Marijuana continues to become increasingly accepted by the American public, and legalization for both medical and recreational purposes continues to spread across the nation. In California, marijuana was fully legalized in 2014, which placed those who were facing marijuana-related charges in an interesting position, to put it lightly.
The legalization of marijuana opened up the possibility for individuals to seek an expungement or dismissal, but the process became complicated, and factors such as race contributed to unfair and imbalanced outcomes. To help address this, the state recently passed Assembly Bill 1793, an initiative aimed at simplifying the process and placing the burden on the state rather than individual defendants. This post covers some of the finer details that will go into effect starting on January 1, 2019.
How will Expungement of Marijuana-Related Offenses Work in 2019?
Once Assembly Bill 1793 was passed, the California DOJ began a systematic review of all past marijuana convictions. This review is scheduled to be completed by January 1, 2019, upon which the DOJ will proceed to make a recommendation for each individual conviction. Their recommendations will fall into one of three categories defined as such:
- Reduced charges: Defendants and convicts could see their charges reduced. For example, those charged with intent to distribute could see their charges downgraded to a simple possession charge, or a felony could become a misdemeanor, etc.
- Sealed records: A sealed record will prevent the public from accessing any details about the conviction, and the only way it will become accessible is via court order.
- Dismissed charges: As the name implies, this simply means that all charges will be outright dismissed or dropped.
Those who are convicted with drug crimes face a plethora of short-term and long-term consequences, and can find themselves with limited educational, career, and housing opportunities. Thus, the new initiatives have the potential to greatly increase the quality of life for thousands of individuals across the state, and is effectively a second chance at life for many.
We at the Jacot Law Firm hope that you found this post informative. If you want to learn more, and to schedule a free initial consultation with a qualified criminal defense attorney in CA, know that we’re a quick phone call away.
Call us today at 209-463-1800 to schedule a free initial consultation with a seasoned criminal defense attorney.