Proposition 47 FAQ

  What is Proposition 47?

  What crimes can be reduced to misdemeanors?

  Who is NOT ELIGIBLE to have their cases reduced from felonies to misdemeanors under Prop. 47?

  What does a Prop. 47 petition do?

  What doesn’t a Prop. 47 petition do?

  How do I get Prop. 47 relief?

  When do I need to file my Prop. 47 petition?

  How much does it cost?

  Do I need a lawyer?

  What if I want a lawyer?

  Will there be a court hearing?

  How long does it take to get a decision?

  If my case is reduced to a misdemeanor, will I still have to pay restitution?

  If my felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, can I vote?

  If my felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, what should I put on a job, school, licensing, or military application if there is a question about whether I have a felony conviction?

  How does a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor change benefits like student financial aid or HUD housing?

  If I do not have any felonies on my record, can I serve on jury duty?

  If I have my case(s) reduced to misdemeanors, can I have a gun?

  If I have my case(s) reduced to misdemeanors, can I get my DNA out of the DNA database?

  Now that I don’t have a felony, I do not have funding for my drug treatment or mental health treatment.  Where can I go for help with my drug, alcohol, or mental health issues?

  If I have questions, who can I contact for help?

 

What is Proposition 47?

On November 4, 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47 (Prop. 47), a law that reduces some felonies to misdemeanors.  Prop. 47 changed the law so that some low level, non-violent felonies can only be charged as misdemeanors for most people.  Prop. 47 also allows most people who have qualifying felony convictions in their past to petition to reduce those convictions to misdemeanors.   Petitions must be filed no later than NOVEMBER 4, 2022.

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What crimes can be reduced to misdemeanors?

Only the offenses listed in the table below are covered by Prop. 47.  If you have any of the following convictions, you may be able to have them reduced to misdemeanors as long as you are not excluded from Prop. 47 relief (see  Who is NOT ELIGIBLE to have their cases reduced from felonies to misdemeanors under Prop. 47 below).  If your conviction is not listed below, Prop. 47 will not help you. 

Theft/Forgery Type Offenses

 NOTE: the value taken or intended to be taken must be $950 or less; if the value taken or intended to be taken is over $950, Prop. 47 will not help you.

Drug Possession Offenses

For marijuana related offenses see

Prop. 64 FAQ

□    Burglary of a Commercial Establishment During Regular Business Hours (PC § 459) with intent to commit theft

 

□    Forgery (PC § 470(a), 470(d), 473, 475(a), 475(b), 475(c), 476) (as long as not also convicted of identity theft (PC § 530.5))

 

□    Fraud/Bad Checks (PC § 476a) (if you have 3 or more prior convictions for similar conduct you may be excluded)

 

□    Theft (PC § 487(b), 487(c), 487(d)(1), 487(d)(2), 487a, 484e(a), 484e(d))

 

□    Petty Theft/Petty Theft with a Prior Conviction/Shoplifting (PC §§ 484/666) (if you have a conviction for elder abuse (PC § 368(d) or PC § 368(e) you are excluded from Prop. 47)

 

□    Receiving Stolen Property (PC § 496a)

□    Possession of Controlled Substances (for example, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine)  for Personal Use (HS § 11350 & 11377) (sales/possession for sale are NOT eligible)

 

□    Possession of Concentrated Cannabis for Personal Use (HS § 11357(a)) 

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Who is NOT ELIGIBLE to have their cases reduced from felonies to misdemeanors under Prop. 47?

There are some people who cannot use Prop. 47 to reduce their qualifying felony convictions to misdemeanors. 

YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE IF:

□   You are required to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code § 290(c).  NOTE Not all sex offender registrants are precluded from Prop. 47 relief.  The exception mainly applies to sex offenders required to register under Penal Code section 290(c).  There are people who are required to register for other reasons.  

You should speak with a lawyer to figure out if you are precluded or not.

□   You have a conviction for what is considered a “super strike.”  Click here for a list of most of the convictions that will prohibit the court from reducing your charges.  NOTE: Not all cases that are strikes are “super strikes.”  You should speak with a lawyer to figure out if you have a “super strike.”

 

If you are not eligible to have your case reduced under Prop. 47, we may still be able to assist you with reducing your case in other ways.  Please submit a Fresh Start Request for Assistance form and we will advise you of your options.

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What does a Prop. 47 petition do?

If the court grants the Prop. 47 petition, the conviction is reduced to a misdemeanor for all purposes, EXCEPT GUN OWNERSHIP!

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What doesn’t a Prop. 47 petition do?

□    Prop. 47 does NOT give you back your gun rights.  Even if your felonies are reduced, it will still be a crime for you to own or possess a gun.

□    Prop. 47 does NOT remove the conviction from your record or dismiss/expunge the conviction.  You should consider filing for a dismissal/expungement if you are eligible. 

