Proposition 47, passed by California voters on November 4, 2014, provides that drug possession crimes and a number of forgery, theft, grand theft offenses, in which the value of the property is less than $950, can now be charged only as misdemeanors rather than felonies, unless the defendant has certain disqualifying prior convictions.
Prop. 47 also offers relief to people who have past convictions for these offenses. The newly enacted Penal Code section 1170.18 provides a procedure for a person who has completed his or her sentence to file an application to have a felony conviction designated as a misdemeanor. For someone currently serving a sentence, the same provision allows the person to petition the court for a recall of the sentence.
A felony conviction can be an obstacle to obtaining employment, housing and financial aid, so it is important that people who are eligible for this relief have their convictions reduced to misdemeanors.