This past election season, California voters considered the controversial
Instead of jail time, persons without a criminal record who are convicted
of certain felonies will have their charges reduced to misdemeanors. Crimes
on the list include theft under $950, forgery under $950 and simple possession
of most illegal drugs. About 10,000 inmates will be eligible for resentencing
under the so-called "
Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act," which also provides for the creation of about a $200 million fund
(very speculative savings) from the cost savings associated with the measure.
Proposition 47 passed with a little over 58 percent of the vote.
Opponents of the measure claimed that crimes like stealing a gun and possessing
a date-rape drug are now like traffic tickets. While the procedure may
be similar, the argument is not exactly true, because you can go to jail
for a misdemeanor. It's also wrong to dismiss traffic ticket penalties
as inconsequential. In fact, many traffic tickets are much more expensive
than some of the listed misdemeanors:
If you got a traffic ticket in Tulare County, speak to an attorney right
away. A lawyer can quickly identify any defenses you have and use them
as leverage to get the fine and/or points reduced, or maybe even get the
case thrown out.