Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

Get the facts straight about theft and California’s prop 47

On Behalf of | May 17, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Since Proposition 47 passed in 2014, many residents have taken advantage of the ability to reclassify theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Unfortunately, the misinformation surrounding prop 47 has led some to believe they can take items that do not belong to them without any consequences.

According to AP News, this misinformation first arose after someone posted a video of two people exiting a department store with supposedly stolen items. Then, a comedian made a Facebook post suggesting that the theft of items worth less than $950 does not lead to prosecution in California. We want you to know that this is not true.

What does prop 47 mean for theft crimes?

Basically, prop 47 increased the dollar limit (value) of stolen items allowing authorities to prosecute the crime as a felony. Before the proposition, theft offenses like shoplifting and petty theft led to felony charges for stolen items valued at $400 or higher.

Now, the value of stolen goods (or services) must be more than $950 to qualify as a felony. New theft offenses valued at less than $950 will result in misdemeanor charges instead of felonies. The proposition also allows those convicted for felony theft before prop 47 to seek reclassification of their offense (felony to misdemeanor).

Theft offenses that are typically eligible for reclassification through prop 47 include:

  • Receiving stolen property
  • Shoplifting
  • Petty theft
  • Forgery
  • Passing bad checks
  • Petty theft with a prior offense

The $950 or less value rule must apply before you can seek reclassification in most situations. We suggest learning more about proposition 47 to determine if you qualify for reclassification. Guidance from a criminal defense professional is also wise.