Last November, California voters passed Proposition 47, a new law that would reduce certain drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors. The money saved on jail and court expenses would then be used to fund community, youth, and mental health programs. Now, just a few months later, LA County is reporting widespread effects of the new law and is already considering new measures to help deal with "profound effect" it is bringing to our justice system.
According to the LA Times, LA County officials revealed a report late last month that detailed just how impactful Prop 47 has been. According to the report:
- Narcotics arrests by the Sheriff's Department are down 38%.
- Projected drug arrests by the Sheriff's Department could go down 48%.
- Courts will review up to 14,000 charge reductions for pre-trial defendants.
- An additional 20,000 charge reductions are expected from prior convictions.
- Up to 300,000 cases could be reviewed for people those who have already served their time and want their criminal records corrected.
The report also detailed a drop in attendance to drug and mental health treatment programs, because fewer charged with drug crimes are threatened with jail time and agree to treatment as an alternative. Officials also predict a decrease in victim restitution in the coming year, due to the lesser fines associated with misdemeanor convictions.
A Backlog in Case Reviews
The LA Times reports that county agencies are expecting to make major adjustments in the coming months to deal with the immense backlog of past and current cases looking for a reduction in charges. Not only is freedom on the line for many of those convicted and applying for a review, but even more are hoping to wipe away the felony charges that have haunted their permanent records for decades.
If you have been convicted of a theft or drug charge and want to know how Prop 47 could affect your remaining sentence, then we invite you to call Okabe & Haushalter today. Our nationally-recognized legal team is ready to review your case and, if necessary, assist you in applying for a reduced sentence under the new Prop 47 laws.
Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.