The Impact of Prop 47 on the California Justice System

On November 4, 2014, California voters approved Proposition 47 (“Prop 47”), which dramatically changed the Justice System in our State. These changes went into effect immediately. Some penalties for common drug and theft crimes in California will be reduced from potential felonies to misdemeanors, shortening the time some offenders spend behind bars to a maximum of up to a year. Crimes covered by Prop 47 include drug possession and the following offenses when less than $950 is involved: shoplifting, check and credit fraud, forgery, theft and possession of stolen goods. As with other misdemeanors, the new maximum sentence will be one year in jail, down from a maximum of three years. Those with histories of violence or sex offenses will NOT be eligible for the lighter sentences. Anyone already serving prison time for a felony conviction on a reclassified crime may be able to petition for a new sentence — even those incarcerated under the state’s “three strikes” law. If you or someone you know needs to file a petition to reduce their existing sentence please contact us online or call us at (310) 448-1529. Below you will find a brief explanation of what changes Prop 47 has made to California law:

* Δ = Defendant

STATUTE

THEN

NOW

PC 459 – Commercial Burglary Wobbler (Could be charged as misdemeanor or felony) If committed during business hours & amount stolen or, attempted to be stolen is $950 or less, it is now a misdemeanor violation of PC 495.5. Can only be charged as a felony if business is closed, Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv).
PC 470Forgery (Includes PC 471, 472, 475, 476, 484f & 484i(b). Wobbler (Could be charged as misdemeanor or felony) If item forged is check, cashier’s check, traveler’s check, or money order, and the amount does not exceed $950, it is a misdemeanor violation of PC 473 unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv). If forgery also involves identity theft Per 530.5, the forgery can be charged as a felony.
PC 476a(a) – NSF Checks Wobbler (Could be charged as misdemeanor or felony if the amount involved exceeded $450) If the total amount of all NSF checks does not exceed $950, it is a misdemeanor unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant, has a prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv) or has 3 or more convictions for PC 470, PC 475, or PC 476.
PC 487 – Grand Theft (Includes PC 484e(a), 484e(b), 484e(d), 484g, 484h, 487, 487a, 487b, 487d, 487e, 487h, 487i, 487j and 489) Wobbler (Could be charged as misdemeanor or felony if the amount involved exceeded $950, the item stolen was enumerated fruits/veggies, domestic fowl, fish, and automobile or firearm, or was taken from person) If the value of the item taken does not exceed $950, it is a misdemeanor violation of PC 490.2, petty theft, regardless of the nature of the item stolen and regardless of whether item was taken from the person. Can only be charged as a felony if the Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv).
PC 496(a) – Possession of Stolen Property Wobbler (could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony) If the value of the property involved does not exceed $950, it is a misdemeanor unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has a prior convection per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv).
PC 666/484(a)Petty Theft With Prior Convictions Where Δ has 3 or more prior convictions for certain theft offenses could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Can no longer charge PC666/484(a) unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant, has a prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv) or prior conviction for PC368(d) or PC 368(e). If so, can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If not, it is a violation of PC484(a) only.
H&S 11350(a) – Possession of Controlled Substance (Heroin, Cocaine) Straight Felony Misdemeanor unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has a prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv).
H&S 11357(a) – Possession of Concentrated Cannabis Wobbler (could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony) Misdemeanor unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has a prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv).
H&S 11377(a) – Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamines) Wobbler (could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony) Misdemeanor unless Δ is a PC 290 registrant or has a prior conviction per PC 667(e)(2)(c)(iv).

 

 

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