This past Election Day, California voters passed a new law, Proposition 47, which will make some important changes to how drug possession and certain other crimes will be penalized by the criminal justice system.
What are some of the changes that the law introduces?
Due to Proposition 47, nonviolent drug possession for personal use will become a misdemeanor crime and, in most cases, no longer be considered a possible felony.
Other nonviolent crimes, including theft and forgery, also won't be potential felonies (under most situations) if they involve less than $950.
What are some of the effects on people charged with these crimes?
People who have already been convicted for these crimes on a felony level may be eligible for re-sentencing and an early release from the prison.
If you're charged with any of these crimes, you would be facing the prospect of less prison time. It's also possible that for a crime like drug possession, the courts will favor a more rehabilitative pathway involving drug treatment programs rather than lengthy incarceration.
When would penalties not be reduced?
Keep in mind that if you have a history of certain violent offenses or sexual offenses, you may not be able to benefit from lighter penalties. The people who are most likely to benefit are nonviolent offenders.
What could be some effects on California as a whole?
This new law is expected to ease some of the overcrowding of California prisons. The money saved from this measure will be funneled into schools and into mental health and drug treatment programs.
Even though some of these crimes have generally been reclassified and the sentences reduced, they are still serious crimes to be charged with and will still end up on your criminal record. If you live in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Corona or Riverside areas, be sure to contact us for strong legal representation.