Senate Bill 483 (SB 483) was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8 2021. Read below to learn more about how SB 483 will change things for thousands of people who have been sentenced based on enhancements.


What Does SB 483 Do?

Aaron Spolin

Award-winning SB 483 attorney Aaron Spolin is ready to evaluate your case and help you understand how this bill can impact you or your loved one.

SB 483 addresses the resentencing of people who have been convicted with certain sentencing enhancements.

Legally Invalid Sentences

The bill states that any sentencing enhancement that was handed down before January 1, 2020, for a prior separate prison or county jail felony term, is legally invalid. It does exclude enhancements for prior convictions of sexually violent offenses.

It also states that any sentence enhancement imposed prior to January 1, 2018, for prior convictions for crimes specifically related to controlled substances, is legally invalid. It does exclude enhancements that were imposed for prior convictions that involve the use of a minor in the commission of offenses that involved controlled substances.

Deadlines for Identifying Inmates and Completing Resentencing

SB 483 requires the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and each county correctional administrator to identify every inmate in their custody who is serving a term that includes a repealed enhancement. Once identified, they must provide the name of each inmate, their date of birth, and relevant case or docket number to the sentencing court that imposed the enhancement. That information must be provided by specified deadlines.

  • By March 1, 2022 – For anyone who has served their base term and other enhancement and are currently serving a sentence based on the enhancement. All other enhancements are considered to have been served first.
  • By July 1, 2022 – For all other individuals.

Upon receiving that information from the CDCR and/or county correctional administrators, the court is required to review each judgment for those inmates and verify that their current judgment includes a repealed enhancement. If it does, then the court will recall their original sentence and resentence the defendant. There are deadlines for reviews and resentencing.

  • By October 1, 2022 – For people who have served their base term and any other enhancement and are currently serving a sentence based on an enhancement.
  • By December 31, 2023 – For all other individuals.

Length of New Sentence

SB 483 specifically states that resentencing should result in a lesser sentence than was originally imposed unless the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that a lesser sentence would endanger public safety. Under no circumstances should resentencing result in a longer sentence than the one that was originally imposed.

The resentencing court may not impose a sentence that exceeds the middle term stated by law. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the court originally imposed the upper term incarceration penalty, the resentencing court may deviate from the middle term. Similarly, if there are aggravating circumstances that justify the imposition of a term exceeding the middle term, and those facts have been stipulated to by the defendant or found to be true beyond a reasonable doubt at trial by the jury or a judge, then the resentencing court may deviate from the middle term of imprisonment.

Consideration of Post-Conviction Factors

This bill allows the court to consider post-conviction factors at resentencing.

Appointment of Counsel

SB 483 requires that the court appoint counsel to any inmate qualified to go through the process of resentencing under this law. An inmate may also hire a private criminal defense attorney who can represent them throughout the process and ensure they receive proper resentencing.

Resentencing Hearing

Resentencing would generally take place at a hearing. However, if both parties agree, that hearing may be waived. If a hearing takes place, it may be conducted remotely through the use of remote technology, such as video conferencing software. However, the defendant must agree to a remote hearing.

Addressing Systemic Racial Bias in Sentencing

SB 483 specifically states that with this bill, the Legislature is finding and declaring that they are attempting to ensure equal justice and address systemic racial bias in sentencing. In doing this, they are retroactively applying SB 180 and SB 136 to all inmates currently incarcerated for these repealed sentence enhancements.

SB 180, also called The Rise Act, repealed the three-year sentence enhancement for prior drug convictions. It did have exceptions, including when the crime involved drug manufacturing and convictions involving a minor.

SB 136, which was signed into law in October 2019, restricts a mandatory one-year sentence enhancement that is added to a person’s base sentence for each prior prison or felony jail term served.

Impact on Plea Agreements

SB 483 also states that any changes made to a sentence by the court as a result of this bill may not be used as a basis for the prosecutor or court to rescind a plea agreement.

  1. What Does SB 483 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 483?
  3. Resentencing Process Under SB 483
  4. How a Top CA Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 483?

Criminal appeal attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. discuss clients that will benefit from SB 483

Criminal appeal attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. discuss clients that will benefit from SB 483.

Any inmate who has been sentenced based on enhancements is eligible for resentencing under SB 483. The bill specifically targets those who have drug enhancements and those who received enhancements based on prior prison or felony jail terms served.

The goal of this bill is to reduce some of the long prison and jail sentences that have been proven to have a negative impact on community safety, well-being, and families. Further, research finds that extended incarceration does not have a positive impact on public safety. These sentences disproportionately impact Black, Latino, and Native American communities in California.

  1. What Does SB 483 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 483?
  3. Resentencing Process Under SB 483
  4. How a Top CA Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Resentencing Process Under SB 483

An inmate does not have to petition or apply for resentencing under SB 483. Instead, the CDCR or county correctional administrator will identify individuals to which this bill applies.

Those inmates who qualify for resentencing will be given an opportunity to obtain legal counsel. The court may appoint a public attorney, or an inmate may opt to hire a private criminal appeals lawyer. In many cases, it can be more beneficial to hire a private lawyer who can gather information regarding your original sentencing and present any necessary arguments at the resentencing hearing.

The defendant may waive a resentencing hearing; however, they are entitled to one. Your attorney can use the hearing as an opportunity to argue in your favor that your sentence should be reduced as much as possible. Your hearing may be remote if you so choose.

  1. What Does SB 483 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 483?
  3. Resentencing Process Under SB 483
  4. How a Top CA Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How a Top CA Appeals Lawyer Can Help

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Spolin Law P.C. is a leading criminal appeals law firm. Their legal team handles post-conviction matters throughout California.

Although the California justice system is supposed to identify any individuals who qualify for sentence reduction through SB 483, it can still be beneficial to work with a California appeals lawyer. Your lawyer can represent you at the resentencing hearing and ensure the new sentence is appropriate.

As is discussed above, there is a chance that the judge might deviate from SB 483’s requirement that the middle term of imprisonment be used for resentencing. The prosecution or the court might argue that there are aggravating factors or public safety concerns that warrant a higher term. It’s essential that you have an attorney on your side to argue for the lowest term of incarceration possible.

SB 483 attorney Aaron Spolin is a former prosecutor and an award-winning criminal appeals lawyer in California. He uses proven strategies to achieve success in post-conviction cases. Mr. Spolin and his legal team at Spolin Law P.C. stay up-to-date on new laws in California and are constantly working to find ways to benefit clients. Call us today at (310) 683-4871 to learn how we can help in your case.