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New California Laws for 2011

As of January 1, 2011, 725 new laws took effect in California. Here are some important new laws to be aware of this upcoming year.

Increased penalty for sex offenders: AB 1844, also known as Chelsea’s Law, increases penalties, oversight, and parole provisions of sex offenders. The law provides a provision for “one-strike, life-without-parole penalty” for certain offenders and increases the parole term from five years to up to ten years.

Fining parents of children: SB 1317 fines parents of children in kindergarten through the eighth grade $2,000.00 if their children miss 10% of the school year without a valid excuse. The state can also punish parents with up a year in prison.

Changes to marijuana laws: SB 1449 reduces the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to an infraction with a $100.00 fine. Read more about this in our previous post!

Malicious impersonation: SB 1411 makes maliciously impersonating someone via website, social network, or through e-mails a misdemeanor. Under the new law, it is unlawful to “knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person.”

Changes for physically incapacitated inmates: SB 1399 allows the state to medically parole state prison inmates with physically incapacitating conditions.

Insurance companies: AB 119 prohibits insurance companies from charging different rates for men and women for identical coverage.

Changes affecting landlords: SB 782 prohibits landlords from evicting tenants that are victims of domestic or sexual abuse or stalking.

No trans fats: AB 97 bans use of trans-fats in food facilities.

New Laws for California Drivers:

Motorcycle instruction permits: AB 1952 requires drivers younger than 21 years of age to successfully complete a motorcycle safety course administered by the CHP.

Motorcycle theft: AB 1848 makes it a misdemeanor to give, possess, or lend the following items: 1) any device designed to bypass the factory-installed ignition of a motorcycle in order to start the engine without the manufacturer’s key, 2) items of hardware such as bolt cutters, electrical tape, wire strippers or cutters, or allen wrenches, with the intent to aid in the unlawful taking or driving of a motorcycle without the owner’s consent, and 3) any or part of any motorcycle ignition, with the intent to unlawfully take or drive, or to facilitate the unlawful taking or driving of a motorcycle without consent of the owner.

Windshield video event recorder: AB 1942 allows a video event recorder to be mounted in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of a vehicle window on the passenger side or a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the vehicle on the driver’s side, outside of the airbag deployment zone.

Mobile billboard advertising displays: AB 2756 affects advertising displays attached to a wheeled, mobile, non-motorized vehicle that carry, pull, or transport a sign or billboard and operate for the primary purpose of advertising. The new law allows local authorities to adopt rules or regulations through an ordinance or resolution to regulate mobile billboard advertising, including establishing penalties authorizing the removal of the billboard advertising display.

Restrictions on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: AB 2650 prohibits storefront medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within 600 feet of a school.

Revisions to infractions eligible for expungement: AB 2582 revises Penal Code § 1203.4 and allows most infractions, such as non-vehicle offenses or traffic tickets, to be eligible for expungement. Applicants for infraction dismissal become eligible one year from the date of conviction and must not be on active probation or have any open cases at the time of filing a petition for dismissal. If you believe you are eligible for expungement, contact Orange County Expungement Attorney Scott D. Hughes for a consultation.

False representation by military decorations: AB 1829 makes it a misdemeanor for a person who is not a member of the military to “falsely represent himself or herself” as one by wearing a military decoration (i.e. medals, ribbons), in writing, or orally. This was previously only charged as an infraction.

Restrictions on Ammunition Sales: Effective February 1, 2011, AB 962 restricts purchases of handgun ammunition in California and prohibits California residents from purchasing handgun ammunition through Internet and catalog vendors. The new law further requires that delivery or transfer of ownership of handgun ammunition requires a face-to-face transaction. The seller must verify the purchaser’s identity with a driver’s license or other form of official ID and the purchaser must provide a thumbprint, date of birth, and address and telephone number. Failure to comply results in a misdemeanor. If you have questions about your gun rights or effects of the new law, Orange County Gun Rights Attorney Scott. D. Hughes can help.

Restitution for Victims of Identity Theft: SB 1087 adds on to the existing punishments and restitution requirements for people convicted of identity theft. The new law now also requires that people convicted of identity theft be responsible for costs to repair and monitor the victim’s credit report for as long as “reasonably necessary to make the victim whole.”

Sentencing for particular child abuse cases: AB 1280 states that anyone who has physical custody or cares for a child and then assaults the child to a degree that results in the child becoming “comatose due to brain injury or suffering paralysis of a permanent nature” will face life in prison.

Changes to Grand Theft Limits: AB 2372 changes the value of property stolen to be convicted of grand theft from $450 to $950. Thus, anything under $950 is considered petty theft. If you have been charged with petty theft or grand theft, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Scott. D. Hughes for an evaluation of your case.

The complete list of all 725 laws can be found at http://leginfo.ca.gov/pdf/BillsEnactedReport2010.pdf.

Scott Hughes is a criminal defense lawyer in Orange County, California practicing in State and Federal Court.

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