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Last Updated 9/2/2016
Felony Offenses and Prop 47
While it is true that expungement only works for misdemeanors and felonies that could have been tried as misdemeanors, it is possible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor even if you have already served your sentence and parole for your crime. You can do so through California’s Proposition 47.
Prop 47 is a petition-based procedure that requires an application. Again, the “Clean Slate” program at the Alameda County Public Defender’s office has an available petition application, with step-by-step guide, available at http://sfpublicdefender.org/services/clean-slate/.
Here are some simple rules to figure out if your felony conviction qualifies under Prop 47:
- The crime must have been committed before November 5, 2014.
This is an important qualifier, as it shows that your crime was sentenced before Prop 47 went into effect.
- Your criminal history must NOT include a serious violent charge and you cannot be registered as a sex offender.
Acts that are not eligible for Prop 47 include murder, other serious violent acts punishable by life imprisonment, sexual offenses or certain gun crimes.
- The crime must be eligible under Prop 47’s conditions for reclassification.
Qualifying felonies include property crimes and theft where the value does not exceed $950, including: shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, or writing fraudulent checks. Additionally, conviction of drug possession for most illegal substances -- including concentrated cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin -- also qualify for reclassification.
- The petition must be filed before November 5, 2017.
If you believe you do have a felony that qualifies, you must file your petition before this date. This ensures your process will go smoothly, and doesn’t require you to procure “good cause” for a late filing.
Criminal convictions can impede your job hunt, but it is important to be aware that there are systems in place designed to help you. Don’t give up, and seek a trusted legal professional for help in your process.