On July 1, 2019, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) forwarded to prosecuting attorneys a list of marijuana-related cases that were potentially eligible to be recalled, dismissed, or sealed. The move came as an effort to help individuals convicted of these offenses have their record cleared and minimize the negative consequences of a conviction on their lives.
CA Recreational Marijuana Law
At the beginning of 2018, marijuana became legal in California, allowing adults 21 years of age and over to possess and consume the substance. When the law was passed, individuals convicted of a related offense were allowed to petition to have their criminal record sealed. However, not many took advantage of the opportunity.
Effects of a Criminal Conviction
With a criminal record, it is often hard for people to get housing, obtain credit, attend school, or even qualify for government benefits. By having their records cleared, individuals could no longer be hindered by such obstacles. Sealing the information blocks it from public access and prevents it from coming up when an agency conducts a background check.
Now that recreational marijuana use is legal in the state, those who do not get their convictions wiped are disadvantaged because of something that is no longer unlawful. Recognizing that it might be difficult for some people to seek to have their records sealed, and the disparities that creates, legislation was proposed to streamline the process.
Reviewing and Evaluating Previous Marijuana Convictions
Last month, the DOJ sent the district attorney’s office in each county files for eligible individuals. The DAs must review those cases by July 1, 2020 to decide whether or not they will challenge the dismissal or resentencing. The prosecutor can contest a case if they feel the individual does not meet eligibility requirements or they believe that person poses an unreasonable risk to public safety. If they will be opposing it, they must notify both the court and public defender’s office of their decision.
However, if they will not challenge the case, they will send the information to the court, which will reduce or dismiss the conviction. The conviction information will then be updated in the criminal history database.
Call Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP for a Free Case Review
If you were charged with a drug crime, our skilled lawyers will discuss the matter and your legal options with you. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, we are familiar with the laws concerning these types of cases and can help you understand how new statutes will affect you. We have successfully obtained favorable outcomes for past clients, and we are ready to do the same for you.
Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at (800) 462-7160 or contacting us online.