November 6, 2014
On Tuesday, California voters approved Proposition 47, the “Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative.”
Under the new law — which is effective immediately — the following crimes are now misdemeanors instead of California felonies:
- Shoplifting of property worth not more than $950,
- Grand theft of property worth not more than $950,
- Receiving stolen property worth not more than $950,
- Forgery of a check, bond or bill worth not more than $950,
- Check fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950 and no identity theft is involved,
- Writing a bad check in an amount that does not exceed $950, and
- Personal use of most illegal drugs.
As misdemeanors, these crimes now carry a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. Those with a history of certain violent or sexual offenses are not eligible for the new lighter sentences.
Such offenses include:
- Sex Offenses which require registration as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290, and
- Certain Gun Crimes, such as California Penal Code Section 245(a), assault with a deadly weapon.
Prop 47 also applies retroactively. Eligible people already serving a prison sentence for one of the above crimes can petition the court for a new sentence — even if they have been convicted under California's “three strikes” law. The petition will be granted unless the court finds that re-sentencing would pose an unreasonable danger to public safety.
As many as 10,000 people could be eligible for early release from state prison under the new law. Reclassification of one's crime from a felony to a misdemeanor carries additional advantages, including:
- Not being required to disclose a felony conviction on most employment applications, and
- Restoring of civil rights, including the right to own a gun.
If you or someone you know is currently serving a California prison sentence for one of these crimes, our Southern California criminal defense attorneys may be able to help you win back your freedom and restore your rights.
The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann serve clients in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Valencia, Pasadena, the San Fernando Valley, and elsewhere in Southern California. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.