Prop 47 provides significant relief to those with harsh criminal records


In the midterm election this past year, the people of California passed Proposition 47, The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.  As a criminal defense attorney, I’ve been asked numerous times about Proposition 47 and what it is.  Proposition 47 made several major changes in California Criminal Law.

  • Simple drug possession charges, no matter what the drug, are now misdemeanors.
  • All theft offenses where the amount taken is less than $950 are now misdemeanors, even if the property taken is a motor vehicle.
  • These changes in the law are retroactive.  Anyone currently convicted of a felony that is now a misdemeanor under Proposition 47 is entitled to resentencing to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.  Resentencing includes releasing from custody those who have already served more than a year on the felony that is now a misdemeanor.  Misdemeanors, by definition under California state law, carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in the county jail.


The biggest way this could affect you is if you have a felony drug possession conviction in California.  If you were convicted of possession of cocaine for example (HS § 11350), this used to be a felony.  As a convicted felon you do not have the right to vote and you do not have the right to own or possess a firearm.  But, you can go to court and be resentenced to a misdemeanor so you will no longer be a felon.  All rights lost as a result of the felony conviction will be restored.

There are many felony convictions that can be resentenced pursuant to Prop 47:

  • Possession of methamphetamine (HS § 11377)
  • Possession of prescription drugs (HS § 11377)
  • Possession of cocaine (HS § 11350)
  • Possession of heroin (HS § 11350)
  • Petty theft with three (3) prior thefts (CPC § 666)
  • Grand Theft of Automobile where value of Auto is less than $950 (CPC 487(d)(1).)

If you have a felony drug possession or a qualifying theft related felony you may be entitled to resentencing under Prop 47.  If you would like to find out if you’re eligible, contact our law firm and speak with an attorney today.

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