The cases in question include convictions as far back as the 1960’s. Last year, Lacey said she would work to have the old cases dismissed. Marijuana convictions disproportionately affect minority defendants. Dismissing those cases and sealing the records could help affected Los Angeles residents in their search for jobs, federal financial aid and housing. A newly adopted state law requires jurisdictions to resentence eligible drug possession convictions according to current standards. In most cases, that would reduce felony drug convictions to misdemeanors.
Lacey’s move goes farther than the new law requires by both dismissing the cases and sealing the records. The move would leave affected people with no court record of a drug conviction or sentencing. According to Lacey’s office, almost 80% of the convictions applied to Hispanic and African American defendants. 62,000 cases targeted for dismissal resulted in felony convictions. An additional 4,000 cases were already classified as misdemeanors.
City attorneys in Burbank, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Redondo Beach Santa Monica and Torrance prosecuted the case. Individuals with convictions in these jurisdictions do not need to take any steps to seek a dismissal. The court will consider dismissal requests generally in reverse order. The more recent a conviction, the earlier it will be considered for dismissal. The oldest cases will likely be dismissed last, largely because dismissal will have less positive impact.
The DA’s office has not sought dismissal of certain drug offenses. They include offenses involving children and the manufacture of concentrated forms of cannabis. Likewise, if a person received multiple convictions (including weapons offenses, conspiracy, etc.) the other convictions will not be set aside.
Los Angeles Drug Possession Lawyer
Proposition 47 reduces previous convictions for crimes previously classified as felonies, including both drug- and non-drug offenses. If you have an old felony drug possession conviction on your record, a knowledgeable drug possession lawyer can help.
Ideally, you want a dismissal, but Proposition 47 doesn’t provide for that. By having the court resentence a felony conviction as a misdemeanor, you at least remove the most damaging kind of conviction. By itself, this can help you secure a job or housing more easily.
When you’ve been arrested for a drug crime or any other offense, hire an experienced attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. Mr. Helfend is a top-rated defender and will fight aggressively for you in court.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County drug possession case.
Photo Credit: Torben Hansen, via Flickr.com