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Our lawyers at RLG are here to help assert your rights. We work closely with our clients so that they are aware of their rights and options during every step of navigating and resolving their legal issues.

For outstanding legal representation, please contact RLG for a free consultation: (415) 877-4486.

California Proposition 47 – Can My Charge of Conviction Be Reduced?

On November 4, 2014 Californians approved Proposition 47, the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. The initiative reduces the classification of most "nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes" from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Not only does this affect those currently facing charges, but it is also retroactive, meaning that if you have ever been convicted of one of the felonies named in Prop. 47, you can have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. However, prior convictions will not be automatically reduced to a misdemeanor, a petition must be filed with the court requesting to modify the existing sentence.

What Charges Can be Reduced?

Prop 47 mandates misdemeanors instead of felonies for "non-serious, nonviolent crimes" that were previously sentenced as a felony or a potential felony (wobbler), unless the defendant has prior convictions for murder, rape, certain sex offenses or certain gun crimes. For example, charges/convictions including but not limited to simple drug possession (including cocaine, heroin, and GHB), shoplifting, forgery, check fraud, theft, and receiving stolen property when the amount involved does not exceed $950 are covered.

Many of the offenses that are affected by this new law were already wobblers under the previous laws, meaning the judge had discretion to sentence these offenses as misdemeanors already. However, Prop 47 now requires judges to impose a misdemeanor sentence on individuals convicted of these offenses.

What About My Prior Conviction?

If a defendant is still serving a sentence, Prop 47 provides that those who were convicted and sentenced for a felony offense can have the sentenced modified to a misdemeanor. For those who have completed their sentence, a defendant can petition the court to have the felony conviction or convictions designated as a misdemeanor.

However for those defendants still serving the sentence, the court is given discretion to not resentence the defendant if the court determines he or she would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. Section 1170.18(c) defines "unreasonable risk of danger to public safety" as an "unreasonable risk that the petitioner will commit a new violent felony [as described in Section 667(e)(2)(C)(iv)]."

Effect of Having Your Felony Reduced Under Prop 47

If the court resentences or designates your prior felony as a misdemeanor the conviction shall be considered a misdemeanor for all purposes, except that it will not permit you to own or possess a firearm.

When Should I Apply?

IMMEDIATELY! A defendant must apply within three years of Prop 47 becoming effective, meaning petitions for relief should be filed before November 5, 2017, unless good cause is shown for the delay.

If you are interested in learning more about reducing your felony to a misdemeanor, pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.18 (Proposition 47) please contact our office at (415) 877-4486 to discuss your options. We can assist you not only understanding weather you qualify for a reduction under Proposition 47 but we can also assist you with evaluating an expungement and/or motion to seal and destroy your arrest record.

You NO LONGER have to be sattled with a conviction if you have been rehabilitated and an arrest record when no charges have been filed!

For outstanding legal representation, please contact RLG for a free consultation: (415) 877-4486.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information, and the submission of any e-mails, do not create an attorney-client relationship.