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Proposition 47 and Prior Felony Convictions
WHAT IS PROP. 47?
On Nov. 4, 2014, the voters of California passed Proposition 47, a law that reduces some prior theft and drug-related felony convictions to misdemeanors. The law is codified in Penal Code section 1170.18. Request for reduction must be filed by Nov. 4, 2017.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF GETTING A CONVICTION REDUCED UNDER PROP 47?
Once a conviction is reduced, it is considered a misdemeanor for all purposes from the date of reduction going forward, EXCEPT that reduction does not restore a person’s right to own or possess firearms.
WHEN IS A CONVICTION ELIGIBLE TO BE REDUCED?
1. A conviction is reducible from a felony to a misdemeanor if the charge a person was convicted of is a qualifying Prop. 47 offense, AND
2. The person applying for the reduction does not have certain prior convictions.
WHAT CHARGES QUALIFY?
Commercial Burglary of a Store During Regular Business Hours (PC 459/460)
Forgery of a check, bank note, or other financial instrument (PC470-476)
Check Fraud/Passing Bad Checks (PC 476a)
Grand Theft (PC 487)
Petty Theft with Priors (PC 666)
Possession of Stolen Property (PC 496(a))
(all of the above charges are only reducible if the value of the property is under $950)
Simple Possession of Certain Drugs (HS 11350, 11377, 11357(a))
WHAT PRIOR CONVICTIONS MAKE A PERSON INELIGIBLE FOR PROP 47 RELIEF?
Murder or Gross Vehicular Manslaughter (including attempted) (PC 187-191.5)
All sex crimes requiring mandatory registration under PC 290(c), including Indecent e
Exposure, Possession of Child Porn, Pimping & Pandering, etc.
Assault on Police Officer or Firefighter with a Machine Gun (PC 245(d)(3))
Solicitation to Commit Murder (PC 653f/187)
Possession of a Weapon of Mass Destruction (PC 11418(a)(1)
Any serious or violent felony punishable by life in prison or death.
HOW DOES A CONVICTION GET REDUCED?
The person who was convicted, or an attorney, must file a petition with the county where the conviction occurred or the county where the person served their probation. In San Mateo County, the person or their representative should call attorney Laura Torres at the Private Defender Program at 650-298-4000. She will help determine if the case is eligible and file a petition on your behalf with the San Mateo County Superior Court.
If the conviction is from any county in California other than San Mateo County, contact the Public Defender of that County.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE THE PETITION IS FILED?
The petition will be reviewed by the district attorney and a judge. Each will review the petition to determine if they agree that it should be granted. If they agree, then the reduction is granted and no court hearing is necessary. In a very small portion of the cases there will be a hearing. It is important to leave a current phone number and address with the Private/Public Defender office in case a hearing is required.
HOW LONG WILL THIS LAW LAST?
Currently the Prop. 47 law includes an expiration of when these type of petitions for reduction can be filed. Do not wait, because all petitions must be filed by Nov. 4, 2017. Any conviction reduced under this law will remain a misdemeanor even if the time for filing of petitions expires.