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1021 I Street, 201
P.O. Box 3428
Modesto, CA 95353
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Phone: (209) 525-4200

Fax: (209) 525-4244

Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Public Defender Staff


On November 4, 2014, the voters of California passed Proposition 47, a law that reduces some felonies to misdemeanors.

Please call the Public Defender’s Office at (209) 525-4200 to speak with an attorney to see if you qualify for relief. In the alternative you can fill out an application at Clear My Record and it will be forwarded to our office.

You may be able to have your most recent case, and any earlier cases, changed from felonies to misdemeanors if you were convicted of the following charges:

  • Commercial Burglary of a Store during Regular Business Hours (PC §459)
  • Forgery (PC §470-476)
  • Fraud/Bad Checks (PC §476a)
  • Theft Offenses (including PC §§487, 484e, etc.)
  • Petty Theft/Shoplifting (PC §§484, 484/666)
  • Possession of Methamphetamine (HS §11377)
  • Possession of Controlled Substance (HS §11350)
  • Possession of Concentrated Cannabis (HS §11357(a))
  • Receiving Stolen Property (PC §496)

For theft charges to be reduced, the amount stolen must have been less than $950. Simple possession of any controlled substance or unlawful drug has now been reduced to a misdemeanor.

Charges will not be reduced for most individuals required to register as a sex offender or anyone who has specific serious prior convictions known as “super strikes,” for example: rape, murder; possession of weapon of mass destruction. Please contact our office if you have been convicted of one or more of the felonies listed above and we will advise you about whether you qualify for a reduction.

Yes, this law is completely retroactive. That means that you are eligible to have any qualifying prior felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors no matter how long ago you were convicted. This is true even if you were previously denied a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor by the court during any pre-conviction court hearing, at sentencing, or after requesting an expungement.

If there is any question about whether your felony case should be reduced or if you are currently on probation and will continue on probation if your matter is reduced to a misdemeanor, there will be a court hearing where you will be represented by a public defender from our office if you qualify financially.

The maximum jail time for most misdemeanors is one year in county jail. If you have already served more than the maximum term of confinement, you should be released. If you have not served the maximum term of confinement for the misdemeanor charge(s), the court may hold a hearing to determine if your sentence should be reduced. However, if you have other cases or charges that are holding you in custody, you will not be released even if you receive a reduction on one or more charges. If you are currently in custody and believe you are eligible for Prop 47, contact your lawyer immediately.

If you have no other charges keeping you in state prison, you may be released from prison. If your case is reduced to a misdemeanor, your maximum sentence is no more than a year in county jail per charge. You cannot be sentenced to prison on a misdemeanor, but you can be sentenced to county jail. Contact our office if you believe you are eligible. We will file a petition on your behalf, if you qualify.

This will depend on the type of sentence you received before, and the decision will be made by the judge who resentences you. If you are resentenced, you should receive a Minute Order from the court before you are released. Please read it carefully to see if you have been ordered to report to probation or parole when you are released. Please comply with any terms and conditions ordered by the Court. If you think there has been a mistake or have any questions about any of the new terms and condition of your sentence after resentencing, please call the Office of the Public Defender at 209-525-4200

Yes. Even if your case is reduced to a misdemeanor, any restitution orders will remain in full force and effect. However, your court fines and fees may be decreased if your case is reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. The Order signed by the judge will have this amount.

According to the new law, any felony conviction that is recalled and resentenced or designated as a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor for all purposes, except for your ability to own or possess a gun.

Probably. To vote in the state of California, you must be at least 18 years old and a state resident. You can even vote while you are still on probation. However, you cannot vote if you are in prison; on parole; currently serving a local state prison sentence in county jail; currently serving a “split” sentence (this is sometimes called “Mandatory Supervision”); or on Post Release Community Supervision.

For more information about where you can pick up an application to register to vote, or to register to vote online at Register to Vote.

In general, it is better to have a misdemeanor than a felony on your record. However, this may depend on whether your misdemeanor record includes drug offenses. For more detailed information, please go to National Associaction Criminal Defense Lawyers - Restoration.

Probably. The law does not let people serve on juries if they have felonies which have not been expunged, or if they have committed malfeasance in a public office.

No. Even if your felonies are reduced, it will still be a crime for you to own or possess a gun.

Please call the Public Defender's Office at (209) 525-4200 and ask to speak an attorney. In the alternative you can fill out an application at the Clear My Record and it will be forwarded to our office.

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