There is no disputing the fact the drug charges are a serious matter in California. In fact, the state's three-strikes law meant that even a nonviolent felony could carry a life sentence if the accused had at least two previous convictions. However, this ruling was made less harsh in 2012, being changed to include only felons who were violent or committed serious crimes.
In a recent move, California's has lightened sentencing even more by reclassifying many offenses, ranging from misdemeanors to nonviolent felonies. These crimes have been reduced, meaning they could carry lighter sentences and less of a chance of jail time. Drug charges such as simple possession are likely to be affected by this change.
This means that many people awaiting trial for a drug-related offense may find that the outcome is not as harsh as they expect. Furthermore, those who have already been convicted might be able to appeal for a lighter sentence, or even walk free. The new measure, called Proposition 47 makes California the first state to go through with such a decision.
The move is expected to save funds in the region of hundreds of millions each year. This money can then be used in other vital areas, such as mental health services, truancy and dropout prevention and treatment for substance abuse.
It is a positive steps for many faced with minor drug charges. Even so, if you are faced with allegations of this nature, the support of an attorney could be extremely helpful. He or she may be able to assist you in fighting your case and work toward helping you escape conviction altogether.
Source: Al Jazeera America, "'Walking out of jail': Prop 47 frees felons with downgraded charges," Haya El Nasser, Nov. 14, 2014