Those convicted of nonviolent felony crimes in California had some great news this year. Proposition 47, "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act," was passed with nearly 60% of the vote and is already changing the lives of many of those facing harsh penalties for theft, fraud, and some drug crimes.
The new measure primarily aims to use the state savings made from reducing prison stays and decreasing overcrowded penitentiary populations to improve community programs. While these proceeds will go to afterschool programs and drug and mental health services, the proposition will also go a long way in creating a healthier prison system for workers and inmates and reuniting families of those facing undue consequences for nonviolent crimes.
Convictions that stand to be reconsidered by Prop 47 are primarily theft, fraud, and drug possession crimes. Under the new definitions, many of these crimes will now be considered misdemeanors—not felonies—and carry lighter sentences.
Crimes eligible for Prop 47 reconsideration:
- Forgery that did not result/pursue money or goods valued over $950
- Possession of stolen goods valued at $950 or less
- Shoplifting of goods that were valued at $950 or less
- Grand theft of money or goods valued at $950 or less
- Check and credit fraud that resulted in or pursued proceeds of $950 or less
- Drug possession, including cocaine, heroin, and date rape drugs
I was charged with one of these crimes—what now?
Prop 47 has already resulted in hundreds receiving lighter sentencing and early release, but there are still eligibility requirements that need to be vetted before a case can be considered. As part of the new law, any individual with a history of sexual or violent crimes convictions cannot be considered for Prop 47 amendment. California lawmakers made sure to include this requirement and prevent the proposition from becoming a "free pass" for anyone convicted of these crimes.
Even if you or a loved one doesn't have a history of violent or sexual crimes, there are still many uncertainties and procedures to grapple with—but an experienced Modesto criminal defense attorney can help. The team at Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated have been serving as criminal defense advocates for years now and have paid close attention to what Prop 47 could mean for California inmates and their families.
If you believe your or a loved one's criminal sentence can be positively affected by Prop 47, then we urge you contact our firm today. We're standing by with the answers you need.