Proposal to change sentences for drug crimes in California

The penalties for drug crimes are seemingly constantly under review. Certain drugs carry much harsher penalties than others simply because they are considered more dangerous. The disparity in sentencing for these offenders has led to questions about the appropriateness of the penalties involved, and some states are considering making changes to the sentencing laws currently in place.

Recently, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has announced a campaign targeted toward changing the sentences handed down to individuals convicted of drug offenses in California. The proposal would make certain drug possession crimes a misdemeanor, which would result in less than a year in jail for these offenders. Currently, these offenders could potentially be charged with felonies, resulting in lengthy prison sentences of up to three years. The petition needs over 500,000 signatures before it will be allowed on the ballot.

The proposal also suggests that officials examine past cases of individuals convicted of these crimes, and allow them to petition to have their sentences reduced. Prior efforts aimed at changing the penalties for drug offenses have not been able to gain the support of the legislature or the governor, so this particular petition may also encounter some obstacles despite having the support of some officials in the law enforcement community.

These offenders cost the state a considerable amount of money each year. With California facing severe budget issues and overcrowding in its prisons, changing these laws could provide many benefits. This could also allow offenders to be able to get the treatment that they need in order to break their cycles of addiction.

This is just one of many ways that the drug laws could be changed within California. More communities may be encouraged to offer pre-trial diversionary programs to some first-time offenders. Additionally, other sentencing alternatives may be explored to learn which methods are having the most success in a particular region.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, you could be facing extensive prison time, especially if you have prior convictions on your record. This makes it extremely important for you to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney before you have any discussions with law enforcement.

Your attorney can help you understand the charges against you, and also discuss the potential penalties that may be handed down. This will allow you to begin considering which options will be best for you, and assist you in building a strong defense to the allegations.

You may receive a plea bargain offer from the prosecution, but you need to know how a guilty plea could impact your future. Many people are often surprised to learn about enhanced penalties for future crimes, and you do not want to find yourself trapped in a difficult situation.