On Nov. 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This proposition made it legal for you, as an adult over the age of 21 years, to grow, possess, and imbibe marijuana for non-medicinal purposes within the state. It also had a profound impact on criminal law related to marijuana. If you were previously convicted of a marijuana offense, you may be able to have your conviction reduced, similar to the effect of Prop 47, or have your conviction dismissed or redesignated.
You should speak with a San Diego marijuana attorney as soon as possible about clearing your record under Prop 64. Call McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 or contact us online to schedule free initial consultation. There is no guarantee that you can clear your record of your previous marijuana conviction. However, there is no risk in speaking with Jessica McElfresh about your eligibility and the potential legal process.
Redesignating Your Marijuana Conviction under Prop 64
Prop 64 altered what types of actions regarding marijuana are considered crimes in California and what levels those crimes are charged as. What may have been a felony before Prop 64, maybe a misdemeanor post Prop 64. What may have been a misdemeanor, may now be an infraction. If you were convicted of a crime that is now a lower offense thanks to Prop 64, then you should speak with a San Diego marijuana attorney as soon as possible. You may have the right to ask for your felony or misdemeanor conviction to be redesignated as a misdemeanor or infraction.
Felonies that are eligible for being reduced to misdemeanors under Prop 64 are:
- Possession of 28.5 grams or more of marijuana by a person 18 years or older.
- Possession of four grams or more of concentrated cannabis by a person 18 years or older.
- Possession of marijuana for sale by a person 18 years or older.
- Transporting, importing, selling, giving away 28.5 grams or more of marijuana, or offering or attempting to do so.
- Planting, cultivating, harvesting, or processing six or more marijuana plants by a person 18 years or older.
Some crimes that used to be misdemeanors are now infractions. If you were convicted of giving away, offering to give away, transporting, offering to transport, or trying to transport 28.5 grams or fewer of marijuana, so long as it was not concentrated cannabis and you were 18 years or older, then you may ask a court to reduce your misdemeanor conviction to an infraction.
To be clear, redesignation of a marijuana offense is not the same thing as expungement. If your offense is reduced, it will still appear on your records. If your offense is expunged, then it is as if it never happened. If you have any questions about either of these legal processes, do not hesitate to call McElfresh Law. Attorney Jessica McElfresh is available to explain these legal options and review your eligibility under Prop 64. Many people are able to obtain relief under this broad law, even if you have additional marijuana-related or other convictions on your record.
Petition for a Reduction in Your Sentence
If you are still carrying out a felony or misdemeanor sentence for a crime that is now a lower offense, you should speak with a marijuana attorney about having your sentence reduced. If your felony conviction is now a misdemeanor, or your misdemeanor conviction is now an infraction, then you may be able to ask the court to reduce your sentence to align with the law post Prop 64. Your terms of incarceration and probations could be reduced, depending on the circumstances.
Benefits of Reducing Your Conviction Post Prop 64
You may wonder if it is worth your time to reduce your conviction now that it could be a misdemeanor or infraction instead of a felony or misdemeanor. The answer is almost always yes.
Your criminal record is open to the public, and a felony conviction can result in a great deal of stigma. Any time an application asks whether you have been convicted of a felony, you must say yes. Even if the application does not ask, the person in charge of making a decision may see it on your background check. Someone may see it every time you apply to a college, pursue private financial aid, apply for jobs, apply for an apartment, or pursue a loan. With a felony on your record, your application may be denied despite your qualifications. A misdemeanor is less likely to result in so many closed doors.
Also, a felony conviction took away your right to own or possession firearms. If your felony conviction is redesignated to a misdemeanor, then you can have your firearm rights restored.
You achieve a similar effect when you are able to reduce a misdemeanor to an infraction. When someone sees an infraction on your record, they see a minor offense that does not necessarily make you untrustworthy. People are more likely to see an infraction as a one-time mistake, particularly if you were young at the time.
Prop 64 Expungement
There are numerous actions that are no longer illegal following the passage of Post 64. If you were convicted of a crime that, if you performed in the era of Prop 64, would not result in an arrest and charges, then you need to speak with a San Diego marijuana attorney about having the records of that conviction sealed and destroyed.
Convictions that are eligible for expungement, if you have completed your sentence, include:
- Possession of fewer than 28.5 grams (one ounce) of marijuana by a person 21 years or older.
- Possession of eight grams or fewer of concentrated cannabis by a person 21 years or older.
- Offering to give, for free, fewer than 28.5 grams of marijuana to a person 21 years or older.
- Possession of fewer than 28.5 grams of marijuana by a person 21 years or older.
- Transporting fewer than eight grams of concentrated cannabis as a person 21 years or older.
- Possession or transportation of marijuana accessories by a person older than 21 years.
- Cultivation of up to six plants by someone 21 years or older.
- Smoking or ingesting marijuana products by someone over 21 years.
Expunging a marijuana conviction under Prop 64 is not automatic; It is a legal process. If you were previously convicted of a crime that is no longer illegal, such as possessing a small amount of marijuana when you were 25 years old, then call McElfresh Law today. Our experienced marijuana defense team can review your eligibility for expungement based on Prop 64, and if you are eligible, then guide you through the petition process.
What Does Prop 64 Mean for California?
Making recreational marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21 years and reducing certain actions to misdemeanors and infractions means California has put a significant kink in the prison pipeline. Far fewer individuals, especially people of color, will be arrested and convicted of cultivating, possessing, transporting, or using marijuana. This is a step in the right direction in attempting to solve prison overcrowding.
Prop 64 also means that thousands of individuals across the state can clean up their criminal records, which in turn improves their access to education, jobs, affordable housing, loans, and more. Having only an infraction or misdemeanor on their record instead of a higher offense could better enable a person to obtain their fair share of custody of their children. It may also boost their ability to obtain a visa, permanent residency, or naturalization.
Let Jessica McElfresh Help You Obtain a Prop 64 Redesignation or Expungement
If you have one or more marijuana-related crimes on your record, then you should speak with a San Diego marijuana lawyer at McElfresh Law. Attorney Jessica McElfresh will review your eligibility for the benefits of Prop 64. Many people are eligible for reduction or expungement. If you have a right to file a petition to reduce your previous conviction or expunge your conviction, then she will guide you through this court process. It is not a complicated procedure to petition the court for a change to your record. In a matter of weeks, you could significantly improve your criminal record and your future.