Very important changes came to California in 2018, when something known as Proposition 64 came into play and led to marijuana legalization throughout the state. This was huge news for California after voters in the state had approved the proposition on November 8, 2016. The proposition, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act helped open many doors and even reopen closed doors for those who have been arrested for marijuana possession and more in the past.
Now, since January 1, 2018, people 21 and older have been legally permitted to possess and use small amounts of marijuana. In fact, the legalization law allows the sale of marijuana by businesses who have been properly licensed and met certain criteria. This all came after many years of legalization efforts. In fact, the use and distribution of medical marijuana was legalized since 1996, and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana prior to this did not carry any prison time, unlike many other states.
However, prop 64 changed everything we knew about marijuana laws in California and 2018 has brought many changes. So, what happens for those who have been sentenced to prison or have been caught up in the criminal justice system in negative ways due to marijuana crimes? Now these crimes aren’t ‘crimes’ at all under the law and we want to help if you are somebody who is still struggling through the system.
Can I Apply for Resentencing?
Now that change has come at last, you might wonder where you can turn as you seek help from your attorney since the change in laws. You might say, “I was previously convicted for a marijuana crime but now the law no longer sees this as a crime due to prop 64. Does this mean that I can apply for resentencing?” The simple answer is ‘yes.’ However, as with many things, they take time and patience – but there is hope.
Prop 64 does allow for resentencing for people who have previously been convicted under California’s past marijuana laws. They could now serve a lighter sentence under the marijuana legalization regime. Perhaps you are serving a sentence under the old version of California marijuana laws. You might be eligible for a shorter sentence under these new laws and you may be able to apply for the court to reduce your sentence with the help of an attorney on your side.
In many cases, the judge will typically see that you meet the criteria for prop 64. The only people who do not qualify are those who the prosecution oppose based on clear and convincing evidence that you should not be able to qualify for resentencing. If you do not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety then the judge will probably understand your stance.
If you have already served quite a bit of your sentence, then the resentencing under prop 64 could mean your immediate release from prison. The same can be true if you have already completed a sentence for marijuana laws. If you have received a felony, you might have this reduced to a misdemeanor or infraction. This could mean that you will receive rights that you couldn’t have with a felony. It could mean that you have fewer struggles trying to gain the job of your dreams, qualify for certain apartments, or retain your rights to a firearm. Let’s take a look at an example of how these laws work:
You were convicted of transporting marijuana in 2013. You don’t have any prior criminal record but now you have a felony under your belt. Because of this, you have been sentenced to spend several years in prison. However, since prop 64 has been passed, you will only receive a misdemeanor due to resentencing. You have already spent a year in prison.
Now, with this resentencing, you are told you will only spend 6 months in prison but you have already done this. This means that you could be immediately released from prison.
Now that you understand how this works, you might wonder how to move forward at this time.
How Prop 64 is Helping Almost 12,000 People
In San Francisco and San Diego, attorneys have specifically been moving toward clearing and downgrading prior marijuana records, which could benefit over 12,000 people over the next few years. If you have received a low-level offense in the past, you could have your record completely expunged. But how do you move forward with expungement in the eyes of the court? And how can we help as your attorney?
Are you eligible for expungement? It is a process that is available to defendants who are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies in California and the defendant has successfully completed probation for the offense or a proposition has taken hold that significantly changed the laws in California. This is the case for the recent marijuana laws and you have a chance at expungement based on your circumstances.
An expungement will be particularly helpful to you because it will release you from all penalties arising from your conviction, which means that it could be possible to move forward with many aspects of your life, from being able to receive a job of your dreams and living in certain areas where it was not once possible. If you believe that you qualify for expungement due to prop 64, you will need the help of your attorney to petition the court. The court will decide if they should dismiss the accusations based on the new laws and release you from all penalties that were once holding you back before the law was instated.
Turn to an Attorney You Can Trust
You don’t want to handle your case alone when it comes to expungement and standing up for your rights in the courtroom. You might think that the process is cut-and-dry and something you can handle on your own now that laws have changed, but it might be much different from how things appear on the surface. Luckily, you have rights and the laws will determine your fate in the legal system. Let us help you every step of the way at the Law Office of Peter Blair. Call us today for more information at 619-357-4977.