Individuals in California are permitted to petition the governor for the commutation of their sentence. Penal Code 4800 gives the governor the authority to commute an individual’s sentence after a conviction. This right is permitted under the state constitution.
However, the governor cannot commute all criminal charges in California. There are limits to the governor’s power. Find out more about how the team at the Simmrin Law Group can help with the commutation of your sentence by calling (310) 997-4688.
Commutations in California
An individual can request a commutation to get their sentence reduced or eliminated. There are many benefits to a commutation. Commutations can:
- Make an individual eligible for parole
- Allow an individual to leave a correctional facility
- Accelerate the schedule for an individual’s parole hearing
- Change a death sentence to life in prison
However, there are some limitations associated with a commutation. For instance, getting a commutation does not erase a conviction in court. A conviction remains on an individual’s record even after a commutation. Additionally, a commutation does not restore any civil rights lost after a conviction.
For example, sometimes an individual loses their right to own or possess firearms after a conviction, especially after a conviction for a violent crime in California. A commutation does not undo this restriction. Even after individuals are released from jail, they are still not permitted to own or purchase firearms.
Eligibility for a Commutation in California
Not everyone in California is eligible for a commutation. For instance, individuals cannot receive a commutation if they were convicted:
- In another country or state
- In the federal court system
- Of an offense in the military
Additionally, an individual cannot get a commutation if they were impeached as a government official.
Multiple Felonies and Commutation
Commutation becomes more complicated if an individual has been convicted of two or more felonies. These individuals can still get a commutation in certain cases. However, the governor must get the approval of the California Supreme Court first. This approval requires a majority of the judges to be in agreement.
The governor does not need this permission if someone is convicted of a single felony, nor if he or she was convicted of multiple misdemeanors. Find out more about these exceptions with the Simmrin Law Group by calling (310) 997-4688.
Requesting a Commutation of Sentence in California
The governor does not automatically commute sentences in California. Instead, an individual must request a commutation. Applying for a commutation requires the individual to contact the district attorney of the area where they were convicted.
Individuals also have to send in an application for commutation to the governor. Application forms are located on the website for the state of California. Note that individuals must contact the district attorney before they attempt to reach out to the governor.
Applicants must include certain information in their request for commutation of sentence. For instance, be prepared to provide the governor with information about:
- Any convictions you want to be commuted
- The reason for your commutation request
- Why you believe you should receive a commutation
Applications for commutation in California must be notarized. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you handle the application process. Contact us to learn more.
Outcomes of a Request for Commutation of Sentence
After receiving a request for commutation of a sentence, the governor can decide whether to consider the request. The governor is not legally required to grant a commutation. He or she will sometimes work with the parole board to determine whether to grant a commutation.
Requests for commutation may need to go before California’s Supreme Court. However, this only applies if an individual has two or more felony offenses. In either case, the governor can decide to commute an individual’s sentence or disregard the request.
Get Help with a Commutation of Your Sentence in California
Interested in applying for a commutation of your sentence in California? Contact the Simmrin Law Group for help with this process and how to apply under Penal Code 4800. Contact us today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles during a free consultation.
Don’t wait to get help. Just contact us at (310) 997-4688 or fill out our online contact form.