Prop 47: Top 3 Things You Should Know about Reducing Your Felony

As a California Prop 47 attorney, I help my clients remove hindrances caused by past criminal convictions.

Part of the process of clearing your criminal record may include a variety of legal options such as:

  • early termination of probation;
  • expungement;
  • felony reduction to misdemeanor (Prop 47);
  • felony reduction to misdemeanor (Penal Code 17b).

Proposition 47 or “Prop 47” is legislation enacted by ballot proposition in California on November 4, 2014. This law reduces certain felonies to misdemeanors – but not automatically.

You have to file a Prop 47 motion before the court in order to get your felony reduced, and you also must be eligible under Prop 47.

For help getting your felony reduced under Prop 47 or Penal Code 17(b), you can contact me below.

What follows are the top 3 things you should know about reducing your felony to a misdemeanor under Prop 47.

prop 47

#1 Prop 47 is Not the Only Way to Reduce Your Felony

A motion under Prop 47 to reduce your felony is a limited remedy that is only available for certain types of felony offenses. More expansive is Penal Code 17(b), which is a legal remedy that will also reduce your felony.

If you are eligible for both remedies (Prop 47 as well as 17b), which path you choose depends on your goals.

A motion under Prop 47 is not discretionary with the judge. Assuming all other elements of the law are satisfied, the judge must grant your motion. This means a Prop 47 motion is in some ways “easier” to get granted.

A Penal Code 17(b) motion, on the other hand, can be denied by the judge in the judge’s discretion. While more difficult to get granted by the Court, a 17(b) motion comes with greater benefit (see #3 below).

#2 Prop 47 Only Applies to Certain Types of Offenses

Under Proposition 47, certain criminal offenses that were once classified as felonies are now classified as misdemeanors.

A Prop 47 motion is a required formal request to the Court to ask the Court, in light of the new law, to reduce your felony to its new classification as a misdemeanor.

This is precisely why the judge lacks discretion to deny a Prop 47 motion, assuming you are eligible for such legal relief – because regardless of what the judge thinks, the law must be followed!

But only the following offenses are eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor under Prop 47:

  • Penal Code 459 – Commercial Burglary: if committed during business hours and the amount stoled was $950 or less
  • Penal Code 470 – Forgery: if the amount was $950 or less and you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Penal Code 476a(a) – NSF Checks: if the amount was $950 or less and you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Penal Code 487 – Grand Theft: if the amount was $950 or less and you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Penal Code 496(a) – Possession of Stolen Property: if the amount was $950 or less and you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Penal Code 666/ 484(a) – Petty Theft with Prior Convictions: if the amount was $950 or less and you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Health & Safety Code 11350(a) – Possession of a Controlled Substance: if you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Health & Safety Code 11357(a) – Possession of Concentrated Cannabis: if you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions
  • Health & Safety Code 11377(a) – Possession of Mushrooms/ Meth/ PCP: if you are not a sex offender or have certain other prior convictions

The above is a list of offenses eligible for reduction under Prop 47. As you can tell, there are many caveats and exceptions to your eligibility for this relief.

Remember that if you are not Prop 47 eligible, you may be eligible for Penal Code 17(b) relief.

You can contact me below for a free consultation to learn about your rights and options.

#3 Prop 47 Doesn’t Restore Gun Rights

If convicted of a felony in California, you will lose your right to own or possess a firearm.

A 17(b) motion, if granted, comes with the benefit of restoring your gun rights. Not so with Prop 47!

Under Prop 47, the Court has the power to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, but your gun rights will not be restored as they would be if the judge reduces your felony under Penal Code 17(b).

Important: your gun rights will not be restored even under Penal Code 17(b) if a misdemeanor conviction of the same offense would also remove your gun rights.

Get Help from an Experienced Attorney

It can be difficult for the average person to understand the law, court procedure, and be able to effectively argue in written and oral form before the Court.

As a record clearing attorney, I devote my law practice to taking this burden from your shoulders and getting you the relief in court you deserve.

You can contact me for a free consultation below.

 

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Penal Code 17b

Felony Expungement

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