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Prop 47 Passes in California – Numerous Felonies Are Now Misdemeanors

OK, so Prop 47 has passed in California. Numerous felonies are now misdemeanors, there are some fine points to figure out and I will likely be posting more information about this soon. But for now, here’s the broad strokes.

First, ***and this is important***: The following offenses are now automatically misdemeanors unless the person has been previously charged in a very narrow category of violent felonies called “super strikes” or is currently required to register as a sex offender. Even in those cases, the prosecution still has the option to file these offenses as misdemeanors.

For everyone else, these offenses are now misdemeanors (other exceptions are noted). Ready? OK. Let’s do this.

SOME COMMERCIAL BURGLARY IS NOW SHOPLIFTING – There is now a new code section for commercial burglary. Penal Code Section 459.5 is a new misdemeanor. If someone enters a commercial business, during business hours, with the intent to commit theft, and the value of the item stolen does not exceed $950, then the defendant could be charged with a 6 month misdemeanor shoplifting charge instead of commercial burglary.

FORGERY – If the defendant is charged with forgery of a check, cashier’s check, traveler’s check or money order, and the amount does exceed $950, then they will be charged with a misdemeanor count of new Penal Code Section 473.

BAD CHECKS – Penal Code 476a(a) stays the same, if the total amount of all NSF checks is not more than $950, then it is an automatic misdemeanor UNLESS the defendant has three or more forgery convictions under Penal Code Section 470, 475, or 476 (in which case the prosecutor has the option of filing a felony or a misdemeanor).

RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY – Still charged under Penal Code Section 496, but now a misdemeanor unless value is over $950.

PETTY THEFT WITH THREE PRIOR THEFTS – PC 666/484(a) is still a viable code section, but can only be charged as a felony for the exceptions noted above, or if they’ve been previously convicted of theft from a dependent adult under Penal Code 368(d) or 368(e). Otherwise, this is a basic misdemeanor petty theft charge under Penal Code Section 484.

POSSESSION OF COCAINE OR HEROIN – The “crumb of cocaine or heroin felony” is no more! Possession of cocaine or heroin under Health and Safety Code 11350(a) is now a straight misdemeanor.

POSESSION OF CONCENTRATED CANNABIS – Possession of concentrated cannabis (hash) is now an automatic misdemeanor under Health and Safety Code 11357(a).

POSSESSION OF METHAMPHETAMINES, MUSHROOMS, PCP AND SOME PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS – Under Health and Safety Code 11377, now an automatic misdemeanor.

Much more to say about this in the coming days and weeks as events unfold and everyone figures out the mechanics of implementing the new law. But for now, this is the basic overview.

If you or a loved one are impacted by the changes in the law brought on by Prop 47, do not hesitate to call Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg at 310-210-0744 or via this contact form.

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