. For those persons who have already completed his or sentence, there is no court hearing required. However, if the petition is denied, a court hearing can be requested. For those still serving a sentence, whether incarceration or any type of court ordered supervision, there will be a scheduled court hearing on the petition.

Remember, there is only a three-year window for petitioning for relief under Prop 47. Contact me at your earliest convenience for a free consultation with a Garden Grove Proposition 47 attorney regarding your particular circumstances and eligibility under this new law.

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