Proposition 47 is known as the “Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act” that took effect on November 5, 2014. Prop 47 was used as a way to downgrade many low level theft and drug possession crimes to misdemeanors and goes hand-in-hand with California’s Proposition 36 from 2012, which makes certain offenses ineligible to serve as a “third strike.” However, for this proposition to work, a resentencing judge would have to find that the defendant would not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. This means that, many crimes that were previously seen as a way to make an arrest for a felony, will not only be “citable” as a misdemeanor. This means that many offenders will not go to jail, but will instead be cited much like the process of receiving a traffic ticket. This proposition not only benefits those who have been in prison for some time for these crimes, but also communities. This is due to the fact that savings from this proposition will be invested in grants for drug treatment and mental health services for people in the criminal justice system. A court hearing will instead be held rather than having to go through the prison system for punishment. Here are some crimes that have become misdemeanors, aside from possession of a stolen firearm:
- Commercial burglary under $950
- Forgery and bad checks under $950
- Theft of a vehicle under $950
- Possession of stolen property under $950
- Possession of heroin, cocaine, illegal prescriptions, concentrated cannabis, and methamphetamine
Convictions and Resentencing
So, what happens if you have been convicted and are currently incarcerated for stolen firearms? You will be eligible for resentencing and release. However, you must petition a judge who has discretion to release as long as there is no unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. So far, thousands of people have been released for the crimes covered under this proposition. If you wish to be resentenced, you can call the public defender’s office or the lawyer who represented you so that a petition can be filed. What happens if you are no longer in the criminal justice system, did your time, and still wish to have your felony conviction changed to a misdemeanor? Your old criminal record can, in fact, be changed! You are eligible to have any qualifying prior felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors no matter how long ago you were convicted. This is active even if you have been denied a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor by the court in years prior. Usually there will not even be a court hearing if there is no question about any discrepancies in your eligibility. For those who have stolen a firearm costing $950 or less, they could be looking at shorter prison sentences. In the past when it was still seen as a felony, somebody engaging in the crime could have seen three years in prison, when now it has been reduced to one year tops. If you have been convicted of a felony before you stole a firearm, you are still prohibited from having a firearm in your possession and could be charged with another felony and not a misdemeanor. If no other crimes have been committed, however, then no arrest can be made. Have you been convicted of stealing a firearm worth $950 or less and believe that your record should be changed? Are you having troubles having a sentence reduced and believe that you are not being treated fairly? Then you should have an attorney that you can trust working on your side and fighting for your rights. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today for more information on what options you have!