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At the same time that the federal government has dramatically cut sentences in drug and narcotic cases, the California voters have done the same for state drug cases. The voters of California approved by a very large margin Proposition 47. Effective immediately simple possession of all narcotics will be classified as a misdemeanor and not a felony. This provision will have the most effect on repeat drug offenders who were facing mandatory state prison time and long sentences because of prison priors. This law also will serve to reduce some theft and forgery cases where the amount of loss is low.
The best news about this dramatic change in is that it is retroactive, meaning that inmates who are currently sentenced can petition the court to have their drug and theft sentences reduced. Even inmates who have served their time can petition the court to have their convictions changes from felonies to misdemeanors.
It will take several months for the courts and attorneys to sort all of this out. I was in the California Supeior Court in El Cajon last week and I saw the courts in virtual chaos regarding the implementation of this law.
As always there is a catch, The court can deny a sentence and charge reduction where there is a “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” No courts have defined what these words mean.
Because of this discretionary language, it is best to get an attorney to help handle your sentence and charge reduction in state court on drug and theft charges. At the Law Offices of Russell Babcock we are at the forefront of federal and state criminal sentencing reduction law. We will continue to update you through blogs as the courts figure out how they are going to implement this important change in state criminal law. We are here to help you and bring a petition so you or a loved one can have your federal or state criminal sentence reduced.