New Laws That Mean Big Changes For California Law
With every new year, there are always changes, and many variations are coming to the criminal justice system for California. Some of the more modern laws that will be going into effect for 2019 which emphasize social justice reform and criminal reform.
So let’s take a look at several new laws that will change some of the ways things are done in California.
An End to Cash Bail
There will no longer be a cash bail for those suspects who are waiting for a trial. Bail agents are looking for a referendum to overturn this new law and supporters have contended it as it makes the criminal justice more fair for those that have little money.
The president of Golden State Bail Agents Association, Topo Padilla, was quoted saying that 365,000 signatures were needed and 550,000 were collected, which means that is the number of voters who signed a paper wanting this to be on a ballad. This law will be put into effect on October 1, 2019.
A risk assessment that is done pretrial will be used to decide who will be released from jail. In cases that are non-violent and misdemeanor, the defendants will be released within 12 hours. For other cases, they will be scored on how likely it is that they will appear for their court date and the seriousness of the crime the defendant committed. With this new law being put into effect, at least eight thousand residents in California will be out of work, those that are in the bail industry, as stated by Padilla. This is not just about saving jobs; it is about public safety and eliminating a constitutional right that exists, according to Padilla.
New Law Affecting Intoxicated Drivers
There will be a new law in 2019 that will affect drivers who are caught driving under the influence. This legislation hopes to make the roads a safer place while allowing those who have convictions from DUIs to be still able to drive. This new law starts with taking a breathalyzer, which is a device that nationwide can be found on more than 300,000 vehicles. This law would allow for those who have been convicted of a DUI to keep their license and car but having a critical restriction added for safety. New rules will now be applied to drivers in California who have been convicted twice of driving under the influence.
This rule started the first of January and allowed for those who were convicted of a DUI to regain their privileges for driving in full if they install an ignition interlock device into all of the vehicles that they own. This was sad by Todd Gloria, the San Diego Assemblyman. The breathalyzer device can determine how much alcohol is in the system of the driver and will not allow the vehicle to start if the driver is not sober. This new law began as a pilot program for Sacramento as well as three other counties who were using the ignition interlocks.
The experts in the industry have said that this device has seen a reduction of repeat DUIs by 74%. Now, this is becoming a statewide law. These devices are being predicted as being able to save up to 100 lives yearly.
Convictions For Pot
Thanks to the approval of Proposition 64, there will be new liberties for thousands in California that have been convicted with charges related to pot. Proposition 64 was passed in 2016 by California voters, but this new law follows up on this law, which made the use of marijuana legal for recreational purposes.
The new law is causing the California Department of Justice to have to review all convictions for marijuana that may be able to be reduced or even purged.
This law opens new doors for those who were convicted for having marijuana in their possession, seeing as this is now legal in California. Those who have misdemeanors and felony charges that relate to cannabis offenses are now able to petition courts to remove or reduce the convictions.
With this new law in place, it will create a more natural way for those in California who have convictions relating to marijuana to become employed and obtain housing after these offenses are removed from the records.
According to the law, the Department of Justice is required to make a list of names before July 1st to submit to the local district attorneys. DA’s can challenge any findings, but if no challenge is made, then the courts can reduce or remove the criminal conviction.
Vote-By-Mail Ballots That Are Prepaid
Voting by mail just got a lot easier thanks to this new law in California that enables ballots to have prepaid postage. This means that no stamp will be needed to mail in your vote. The vice president of Political Data, Paul Mitchell, believes that the younger group of voters will benefit from this the most as they are the ones doing more things online and it allows them to mail off their ballots without searching for a stamp directly.
It means you’ll never have to use a stamp. There’s one group that could especially benefit, which is the younger voters. With this new law, the state will reimburse counties that ask for the cost of paying for the additional postage.
Other Laws Coming Into Effect
These are not the only laws that will be coming into effect for 2019. Many other laws will be making changes in California. There are laws in regards to lactation accommodation for working moms, meal breaks for commercial drivers, several new laws for sexual harassment, human trafficking, lunches for kids, and so many more, you can find a full list online for all new laws going into effect for 2019.
Below is a quick overview of a few of the laws you will see in different categories.
Police Transparency Laws
- AB 748 — Video and Audio Recordings Disclosure
As of July 1st, the release of all recordings from cameras that are body-worn will be required within 45 days of the incident
- SB 1421 — Release of Records
This law will make public all investigations of officers for lying on duty, sexual assault, and use of force.
- SB 1100 — Firearms Transfers
- This law raises the legal age to buy firearms from 18 to 21, except for law enforcement, military members, and residents with hunting licenses.
- AB 3129 — Firearms Prohibited Persons
- A lifetime ban for gun ownership to anyone who is convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
- AB 2103 — License to Carry Concealed Weapons
- Requires those wanting a concealed carry license to go through a minimum of 8 hours for training on firearm safety, as well as handling and technique.
Photo Credits: · Featured Image - Photo Courtesy of Stockvault