A Host of New CA Criminal Justice Laws Go Into Effect in 2020


Last year, California’s legislature was busy proposing new state laws, many of which Governor Gavin Newsom approved. Now, in 2020, residents will see several of those taking effect.

Below are some of the new criminal justice statutes that will be enacted this year:

  • Gun violence restraining orders: Under existing laws, if a person’s family member or a law enforcement officer believes an individual poses a danger to themselves or others by possessing a gun, they can petition a court to revoke firearm privileges. A new law, which will take effect on September 1, 2020, will extend the people who can ask for a gun violence restraining order to employers, coworkers, or employees or teachers of secondary or postsecondary schools.
  • Duration of gun violence restraining orders: Current laws allow for a person’s guns to be removed for 1 year. Beginning September 1, 2020, a new law will allow the renewal of the restraining order for up to 5 years.
  • Out-of-State Gun Purchasers: Under the new law, if a person is prohibited from having a gun in another state, they will not be allowed to legally purchase, own, receive, or possess one in California.
  • Law enforcement use of deadly force: Previous laws stated that a police officer could use deadly force when it was reasonable for the situation. As of January 1, 2020, the new law says that officers can only use deadly force when it is necessary to protect the officer or another individual from the threat of death or serious bodily injury.
  • No copay for inmate medical care: Current law allows inmates to be charged a $3 to $5 fee for medical visits they initiate. In 2020, inmates will no longer be required to submit a copay for medical care or medical supplies.
  • Smoking in CA state parks and beaches: Existing law makes it an infraction punishable by up to $250 to smoke within 25 feet of a playground. The new law will extend prohibited smoking areas to state beaches and state parks. The fine for a violation will be up to $25.
  • Statute of limitations for domestic violence: Under previous law, the state had up to 3 years to commence a prosecution for felony domestic violence offenses. Now, any such crimes committed on or after January 1, 2020 (or those in which the statute of limitations was still running as of January 1, 2020) can take action within 5 years.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Santa Rosa, request a free case consultation with the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. by calling us at (707) 418-5352 or contacting us online.

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