Last November, 2014, California voted for Proposition 47, which downgraded “non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes” to misdemeanors. Since then, courts have reported a surge in petitions for resentencing or record purges. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office in 2012 estimated that drug charges will drop by nearly 40,000 after its passing.
The new law will make it easier for those with certain charges to rejoin society and save the state millions of dollars (not to mention jail space) in maintaining so many inmates. A 2012 Economist report stated that the U.S. was home to a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Some county jails have already released inmates since then.
It’s important that any affected person, whether in custody or out, move to have their record cleaned up following Prop. 47. If you’re in custody serving a sentence, this may be your key to the jail house door. Even if your conviction is old, removing a felony from your record can have a dramatic impact on your ability to obtain employment and other services. The magic figure to remember here is $950. In addition to crimes involving possession of a personal use amount of most drugs, those charged with the following crimes, as long as the value doesn’t exceed $950, may have their offenses downgraded:
|• Burglary from a store||• Receiving stolen property|
|• Grand theft||• Forgery|
|• Fraud||• Writing a bad check|
A reduction under Prop 47 doesn’t mean the record will be purged completely. In most cases, the felony will be reduced to a misdemeanor. This is very important. The misdemeanor can then be dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4. An expungement (with certain limitations) relieves the person from disclosing the conviction on a job application. A certificate of rehabilitation and/or a pardon, which is an entirely separate process, is required to wipe out the offense completely.
Prop. 47 also make things easier for a reliable Sacramento expungement attorney whose services include record clearance. Before Prop. 47, lawyers had to petition the court to reduce felony cases to misdemeanors. This was fully within the discretion of the judge. Now, in certain cases, the court has to reduce the offense. Obtaining an expungement for a misdemeanor offense completes the process.
In most cases, there is more to filing a petition for expungement than just filing the paperwork. Especially in the Prop 47 situation, there are numerous factors to consider. You may want to enlist the help of a criminal record expungement attorney in Sacramento. The legal team at Chastaine Jones Criminal Defense Attorneys, for instance, can provide you sound legal advice to obtain the most benefit from expungement and record clearance.