Six Months After Prop 47 Changed Drug Laws

Late last year when California changed its drug laws and introduced Prop 47, it drastically altered the landscape of drug crimes in the state. Six months after the passage of Prop 47, drug rehabilitation and the law’s effect on jail time have had mixed results. Narcotic arrests have dropped by 30 percent in Los Angeles and by 48 percent in rural areas patrolled by the LA County Sheriff’s Department, for example. Yet property crimes, such as burglary and theft, have risen since the passage of the law, meaning that the arrest numbers may be somewhat skewed.

According to the state government’s general election voter guide, Prop 47 intended to reduce the state’s budget for prison-related expenditures. This money was then re-allocated for programs meant to prevent truancy and school dropouts and intended to help victims of crimes, mental health and abuse treatment programs, and other programs intended to keep would-be offenders out of jail.

Not only did the passage of Prop 47 work as a way to keep offenders out of jail, but it will also release thousands of people who were jailed for a felony that has now been reduced to a misdemeanor. These people are eligible for immediate release from prison. While there are no statistics to directly support this, this could be one reason for the increased rates of other sometimes drug-related crimes. This could be one reason why that in February of this year, the state added an addendum to the proposition that disqualified out-of-state and juvenile adjudications as disqualifying convictions, however. It also stated that misdemeanors, in some cases, could not be considered as such retroactively.

If you are caught with drugs or charged with a drug crime is to seek legal counsel. Even if you think you know the law, you may miss some major provisions that can make or break your case. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney today.

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