Passage of Prop 47 is a big deal. Experienced criminal defense attorneys, public defenders, and even those on the other side of the isle, district attorneys fought for and supported Proposition 47. The majority of voters in the State of California agreed. It went into effect the day after it passed on November 5, 2014.
In a nutshell, while it will benefit many individuals, it will generally not benefit those who are required to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290 subdivision (c) or a prior strike convictions specified in Penal Code section 667 subdivision (e)(2)(C)(iv).
In cases where the value of the items taken does not exceed $950, it can only be a misdemeanor even though a defendant may have had the intent to shoplift when he or she entered the establishment. Also, the individual cannot be double charged with Second Degree Burglary and Shoplifting because the definition of “Shoplifting” has been redefined to include the intent to shoplift at the time of entry.
Other Theft Offenses:
The magic number appears to $950. In most theft and forgery cases, so long as the value of the item does not exceed $950, then it is a misdemeanor unless the individual is disqualified for some reason such as disqualifying prior convictions as listed above.
Possession of Drugs for Personal Use:
Depending on the county a criminal defendant was arrested in, he or she could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor for “wobbler” drug possession offenses. For some drugs, it was a felony just because of the drug classification. It never made much sense. Now, a violation of Health and Safety Code sections 11377, 11350, and 11357 subdivision (a) are only misdemeanors unless there is an exclusion due to a disqualifying conviction as listed above.
What if You Have a Pending Case?
If you currently have a pending case and Prop 47 applies, good news! The law will have to apply unless there is an exclusion as listed above. Talk to your criminal defense attorney.
What if You Were Already Sentenced?
There is a provision pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.18 that allows a qualifying conviction to be reduced to a misdemeanor and be resentenced if you are currently serving a sentence.
For specifics relating to your case, you should speak to the lawyer who helped you with your case. If you were represented by a public defender’s office, you should contact that office. Many public defender offices such as the one in Sacramento and members of the California Public Defender’s Association have been preparing so that individuals can benefit from the passage of Proposition 47!