Proposition 47 reduced penalties for various offenders convicted of non violent property and drug crimes. The measure also allows certain offenders who have been previously convicted of non violent property and drug crimes to apply for reduced sentences. Certain non violent property and drug crimes will now be reduced from felonies or “wobblers” to misdemeanors. Certain offenders who have committed severe crimes in the past, may not be eligible. Prop 47 specifically reduces penalties for:
- Drug Possession
- Grand Theft
- Receiving Stolen Property
- Writing Bad Checks
- Check Forgery
Possession of an illicit drug may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the type of drug. Under this proposition, these possession offenses will be misdemeanors. Even though differed entry of judgment will still be available for these drug offenders, these cases will no longer be filed as a felony regardless as to the type of drug.
Grand Theft is a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Prosecutors tend to look at the type of property involved, and whether the offender has previously committed theft crimes. Theft of property worth $950 or less, may be charged as Grand Theft or as a Petty Theft misdemeanor. Prop 47 limits when theft of property of $950 or less can be charged as Grand Theft. These theft crimes will no longer be charged as Grand Theft solely based on the type of property involved, or due to the defendants prior record of theft crimes.
Shoplifting of property worth $950 or less is often charged as a petty theft misdemeanor. However, it can also be charged as burglary, which is a “wobbler.” Prop 47 makes shoplifting property worth $950 or less a misdemeanor, and cannot be charged as burglary.
Receiving Stolen Property
A person found with stolen property could be charged with receiving stolen property, which is a “wobbler.” However, under Prop 47, receiving stolen property worth $950 or less is a misdemeanor offense.
Writing Bad Checks
Writing back checks is generally a misdemeanor offense, but if the check is worth more than $450 it is a “wobblers.” Also an offender, who had previously committed a crime related to forgery, could also have been charged with a felony. Prop 47 makes it a misdemeanor to write a back check, unless the check is worth more than $950, or the offender had previously committed three forgery related crimes. In those situations, it will remain in a “wobbler.”
Forging a check in any amount use to be a “wobbler.” However, forging a check worth $950 or less is now a misdemeanor under Prop 47. The only exception is if the offender commits indentity theft in connection with the forged check, then it remains a “wobbler.”