In November, California residents voted to approve Proposition 47, also known as the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. By doing so, they set into motion a significant overhaul of our criminal justice system and fully embraced reforming outdated and ineffective sentencing laws. They also made California the first state in the nation to de-felonize the personal use of most controlled substances.
Prop 47 was a widely supported measure that reduced certain non-violent and non-serious crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
Examples of the crimes that became misdemeanors under Prop 47:
- Personal use of most illegal substances
- Forgery or fraud under $950
- Shoplifting or grand theft of property under $950
- Receiving stolen property under $950
- Writing bad checks under $950
With the passing of Proposition 47, individuals who have been charged or convicted of qualifying crimes may be eligible to have their cases dismissed or their sentences reduced - provided they meet the eligibility criteria. For some, this meant old convictions or terminating probation. For others, this meant a release from incarceration.
According to recently released data of Prop 47's first few months, hundreds of inmates across California have been released from custody because the new law reduced their felony convictions to misdemeanors. The number of released inmates, as of December 31, was 966. Experts believe many more inmates serving time in California jails or prisons may still be eligible for a reduction and release.
If you have questions about Proposition 47 and how it may apply to your particular case, contact our Ventura criminal lawyers for a free and confidential case evaluation. We serve clients throughout Southern California.