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If passed, Proposition 47 could help criminal defense cases

California has some pretty strict laws regarding felony level crimes, regardless of the severity of the crime. Individuals accused of felony crimes could face jail and/or prison time, fines and a host of other legal and personal battles. A strategic criminal defense can help minimize these punishments, but, as it stands, state laws generally require that specific penalties be handed down. A new proposition ready for the vote this year may change all this.

Proposition 47 is designed to essentially soften the state's approach to criminal punishment. California jails and prisons are overcrowded, and families of those locked up for relatively minor crimes are suffering in a multitude of ways. This new measure would allow convicted offenders, of crimes that are deemed non-serious or non-violent, to request reduced or alternate sentences.

The state has increased alternative services available for offenders with mental health or substance abuse issues, which have greatly reduced costs otherwise spent on sending people to prison. If this proposition passes, California stands to save approximately $62,000 per offender, per year, by reducing penalties and using these alternative services. Certainly there is value in this proposition, which could benefit not only those accused and convicted of crimes, but also their families and the state as well. Though, as with most proposed changes, it is not without opposition from those who fear this change will put California residents in danger.

While changes may be necessary to resolve many of the issues facing the California criminal system, Proposition 47, if passed, may be a small step in starting the process. In the meantime, a variety of criminal defense strategies are currently available to help individuals regardless of the crime of which they stand accused. If requested, a defense team can provide experience, insight and information regarding the allegations and help those accused make the best legal decisions for their current situation.

Source: reason.com, "A Welcome Softening of California's Tough-on-Crime Approach", Steven Greenhut, Sept. 12, 2014

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results