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Prop 47

In 2014, California voters passed Prop 47, also known as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”  Prop 47 created a new penal code section that reclassified certain specified crimes – primarily those involving theft or possession of controlled substances – as misdemeanors.  Under the law, people currently serving felony sentences for specific crimes are able to petition the court to reduce their sentences to misdemeanor sentences, and people who have already completed a felony sentence for specific crimes may apply to the court to have their convictions reclassified as misdemeanors.

The impact of Prop 47 has been huge – according to the Sacramento Bee, in the first nine months following Prop 47’s passage, tens of thousands of people have had their felonies reduced to misdemeanors, and over 4,300 inmates have been released from prison due to resentencing.  Despite these advances, there is still a lot of misleading information floating around concerning the application and impact that Prop 47 has on a person’s record.

What Offenses Qualify for Reclassification Under Prop 47?

Prop 47 covers a wide range of non-violent crimes.  If you have a conviction for any of the following felonies and you are not disqualified (see below), you may ask the sentencing judge to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor.  The qualifying felonies are:

  • Commercial Burglary (Penal Code section 459) that meets the definition of the new crime of shoplifting.
  • Forgery relating to financial instruments listed in Penal Code section 473(b), including Penal Code sections 470(a), (d), 475, and 476, if the item does not exceed $950 and you were not also convicted of identity theft under Penal Code section 530.5. 
  • Passing bad checks (Penal Code section 476(a)) if the aggregate amount of the checks does not exceed $950 and you have no more than two prior convictions for violations of Penal Code sections 470, 476, or 476a.
  • Grand theft (Penal Code sections 487(a)-(d), 487a, 487b, 487c, 487d, 487f, 487g, 487h, 487i, and 487j) if the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950.
  • Receiving stolen property (Penal Code section 496(a)) if the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950.
  • Unlawful possession of a controlled substance (Health and Safety code sections 11350(a), 11457(a), and 11377(a)). 

Limitations of Prop 47

Prop 47, while vast in its application, does have its limitations.  Not everyone convicted of a qualifying offense can seek relief under Prop 47, as Prop 47 is inapplicable to people who have been convicted of certain crimes in the past. Prop 47 does not apply to anyone who has a prior conviction:

  • that requires you to register as a sex offender under Penal Code Section 290(c).
  • for any homicide, attempted homicide, or solicitation to commit murder.
  • for a sexually violent offense listed in Welfare and Institution Code section 6600(b).
  • for any serious or violent felony punishable by death or life in prison.
  • for possessions of a weapon of mass destruction.
  • for assault on a peace officer or firefighter with a machine gun.

For many people convicted of certain felonies, Prop 47 can have immediate benefits, including early release from custody, termination of probation or parole, and the reduction of qualifying felonies to misdemeanors.  If you or a loved one qualify for relief under Prop 47, contact an attorney for a free consultation today. 

Call Us Today For A Free Consultation

(949) 296-9869 or Toll Free (800) 610-1900