The Impact of California’s Proposition 47 Law

California’s Proposition 47 Law Explained

In November 2014, California voters voted in proposition 47, which changed the way drug and theft-related offenses in the state of California are handled.

The new law didn’t only apply to future crimes, but also for anybody who was serving a sentence for a proposition 47 offense. This meant that anyone who was on probation or in custody for an offense involving a proposition 47 case, or anyone serving a deferred entry of judgment as a result of a proposition 47 conviction would be eligible for relief under proposition 47.

Proposition 47 and Theft Crimes

Primarily, the law changes the way theft crimes are dealt with. It creates the crime of shoplifting, where before, shoplifting was treated under Penal Code section 484, i.e. petty theft.  A new code section exclusively related to shoplifting that makes it a straight misdemeanor was introduced.

This means that you can never be charged with a felony as long as the amount that is alleged to be taken does not exceed $950.

Proposition 47 and Drug Crimes

Before proposition 47, Health and Safety Code section 11350, 11377 and 11357 were all either felonies or wobblers. Now they are all misdemeanors. This means that if you are being alleged to be in possession of any amount of cocaine or any amount of heroin or any other controlled substance whether narcotic or not, as long as it is for personal use, it is a misdemeanor.

Proposition 47 didn’t only change future offenses, but also changed prior offenses. This meant that if you were serving a sentence for a proposition 47- related offense or you’re on deferred entry of judgment, your attorneys could petition the court to have your case reduced to a misdemeanor if it was initially a felony.

If you were in custody, your attorneys could petition the court to amend your sentence to take you out of custody sooner and drop your case from a felony to a misdemeanor if you’re eligible.

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