It’s been over two years since the voters of California passed Prop 47, which is commonly referred to as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. It was a very significant change in the law, and though it was discussed widely before and after it passed, many people charged with a crime don’t know how it may affect their case. If you’re curious, then your best option is to call Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 to find out about your specific case. Otherwise, read on to get basic information.
Theft crimes are largely affected by Prop 47
If you’ve been charged with a theft crime then it’s likely Prop 47 affects you. Before it was passed, it was common for prosecutors to charge someone accused of shoplifting with a felony like second degree commercial burglary. In many cases, they didn’t expect to get a conviction – they were only charging such a significant charge to try and get the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Now that Prop 47 has been passed, that tactic is gone. It specifically defines shoplifting and makes it clear that if less than $950 worth of property was stolen, then the charge must be a misdemeanor and the highest jail sentence possible is six months. As with most laws, there are some exceptions. Keep in mind that Prop 47 only applies to entering the commercial establishment during open hours – if the person in question entered after hours then they could be charged with a felony.
Forgery and bad check laws have been modified
Prop 47 also changed the way forgery is charged. If it involves a check, note, money order, etc. and was for less than $950, then it must be charged as a misdemeanor with no more than a year in county jail. The same punishment applies to passing a bad check for less than $950. Finally, if any property is stolen and the value of that property isn’t more than $950, then the charge should be misdemeanor petty theft.
Prop 47 isn’t as simple as it may seem
Keep in mind that the information above applies to most cases but there are exceptions. To find out if your case qualifies, or if it falls under an exception for some reason, you need to speak to a California criminal defense attorney about your specific case. When you call Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088, you’ll get a free consultation. We can go over the basics of your case, ask targeted questions, and determine if your case is covered by Prop 47. We’ll also cover the defense options that may apply to your case. Call today to learn more.