On November 4, 2014, the voters of California passed Proposition 47 which now requires a misdemeanor sentence instead of felony for some drug and property offenses. The new law is inapplicable to defendants with prior convictions for serious or violent crimes and registered sex offenders. There is a distinct list of crimes that fall under the guise of Proposition 47. The initiative reduces the classification of most non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. The charges that can be reduced to a misdemeanor include the following: Shoplifting, if 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 possession of concentrated cannabis, methamphetamines, mushrooms, PCP heroin or cocaine. As noted above, Penal Code 459, commercial burglary is now a wobbler and can be a misdemeanor if committed during business hours and the amount stolen is less than $950.00. Penal Code 470, forgery, can be reduced if the amount does not exceed $950.00 and the defendant has no prior convictions for sex crimes. The other sections of the Penal Code that can be reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47 are Penal Code 496, 487, 476a, and Health and Safety Codes 11350(a), 11357(a) and 11377(a).
The new law permits re-sentencing for any individual currently serving a prison sentence for any of the offenses listed in Proposition 47. When making the application to the court to reduce the case to a misdemeanor, it requires a detailed review of the applicant's criminal history to ensure that they do not pose a risk to the public.