Recently, the California legislature has enacted, and Governor Brown has signed, new laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2018. These laws will create several reforms to the California criminal justice system and sentencing procedures, and many of these changes could benefit clients who are facing criminal charges. Our firm stays up-to-date on state and federal legislation, and wants to keep clients informed of their legal rights and options regarding California’s laws.
Here is a brief summary of some of the laws that are CPDA sponsored, co-sponsored, or strongly supported that will go into effect next year:
- AB 529 (CPDA sponsored). This law relates to the sealing of criminal records. It will allow juvenile records to be sealed for minors whose petition was not sustained (meaning they were acquitted), or whose case was dismissed. However, the prosecution can ask the court for permission to refile the dismissed cases within 6 months, in case new evidence or a key witness becomes available in that time frame. This law amends WI 786.
- AB 1308 (supported by the CPDA). This bill relates to parole. It requires the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct youth offender parole hearings for individuals sentenced to state prison for crimes committed when they were 25 years old or younger. Previously, the law required youth offender parole hearings to be conducted for crimes committed at the age of 23 or younger, so the new law may benefit clients facing prison sentences for juvenile offenses. It amends PC 3051.
- AB 1448 (supported by the CPDA). This new law also relates to parole, specifically the Elderly Parole Program. In order to qualify, prisoners must be at least 60 years old and have served at least 25 years of their sentence. This bill adds to the PC 3055.
- AB 1541 (CPDA sponsored). This law relates to jurors. It allows criminal attorneys to conduct a liberal and probing (voir dire) examination of prospective members of the jury. This will allow the lawyers to detect any bias or prejudice that individual jury members may have regarding aspects of the case or the parties involved. Even if a particular topic was included in the judge’s initial examination, the criminal attorneys can provide appropriate follow up questions in their voir dire examination. This law repeals and adds to CCP 223.
- SB 180 (CPDA co-sponsored). This law relates to the Health and Safety Code regarding controlled substances. It amends the 3-year drug prior enhancement rule (found in the Health and Safety Code, section 11370.2). Under the amends, this rule will only be applied to minors who have been charged with selling drugs.
- SB 239 (supported by the CPDA). This new law relates to the spread of communicable and infectious diseases. Specifically, it makes the intentional and willful transmission of such diseases a misdemeanor offense. Under previous laws, a person with HIV who had sex with an uninformed partner would face a felony charge. The new bill repeals this legislation, HS 1621.5, and adds HS 120290.
- SB 393 (supported by the CPDA). This law relates to arrests and record sealing. It allows a person to petition for limited sealing of certain arrest records. In order for a person to seal an arrest record, the arrest must not, for specified reasons, result in a criminal conviction. It adds both PC 851.91 and PC 851.92.
- SB 394 (supported by the CPDA). This new law relates to parole, specifically for youthful offenders convicted of criminal offenses before their 18th birthday. If they receive LWOP and are convicted before turning 18, they will be able to receive a youthful offender parole hearing during their 25th year of incarceration. This law amends PC 3051.
- SB 395 (supported by the CPDA). This law relates to the Welfare and Institutions code regarding juveniles. Once it goes into effect, this law will require minors who are 15 years old or younger to speak with legal counsel either through a video conference, on the phone, or in person before a custodial interrogation. They will also have the option to sign a waiver for the right to remain silent. The court will consider the failure to comply with the new law prior to making a judgment regarding statements a minor under the age of 15 makes during or after a custodial interrogation. This law has a few exceptions for probation officers regarding when it is necessary to protect life and property from an imminent threat, and requires a further study of its effects. It adds W&I 625.6 and sunsets on January 1, 2025.
- SB 620 (supported by the CPDA). This new law relates to firearms. Specifically, it grants courts the ability to strike or dismiss gun enhancements under PC 12022.5 and 12022.53. This relates to individual cases and depends on the court’s discretion.
Call Our Santa Rosa Criminal Defense Attorney Today at (707) 418-5352
At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., we offer compassionate and aggressive representation to clients who have been charged with criminal offenses in California. Our firm is knowledgeable about state legislation and can discuss your options for pursuing a beneficial outcome. We know you are going through a stressful and frustrating time. That is why our Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyer will work hard to handle the legal issues and guide you through the process.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and learn how our experienced attorney can help.