California Proposition 47: Criminal Justice Reform

Tuesday, November 4th is California's General Election, a time when voters will be electing legislative officials and choosing to support or oppose several statewide ballot measures. If you've been watching TV or listening to the radio in the past several weeks, it's likely that you've heard campaign commercials, including commercials telling you to vote a certain way on specific measures.

As a criminal and DUI defense law firm, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. is passionate about new laws that affect the criminal justice system. This November, California Proposition 47 will be on the ballot, and can potentially have a sweeping impact on the criminal system, prison populations, and the rights of non-serious and nonviolent offenders.

What is Prop 47?

The Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative, or "The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act" will be on the upcoming November 4th ballot. If passed, Prop 47 would reduce classifications for most nonviolent and non-serious crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. In certain cases, charges involving these crimes may still remain a felony, including cases where defendants have prior convictions for serious or violent offenses.

Reduced classification would apply to the following nonviolent property and drug crimes:

  • Shoplifting of property less than $950
  • Grand theft of property less than $950
  • Receiving stolen property less than $950
  • Forgery less than $950
  • Fraud less than $950
  • Writing a bad check less than $950
  • Personal use of most illegal drugs

Prop 47 falls in line with encouraging rehabilitation and leniency for non-serious crimes, rather than harsh and outdated punishment – a trend that has been embraced in many jurisdictions and states across the nation. This is why we here at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. encourage voters to case their ballots for this measure. We believe that reducing classifications for these crimes makes logical sense, saves money on excessive prison expenditures, is fair to non-violent offenders, and frees up prison space to keep the serious felons incarcerated.

Re-Sentencing

If passed, Prop 47 will not only become law moving forward, but will also apply to any individual currently serving a sentence for offenses the measure reduces to a misdemeanor. Those who are serving these sentences will be eligible for re-sentencing or release, but will first have to undergo a risk assessment and review of their criminal history.

Should the initiative pass, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can help anyone who is eligible for the reduction from felony to misdemeanor for the listed crimes. If this may apply to you or someone you love, contact an Orange County criminal defense lawyer from our firm to discuss your case.

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