Many people think that Proposition 47 recently passed in November 2014 will reduce just about any felony to a misdemeanor. Not so. Only simple possession of drugs and some low-level theft and fraud cases qualify.
Second degree burglary based on shoplifting. There is a new Penal Code created by Prop 47. Now, the crime of shoplifting is listed in Penal Code 459a. That makes it a misdemeanor to enter a commercial establishment with the intent to commit a theft while the business was open during regular business hours. It used to be that if you entered a store with the intent to steal, they could arrest you for second degree burglary [Penal Code 459/460(b)]. That charge was a "wobbler" and could be either a felony or a misdemeanor. The police would always arrest for the felony charge, even if the DA chose later to file only a misdemeanor burglary or a simple petty theft. If you have a prior conviction for second degree (commercial) burglary based on a shoplifting incident and the value of the property taken was under $950, it would qualify for redesignation to a misdemeanor under Prop 47. NOTE: Residential (first degree) burglary or other forms of second degree burglary (such as auto burglary or breaking into a closed business or detached garage) are not affected by Prop 47.
Forgery of checks
If you have a felony conviction for forgery of checks that total less than $950, it potentially qualifies for reduction to a misdemeanor under Prop 47. NOTE: If you were convicted of identity theft (Penal Code 530.5) along with the forgery, then the forgery charge would NOT qualify.
Under Prop 47, if you have a felony conviction for insufficient checks under Penal Code 476a, as long as they did not total over $950, it potentially qualifies for reduction. However, if you have three or more prior convictions for forgery (PC 470), fictitious instruments (PC 475) or 476 (insufficient checks), you would not qualify.
Grand theft used to be theft over $400. Recently, the dollar amount changed to $950. If you have a prior conviction for grand theft as a felony, but the dollar amount was under $950, it would qualify. Similarly, if you have any other form of grand theft (such as grand theft person, grand theft auto, grand theft of a firearm, etc.), it may also qualify for reduction. Those three forms of grand theft didn't have a dollar amount - theft of a firearm of any value was considered grand theft, just like theft from a person (pickpocketing) of any value was grand theft.
Receiving Stolen Property
If you have a prior felony conviction for receiving stolen property and the value was under $950, that charge is eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor.
Petty theft with a prior
If you have a felony conviction for petty theft with a prior (Penal Code 666), it may be eligible for reduction. If your conviction was solely because you have either 1 prior theft conviction (or 3 priors once the law changed a few years ago), it is potentially able to be reduced. If you were convicted for petty theft with a prior and the prior was grand or petty theft from an elder [Penal Code 368(d) or (e)], auto theft under Vehicle Code 10851, burglary (PC 459), carjacking (PC 215), robbery (PC 211) or felony possession of stolen property (PC 496), your charge is NOT eligible to be reduced.
Simple Possession (personal use) of Drugs
Possession of a controlled substance under Health and Safety Code 11377 (typically methamphetamine and ecstasy) is now a misdemeanor. If you have a prior felony conviction for possession of meth, you can get it reclassified as a misdemeanor. Possession of concentrated cannabis under Health and Safety Code 11357(a) is now also a misdemeanor. Possession of a controlled substance under Health and Safety Code 11350 (typically cocaine and heroin) is now a misdemeanor
What Drug charges are NOT covered by Prop 47?
Possession for sales of any substance under 11351, 11351.5, 11352, 11378, 11379, 11359, 11360 are NOT affected by Prop 47 and cannot be reduced. Possession of controlled substances in jail or prison (Penal Code 4573). Yes, those are typically simple possession charges, but because it occurs in a custody facility, they are NOT included in Prop 47.
Additional resources provided by the author
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