SB1310 would reduce the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor offense from 365 days to 364 days, in order to preclude it being considered as an "aggravated felony" for immigration purposes

7th Jul 2014

img-1SB 1310 passed the California Assembly by a vote of 65-0. SB 1310 changes the maximum misdemeanor sentence from 365 days to 364 days. Although a seemingly insignificant change, this “tweak” to the law has enormous immigration consequences.

Currently, federal immigration law may impose automatic deportation of LAWFUL residents-those with various forms of legal immigration status such as permanent legal status-upon conviction of specified “felonies”. However, in the immigration context, the federal government defines felony as any offense with a potential sentence of “one year or more”. Consequently, many of California’s misdemeanors are considered to be felonies.  Thus, lawful residents with years or even decades of living in the United States are facing deportation.

SB 1310 would fix this definitional conflict. If adopted, California will become the third state in recent years to switch to a 364 day maximum misdemeanor sentence. SB 1310 now moves to the Governor’s office for consideration. Governor Brown has 12 days to sign or veto this legislation from the date the bill reaches his desk