How to File a Petition in California to Delete a Weed Felony
In January 2018, the state of California finally started issuing licenses for recreational marijuana sales. The passage of Prop 64 was a battle that took years, and the legislation was struck down multiple times, but was finally approved by popular vote this year, making a number of changes to California marijuana laws. An important part of that legislation is the fact that marijuana-related sentences are being retroactively changed. Most of the felony-related charges have been removed, so those who were once convicted of a marijuana-related felony may be able to have their records purged, reducing or even removing charges entirely.
There are plenty of steps to make sure you no longer have felony charges on your record. Here is a quick and easy guide so you can petition the California courts to change your record to reflect the new marijuana laws.
1. Determine what charges you actually have on your record.
For many people with felony-related marijuana charges, their lives have been changed in startlingly extreme ways because of their conviction. Many probably have a pretty thorough idea of what their charges are and how they’re affected by them, but some people don’t really know what they’ve been convicted of.
An easy way to determine what criminal charges you have on your record is to use PeopleFinders. With a quick and easy background check as well as a comprehensive criminal records database, you’ll be able to tell what needs to be changed. Anything that is an actual charge can be shown, and you’ll be able to single out any felony charges related to marijuana without ever submitting records to the court.
2. Learn what new charges you may still have under Prop 64.
For most people, getting your felony record expunged under Prop 64 requires a visit to the court, and may require a full hearing. However, it’s important to note that, similarly to the first time you were convicted, the burden of proof is placed on the prosecution. In other words, the prosecution has to prove that you are not eligible for an expungement or reduction under the new law.
With Prop 64, there are a number of convictions that are still misdemeanors or infractions, which means you may have to pay a fine. If you spent time in jail due to a felony marijuana charge, that jail time can be counted as the time you would have spent due to a misdemeanor. No matter what your new charges are, you should at least be aware of what may stay on your record and what should be completely removed with no trace remaining.
3. Ensure you understand the process and know what shortcuts you can use.
The process of petitioning the court to overturn or reduce old marijuana convictions is long, arduous, and potentially expensive. However, many of the people who were the driving force behind marijuana legalization are also pushing to make sure that court time is easier.
There are many shortcuts, some on a legal level and some on a more social one. People have created websites where you can print out a full petition that you simply turn into the court, the San Francisco District Attorney has decided to wipe records across the board, and momentum is building for a state bill that could do the same thing statewide. Keep up-to-date on laws that may help you overturn your conviction in a simple, less expensive way.
With the restructuring of California’s marijuana laws, there are multiple new things to keep in mind. Though the laws were created in a way that allows people to reduce their sentences, most courts don’t seem to be interested in broadcasting that information or walking people through the process, which has led to a phenomenally low number of petitions. If you have some kind of felony charge for marijuana possession or sale on your record, you need to be proactive and take the first step to expunging that charge.
Once you’ve won your fight, it’s worth checking PeopleFinders again. Look through the criminal records search to really make sure people won’t be able to find that charge at any time in the future. It can also just make you feel great to see your name listed without charges.
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