Even though it has only been a few months since Proposition 47 has made its debut, the incarceration rate throughout the state of California has dropped a noticeable degree. As most of you may know, the controversial Proposition 47 (“Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiatives”) made its way onto the ballot via the California ballot initiative process. This means that the proposed law had garnered enough petition signatures to make it onto the ballot. It was then voted on by California voters this past November, and was approved by the majority (59.61%) of the state’s voters. Since it became law, the city of Los Angeles , which houses the country’s largest jail system, saw an inmate population decline from 18,601 to 17,285 by the New Year. As such, studies have shown that it is not jail-time that is actually behind the drop in the nation’s crime rate, but rather factors such as commonsense policy reform.
What This Means for You
Specifically, Proposition 47 will reduce certain felonies into a misdemeanor, including:
- Shoplifting- where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950;
- Grand theft- where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950;
- Receiving stolen property- where the value of the property does not exceed $950;
- Forgery- where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950;
- Fraud- where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950;
- Writing a bad check- where the value of the check does not exceed $950; and
- Personal use of most illegal drugs.
The Difference between Misdemeanor and Felony
In California, a misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to one year in jail, and typically a monetary fine of no more than $1,000. By contrast, a felony is a more serious type of crime and punishable with a minimum of one year to life in prison and steeper fines, depending on the specific offense. While arrest records and convictions of misdemeanors or felonies will be recorded and maintained on your permanent criminal record regardless, the social stigma and legal ramifications that come with felony convictions are likely to have far more adverse effects on your future employment opportunities, housing options, and quality of life in general.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
For those offenses that are not affected by Proposition 47’s policy reforms, a skilled attorney may be able to help you reduce your felony charges down to misdemeanor offenses or get them dismissed entirely. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje has decades of experience in representing individuals facing felony charges, including but not limited to:
- Manslaughter (voluntary and involuntary);
- Assault and battery;
- Aggravated battery (battery with serious bodily injury);
- Aggravated assault;
- Sexual battery;
- “Three strike” cases;
- False imprisonment;
- Mayhem and aggravated mayhem;
- Domestic violence;
- Criminal threats;
- Drug possession/distribution/transportation/manufacture;
- Hate-motivated crimes;
- Internet crimes;
- Child pornography;
- Gang-related crimes;
- Petty theft (misdemeanor), grand theft and petty theft with priors (can be misdemeanor or felony);
- Auto theft (“grand theft auto”);
- Rape; and
- Insurance fraud.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony or even a misdemeanor, do not try to represent yourself. Felony charges are serious and require a skilled and dedicated legal professional to advocate for your rights. Our experienced California felony criminal defense attorneys will represent your zealously and do everything in our power to win your case. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call our San Diego office at (619) 229-1870 or our North County location at (760) 476-0901. You can also visit us online.