Legal Blog

Eligible Offenses Under Prop 47

Published on March 19, 2021

California Proposition 47 is the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. In 2014, California voters approved lowering the charge and penalties for certain offenses and allowing individuals convicted of these crimes to petition the court to reclassify their convictions and resentence them.

If you are currently imprisoned for a Prop 47 offense that was originally a felony, it is best to talk with a lawyer about resentencing. Your original sentence for a felony could be significantly reduced. You may have also completed your sentence for an eligible offense, in which case an attorney can help with reclassification.

Spolin Law Firm, PC, assists individuals with resentencing and reclassification. Aaron Spolin is an award-winning California appeals attorney and former prosecutor. He will carefully review your case to determine if you are eligible and guide you through the court process. Reach out online or call (310) 424-5816 to set up a free consultation.

Prop 47 Reduced Several Felonies

Prop 47 lowered specific non-violent property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, unless they had a prior violent or sex crime conviction. This helps individuals in two ways.

Misdemeanors carry lighter sentences than felonies and, in many situations, fewer collateral consequences. A felony record can be extremely damaging to someone’s future.

Prop 47 Eligible Offenses

The offenses included in Prop 47 are:

  • Shoplifting: Less than $950 worth of merchandise
  • Petty theft: Property worth less than $950
  • Receiving stolen property: Less than $950’s worth
  • Forgery: Value of forged instrument must be less than $950
  • Fraud: Less than $950’s worth
  • Writing a bad check/insufficient funds: Less than $950’s worth
  • Simple drug possession: Personal use of controlled substances

Some of these were felonies or wobblers, which means the prosecution has discretion in charging it as a misdemeanor or felony. Now, they are misdemeanors every time.

If you were convicted before November 2014, talk with us about resentencing or reclassification.

Resentencing – Are You or a Loved One Serving Time?

People currently serving time in California prisons, on probation, or parole for a Prop 47 offense can ask the court to reduce their sentence to what it would be as a misdemeanor. You must file a petition with the court that entered the original judgment against you.

If you are eligible, the judge recalls your previous sentence and resentences you under the new misdemeanor offenses. However, the court can refuse to resentence you if it finds you pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.

If you are resentenced, you will be given credit for time served. You are also subject to up to one year of parole. Therefore, you could be out of prison much sooner, even right away, if you served over a year.

If you are granted parole or probation, make sure to follow all the conditions. A probation or parole violation could send you back to court and then prison.

Reclassification – Did You Complete Your Sentence?

Have you completed your sentence for a past Prop 47 offense? If so, talk with a lawyer about getting your conviction reclassified as a misdemeanor.

The first step is making sure you are eligible. Your conviction has to be for one of the offenses listed above. You also cannot have certain other crimes on your record, such as rape, child molestation, murder, or identity theft. You are not eligible if you are a registered sex offender. Here is a full list of disqualifying convictions.

If attorney Aaron Spolin finds you are eligible, he will guide you through the paperwork and filing your petition in the court that handed down the original felony judgment. You also have to serve the district attorney’s office with the forms to show you are asking for a reclassification. If you are eligible, then the court must change the felony to a misdemeanor.

Deadline for Filing

The deadline for filing a resentencing and reclassification petition is Nov. 4, 2022, or a later date if you can show reasonable cause. Though you have about two years left to take advantage of these changes, there is no need to wait. Find out if you are eligible as soon as possible.

Let an Experienced Appeals Lawyer Help You

Resentencing and reclassification under Prop 47 are similar, but not the same thing. It is essential to have an attorney represent you throughout either process.

At Spolin Law Firm, PC, we will thoroughly review your circumstances, and if you are eligible, we will guide you through the process. Call us right away at (310) 424-5816 or use our online form to set up a consultation.

Categories: Appeals

What Crimes Fall Under The Three Strikes Law in California

Published on March 8, 2021

California’s Three Strikes Law was originally established in 1994. Under this legislation, harsher punishments are given to defendants with prior felony convictions known as “strikes.”

What happens after your second strike?

As stipulated by the California Three Strikes Law, if a defendant is convicted of a new felony after having already suffered a prior strike conviction, they will be sentenced to twice the standard penalty for that crime. In addition, they will be statutorily ineligible for probation, and may be required to serve up to 80-85% of their sentence, as opposed to the usual 50% percent with good behavior, depending on the severity of the new offense

What happens after your third strike?

If a defendant is convicted of a serious or violent felony for a third time, the punishments only worsen. For third strike offenders, the state mandates a sentence of 25 years to life. In addition, they are ineligible for probation, and must complete their entire sentence unless they qualify for early nonviolent parole under Prop 57. See In re Edwards (2018) 26 Cal.App.5th 1181,

What crimes fall under the Three Strikes Law?

Since its enactment in the 1990’s, there have been some amendments to the legislation. The passage of Proposition 36 in 2012 has redefined which types of cases apply to the Three Strikes Law. Under Proposition 36, to receive a third strike, the defendant must have committed a “serious or violent felony.”

Prior to the 2012 reforms, any felony, no matter how minor, might have triggered a third strike. Now, however, only major felony crimes like rape are punishable under the Three Strikes Law. Below is a list of other crimes that still qualify as third strikes underthe new legislation.

Examples of “violent” felonies:

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter,
  • Oral copulation or sodomy by force,
  • Arson,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Carjacking,
  • Assault with a deadly weapon, and
  • Any felony involving a firearm

Examples of “serious” felonies:

  • First-degree burglary,
  • Robbery,
  • Grand theft involving a firearm, and
  • Sale of cocaine, heroin, PCP or methamphetamine to a minor

Can courts remove strikes?

In certain cases, courts may choose to dismiss prior strikes. Once a defendant files what is called a Romero Motion, the judge assesses the circumstances of the case to determine if a dismissal is appropriate. When doing so, they look at the type of crime, how long ago the prior strikes happened, and the defendant’s criminal history.

Can a defendant appeal a Three Strikes sentence?

The recent revisions to the Three Strikes Law under Proposition 36 give those who were convicted of crimes no longer included in the legislation the chance to appeal their sentences. If their appeal is successful, the defendant may have a chance at an early or immediate release.

Spolin Law P.C.’s success rate is based on our strong desire to win each case we handle. Call us or reach out online to learn how we can handle your  Writ of Habeas Corpus.

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