In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47 into law, which changed many prior felony charges into misdemeanors instead. While defendants that have prior convictions for serious sexual offenses, gun crimes, and murders are not eligible for resentencing, there are many other incarcerated individuals who can benefit from this shift.
Originally, the deadline for resentencing petitions under Prop 47 was November 4, 2017, but former governor Jerry Brown extended it to November 4, 2022. If you were convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for one of the crimes included in Proposition 47, you may eligible for automatic resentencing and reduced charges. For those who were sentenced around the time that Prop 47 passed, automatic resentencing may not apply – but you could be eligible to pursue the standard resentencing procedure.
What Crimes Were Included in Proposition 47?
First titled The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, Proposition 47 started as a ballot referendum spearheaded by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris. Supported by the New York Times, the LA Times, and the American Civil Liberties Union, this groundbreaking act sought to reduce California’s growing prison population and allow those with non-violent and minor drug and theft crimes to get reduced charges.
The theft crimes changed to misdemeanors include: shoplifting, grand theft, buying stolen property, check fraud and forgery, and writing back checks. These apply for any property valued under $950. Personal use of almost all illegal drugs is also now considered to be a misdemeanor-level crime rather than a felony.
What Have Been the Consequences of Prop 47?
Prop 47 has largely been viewed as a success, and in 2015, the Stanford University Justice Advocacy Project found that it had reduced our state’s prison population by over 13,000. It was also estimated that Prop 47 would have a retroactive impact on up to 4,800 people, in addition to preventing future defendants from heading to prison for minor charges.
Not all of these 4,800 incarcerated people have been released at this point, however – and at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we’re committed to helping those who are eligible for resentencing and reduced charges under Prop 47. Even if you have already served the time for your original Prop 47 conviction, you could get the charge reduced on your permanent record, which will allow you to enjoy greater job and educational opportunities for the future.
Here are some of the categories of defendants that could be eligible to petition for resentencing under Prop 47:
- Persons who were convicted on previous felony charges, who are either serving time or on probation.
- Persons who were convicted and are no longer on probation, parole, or incarcerated.
- Persons who are currently facing charges and who have not been sentenced yet.
Available to Help in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Beyond
Our criminal defense lawyers are fully supportive of the changes under Prop 47, and we applaud how they have enhanced personal freedom for those originally convicted of minor crimes. If you have questions about your conviction or upcoming sentencing and would like to speak with an attorney, our legal team would be happy to perform a free consultation and review your case. We work hard on behalf of our clients, and we’re committed to the ideals of justice and due process in our criminal legal system.
Call (800) 462-7160 today to benefit from 40 years of legal experience!