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How do I get Prop. 47 relief?

The applicant must complete a Petition for Resentencing/Reduction to Misdemeanor form for each case separately and submit it to the Superior Court where the conviction occurred for review and decision by the court.   Any supporting documents to show why the court should grant the reduction to a misdemeanor must be filed with the Petition. 

The Petition for Resentencing/Reduction to a Misdemeanor and supporting documents must also be served on the prosecuting agency.

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When do I need to file my Prop. 47 petition?

All petitions must be filed by November 4, 2022.

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How much does it cost?

There is no cost to file a Prop. 47 petition.

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Do I need a lawyer?

Not necessarily.  You can fill out the petition by clicking here

But if you are unsure if your conviction qualifies or if there is something in your record which might make you ineligible, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer.    Also, because the petitioner (you) bears the burden of proving you are eligible for relief, a lawyer is helpful to gather and present evidence, if necessary, to convince the judge you are eligible for relief.

Finally, there is still a lot of dispute in the courts about what types of cases qualify and do not qualify for Prop. 47 relief.  The California Supreme Court is currently considering many of these issues.  A lawyer can inform you of the law. 

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What if I want a lawyer?

While you do not necessarily need a lawyer, you may want one.  You may hire a lawyer or our office is able to help you at no cost.  Our experienced attorneys will review your entire record and determine what relief you are eligible for.  Some Prop. 47 petitions are more complicated and the judge needs to see additional information to help make a decision.  Our office can assist you by researching your record, gathering records to show your eligibility, writing petitions, motions and declarations, filing petitions, serving the petition on the prosecutorial agency, and appearing in court, if necessary, to argue for the reduction.

If you would like our office to assist you, fill out and submit the  Fresh Start Program Request for Assistance form. 

You may e-mail, fax, mail, or drop off your request form.   

Office of the Public Defender                      E-mail: Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov

Fresh Start Program                                     Fax:  (619) 338-4811 (Attn: Fresh Start Program)

450 B Street, Suite 900                               

San Diego, CA  92101

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Will there be a court hearing?

If there is any question about whether your felony case(s) should be reduced, there may be a court hearing.  If we are representing you, you may give us permission to go to court for you so you do not need to attend the hearing. 

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How long does it take to get a decision?

It varies depending on how complicated your case and criminal history are.   Once the petition is filed, it can take a matter of a few weeks to months for the court to make a decision.

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If my case is reduced to a misdemeanor, will I still have to pay restitution? 

Yes.  Any restitution orders will remain in full force and effect.  However, your fines may be decreased due to the reduction.  Please check the paper work from the court to see how much you owe.  You may also call the San Diego County Department of Revenue and Recovery at (619) 515-6200.

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If my felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, can I vote?

Probably.  To vote in the state of California, you must be 18 years or older and a state resident.  You can even vote while you are still on probation or in jail. 

However, you cannot vote if you are:

    •    in state prison; or

    •    on parole.

 For more information about where you can pick up an application to register to vote, or to register to vote on line, go to:  http://registertovote.ca.gov/.

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If my felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, what should I put on a job, school, licensing, or military application if there is a question about whether I have a felony conviction?

According to the new law, any felony conviction that is recalled and resentenced or designated as a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor for all purposes except for your ability to own a gun.  Therefore you do not have to say that you have a felony conviction for a case that has been reduced by Prop. 47.  You can say it is a misdemeanor.

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How does a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor change benefits like student financial aid or HUD housing?

In general, it is better to have a misdemeanor than a felony on your record.  For more detailed information, please see:

http://www.abacollateralconsequences.org/search/?jurisdiction=10 or

http://nacdl.org/restoration

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If I do not have any felonies on my record, can I serve on jury duty?

Probably.  The law does not let people serve on juries if they have felony convictions, or if they have committed malfeasance in a public office.

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If I have my case(s) reduced to misdemeanors, can I have a gun?

No.  Even if your felonies are reduced, it will still be a crime for you to own or possess a gun.

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If I have my case(s) reduced to misdemeanors, can I get my DNA out of the DNA database?

Maybe.  See DNA Database Expungement FAQ.

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Now that I don’t have a felony, I do not have funding for my drug treatment or mental health treatment.  Where can I go for help with my drug, alcohol, or mental health issues?

For information about services, you can call the Access and Crisis line at 888-724-7240.   This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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If I have questions, who can I contact for help?

Please call the Office of the Primary Public Defender at (619) 338-4700 and ask to speak to someone from the Fresh Start Program.  The Office of the Primary Public Defender will assist you even if you had an attorney from the Office of the Alternate Public Defender, a court appointed panel attorney, or you retained an attorney and now cannot afford to pay the attorney for assistance.  You may also e-mail a question to Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov.  

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