California Passes Proposition 47

In this past November election, there were some very important initiatives up for consideration on the ballots. One of those was California Proposition 47, also known as the Reduced Penalties for some Crimes Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce many nonviolent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. The passage of this proposition has reduced criminal charges for thousands across the state.

What does Proposition 47 mean for my criminal charges?

There were a few reasons why Proposition 47 was seen as necessary. For one, many of those sentenced to time behind bars pose no threat to public safety and mainly concern nonviolent drug possessions and petty thefts. Since these low-level crimes face lessened criminal penalties, it increases the chance for those convicted to become productive citizens with less barriers preventing their employment, housing, and access to assistance programs. Further, the proposition redirects millions in prison spending to where it is really needed, mainly school and treatment centers.

Proposition 47 specifically:

  • Mandates low-level and nonviolent crimes be categorized as misdemeanors unless the accused has been convicted of murder, rape, or other sex offenses and gun crimes.
  • Permits 10,000 inmates to receive re-sentencing for those crimes that have been newly defined as misdemeanors.
  • Reviews and assesses those seeking re-sentencing in order to ensure they do not pose a risk to public safety.
  • Develops a Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund in order to put savings by the state into the Department of Education, Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, and Board of State and Community Correction.

The passage of Proposition 47 has immense implications for criminal justice. Not only does this reduce the prison time and fines that many are unnecessarily facing, but it also has the capacity to reduce the amount of money spent on criminal justice by the states. The money that would have been spent on keeping minor criminals behind bars will now be spent on preventing students from dropping out of school, increasing mental health and substance abuse treatments, and decreasing the overall likelihood of similar crimes from occurring in the future.

If you are wondering how the passage of Proposition 47 affects you or your loved ones, call Moises Aquilar, Esq. right away. Our attorneys can help explain what options you may have for your charges, including the option for a reduced criminal sentence.