Proposition 47: Changes In California Criminal Law
Proposition 47 is a series of new laws that has broad impact for those currently facing certain criminal charges and those convicted of certain charges in the past. One of the most important changes is that those convicted of many felony drug possession offenses, including possession of cocaine, concentrated cannabis, and heroin can have their felonies reduced to misdemeanors. Others currently serving sentences for felonies affected by Prop 47 can have their sentences reduced. Oakland criminal defense attorney David Reagan is familiar with Prop 47 and can assist those that may be eligible for relief under the new law. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
The Purpose of Prop 47
On November 4, 2014, California voters enacted proposition 47, “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.” The purpose of prop 47 was to ensure that state prison spending was focused on violent and serious offenses and to maximize alternatives for nonserious and nonviolent offenders. The resulting savings is to be invested in prevention and support programs in K-12 schools, victim services and mental health and drug treatment programs.
What Does Prop 47 Affect?
Prop 47 does not change sentences for those convicted of serious and violent felonies. It does, however, dramatically change the sentencing laws for a number of less serious offenses, including theft, some commercial burglaries, fraud, forgery and some drug possession offenses.
Prior to Prop 47, these less serious offenses were “wobblers,” meaning they could be either charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The difference is significant because the criminal penalties and other consequences are often far greater for felony convictions than misdemeanors. The sentence for a felony can last between 16 months and 3 years in jail or prison, while the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is 12 months in jail.
Prop 47 made these less serious offenses misdemeanors for most offenders. Prop 47 did not lessen the criminal penalties for those with serious criminal records; for those with prior serious or violent convictions (Penal Code, § 667 (e)(2)(C)(iv)), and those required to register as sex offenders under Penal Code section 290, these offenses remain wobblers and can be charged as felonies. In some instances, the punishments were made more severe for those with serious criminal histories and sex offender registrants.
Prop 47 not only affects those facing new criminal charges, but it also authorizes courts to consider resentencing for those that have been convicted in the past of felonies which would now be misdemeanors under Prop 47. Individuals convicted in the past may be entitled for relief whether they are currently serving a sentence or have already completed it.
Many different crimes are affected by Prop 47 and the law provides methods to obtain relief. If you are unsure if Prop 47 may affect you or someone you know, contact Oakland criminal defense attorney David Reagan for a free consultation.
About David Reagan
A Bay Area native and top graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law, Mr. Reagan uses his passion for justice to clean all types of criminal records.
"Mr. Reagan handled my court isuses in such a professional manner and had his briefs prepared so well that the Judge in Superior Court of Alameda County gave him kudos in "open court " That was the first time I have ever seen or heard of that happening. It made me very proud to be his client." -J.
Law Office of David Reagan
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