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Proposition 47

Effective November 5, 2014, proposition 47’s main purpose is to reduce certain non-violent and non-serious felonious crimes to just misdemeanors. This proposition can be beneficial to past, present, and future offenders of certain felonies. Specifically, proposition 47 applies to:

  1. offenders who have completed their sentence for a felony to apply to the court to have their conviction reduced to a misdemeanor;
  2. offenders currently serving their felony sentencing to apply to the court to have their sentences reduced to a misdemeanor; and
  3. offenders in a pending case.

The proposition is projected to affect an estimated 2000 inmates who are eligible to reduce their charge from a felony to a misdemeanor in the Los Angeles County alone, and an estimated 4500 inmates in the state of California. Reducing a felony charge to a misdemeanor charge can result in a reduction in jail time. In California, an offender may be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail for a misdemeanor crime, while felony offenders can spend significantly longer periods of time in jail.

Prop 47 Appeal?

The crimes affected by proposition 47 include:

  • Shoplifting- proposition 47 added Penal Code section 459.5, which states that shoplifting property worth $950 or less will be deemed as a misdemeanor. In the past, an offender of this specific crime would likely be convicted for “burglary,” which is a felonious offense.
  • Forgery- proposition 47 amended Penal Code section 473, making it a strict misdemeanor for an offender to forge a check worth $950 or less. However, if an offender also commits identity theft along with the forgery, the offender will not be entitled to a strict misdemeanor offense. Before this amendment, forging a check for any amount could result in a felony conviction.
  • Drug Possession- proposition 47 made the crime of simple drug possession a strict misdemeanor. This includes most illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and heroine that is possessed for personal use. Before this change, possessing a certain type or amount of drugs can convict an offender with a felony.

Not covered under Prop 47 However, an offender may not be eligible for proposition 47 (reducing a felony into a misdemeanor for the crimes mentioned above) if:

  1. the offender committed a previous specified severe crime or is a registered sex offender; and
  2. the court finds that the offender is an unreasonable risk to public safety, specifically, that the offender will likely commit a specified severe crime in the future.

Need More Information?? If you would like more information about Prop 47 or about how the Proposition might apply in your specific case, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Depending on your situation, you might be facing a deadline within which to seek help. Don’t wait and risk jeopardizing your Constitutional rights.