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Proposition 47: Reducing Felonies to Misdemeanors

by | Mar 6, 2015 | Firm News |

Proposition 47 passed in the last California state election and thousands, if not tens of thousands, of individuals have benefited. Voters understood that a lot was at stake. For far too long, Californians had accepted severe overcrowding in prisons. They also tolerated criminal records affecting people for a lifetime. Things have changed.

The most popular provision in Proposition 47 was the way in which drug crimes and minor theft crimes were handled. Incarcerated defendants were able to petition for release. Instead of treating every drug offender as a felon, steps were taken to acknowledge that substance abuse should be handled differently. Similarly, less violent convicts were spared from having to serve more time in state prison. So far, it has been estimated that over 2,000 non-violent inmates have been released.

Some are unaware of other relief available pursuant to Proposition 47. There is a section that deals with applications to reduce certain felonies to misdemeanors. The consequences of a reduction could positively impact a person in a number of ways.

Proposition 47 stated, in part:

“According to Section 1170.18, subdivision (f), “[a] person who has completed his or her sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or plea, of a felony or felonies who would have been guilty of a misdemeanor under this act had this act been in effect at the time of the offense, may file an application before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to have the felony conviction or convictions designated as misdemeanors.”

Again, most of the felonies eligible for reduction relief are drug crimes, and theft crimes where the value of the items did not exceed a certain amount. When an application is filed, and served to the District Attorney, it is only a matter of time before eligible applicants reap the benefits.

Employers almost always ask whether prospective employees have been convicted of a felony. If an individual qualifies for Proposition 47 reduction relief, it could change the way he or she answers that question.