How Long Can I File A Petition To Resentence Under Prop 47?
On November 4, 2014 California voters passed Proposition 47, known as the Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties, Initiative Statute. This referendum – also called the Safe Neighborhoods and School Act – recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies. These offenses included crimes of theft, fraud, and drug possession.
The objective of Prop 47 was to reduce overcrowding in the state’s prison system and provide an opportunity for nonviolent offenders to obtain release and rehabilitation services. Monies saved as a result of Prop 47 would be allocated toward education and dropout prevention, mental health treatment, and drug abuse programs. All meant to keep offenders out of the prison system.
What Does Prop 47 Mean For Existing Sentences?
Prop 47 affects both future convictions and retroactively covers offenses already sentenced. A petition for resentencing would be necessary and previous felony offenses (or wobblers) would be reduced to misdemeanors and resentenced. This reduction of the punishment for the crime is referred to as a commutation or commuted sentence.
Prop 47 has already reduced California’s state prison population by tens of thousands. In the first year alone since passing 4,700 offenders were resentenced and released.
The original deadline for petitions to resentence under Prop 47 was November 4, 2017; however, due to the number of petitions made and eligible sentences, Governor Jerry Brown extended the deadline to November 4, 2022.
What Will Happen To My Conviction And Sentence?
Appealing your sentence under Prop 47 can be done by those currently serving a sentence as well as those who have completed their sentence. The process begins by filing a petition to modify the sentence (resentencing). The Judge will determine whether the conviction would have been a misdemeanor under Prop 47, grant the petition for resentencing by changing the conviction to a misdemeanor, and (if you are still serving a sentence) make an immediate reduction to your sentence. Typically resulting in release from incarceration.
For those who have already completed their sentence, the reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor can restore your rights to serve on a jury or the armed forces, improve your employment opportunities (given that you no longer have to disclose you have been convicted of a felony), and allow you to pursue professional licensure (such as insurance or real estate). Overall, the reduction of the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor means a better quality of life and future outlook.
What Do I Do Now?
If you or a relative or friend is currently in custody or served a sentence for a felony offense including theft, grand theft, grand theft auto, grand theft firearm, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, possession of a controlled substance, you may be eligible for relief. It is critical you consult with an experienced and qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer. Our California team has years of experience researching and preparing petitions under Prop 47. Remember, not only is the relief immediate on a commuted sentence but the impact on your future from seeing the felony reduced is significant. Contact us now for a Free Consultation.