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California Eases Mandatory Sentences

Posted in Criminal Defense on January 20, 2020

The debate over the effectiveness of mandatory minimums has raged for years in the US and throughout California. Often blamed as one of the main aspects of high incarceration rates in this state, we are now seeing major changes take place to state mandatory minimum laws. This state has made some major changes that could affect you or a loved one.

There are two new changes to state law that have been signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The first law he signed ends the required sentence enhancements added to current sentences for each person’s prior felony jail or prison terms.

The other law the governor signed ends mandatory minimum sentences for various drug crimes. This allows judges to have discretion in sentencing.

How does this affect me?

In October, state officials estimated that around 10,000 inmates currently incarcerated in California would be affected by the law changes. For the state’s part, eliminating those sentence enhancements could save tens of millions of dollars.

More importantly, those who have experienced sentence bumps to get out of jail or prison earlier. For others, the changes could mean they could get their records expunged.

Speaking about the changes, Gov. Newsome said that the bills “show a new path to ensure our state moves closer toward a more equitable criminal justice system,” while some “give hope to those that have earned a second chance in our communities.”

The law requires the state the automatically clear the records of people who have completed their sentences for certain felonies and for those who were arrested but never convicted. The reform group  Californians for Safety and Justice says that around eight million Californians have their convictions or records that make it hard for them to obtain jobs, find housing, or attend school.

How can I expunge my record?

For those who seek to have their records expunged due to the latest changes in the law, or for any other conviction they have had, they need to know there is a process in place that must be followed. Expungement is available only to those convicted of misdemeanors or felonies in California who have:

  • Successfully completed probation for the offense, and
  • Is not currently charged with a criminal offense, on probation for a criminal offense, or serving time for a criminal offense.

The California DOJ will review and seal all past marijuana convictions automatically, provided that the crimes are no longer considered criminal offenses because the state has legalized recreational marijuana.

An expungement virtually erases a person’s record for the conviction that has been eliminated. The crime that is expunged no longer has to be disclosed to potential employers. Speak to an expungement attorney if you have any additional questions.

Contact a California Defense Attorney

You need to work with a local criminal defense lawyer with experience expunging records in California. This process can be confusing, and there are certain crimes that are not eligible. Your attorney will review your case and determine whether you are eligible or expungement. They will help you gather all the records required and fill out the paperwork.

At the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC, you can count on a qualified and experienced team to help you get through this. When you need a California expungement attorney, you can contact us for a consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (951) 667-5293.