A new year means new laws are taking affect, many of which may affect you immediately or at some point in the future. Here’s a rundown of some of the most important criminal laws implemented in California, courtesy of Fallbrook defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
Ignition Interlock Devices
Previously, those who got DUIs with high blood alcohol content and those who were convicted of a second or subsequent DUI were required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) into their car. These devices test a driver’s breath when starting the vehicle and while driving to make sure they are not intoxicated while driving. Under the new law, these requirements will still be in place, but drunk drivers involved in a car accident that result in injury must now get an IID installed as well, even it if it is only their first DUI. Those who are required to install an IID under the new law must leave them on for a period of 12 to 48 months.
First time DUI drivers can now either avoid a hard license suspension by installing an Ignition Interlock Device or suffer a 30 day suspension followed by an 11 month restriction. Both circumstances requires enrollment and completion of a DUI course and proof of insurance. The court has the discretion to order a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device on a first time DUI conviction.
Several counties in California require first time DUI drivers to obtain IID devices but they are not mandatory after first offenses in San Diego county yet. Practically, anyone wanting a restricted license will need one.
An Escondido DUI attorney can sometimes have a DUI charge reduced to a wet reckless conviction in a plea bargain, meaning you may not need to have an IID installed.
Lost Driving Privileges for Truancy
Before, minors convicted of truancy could be subject to the suspension, restriction or delay of driving privileges. Now the court cannot use a minor’s ability to drive as a punishment for truancy. Those who were already subject to such penalties prior to the law taking effect will not be affected by the change.
Gun Owners Must be 21 Years Old
Rifle and shotgun purchasers must now be at least 21 years old, whereas they could be 18 in the past. Handgun ownership was already set at 21 years of age and that will remain the current age limit.
Prisons Must Offer Vegan Options
Good news for vegan felons! The state must now offer a fully plant-based meal option for prisoners. This is both beneficial for prisoners looking to avoid animal products as well as the environment.
Police Training on Sexual Orientation and Identity
Police officers and dispatchers must now take a course on sexual orientation and gender identity as part of their basic training. This means that members of the GLBT community should be afforded more respect and sensitivity by law enforcement officials although existing officers and dispatchers will not need to take these courses.
Employer Background Questions
Employers can no longer ask jon applicants about arrest-related information that did not result in conviction. Also off limits are cases that ended in pretrial or post-trial diversion programs, and convictions that were dismissed or sealed. Unfortunately, those who were convicted and did not have their cases dismissed or sealed will need to disclose this information, another reason why it is so important to fight criminal charges with the help of a top San Marcos defense attorney.
Criminal Case Costs
Finally, a city or county can no longer charge a person for the costs related to the investigation, prosecution or appeal of a criminal case. While San Diego County and its cities never participated in such practices, some cities, like Indio and Coachella left those charged with crimes on the hook for “prosecution fees” on top of fees ordered by the court.
If you have any questions about the new laws taking effect in California, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with a top Rancho Bernardo criminal lawyer.
Creative Commons Image by Joe Gratz