California's criminal laws are constantly evolving. Many of them are in response to changes in technology and society, but some of them represent lawmakers' attempts to deal with prior changes in the law that favored diversion and rehabilitation rather than strictly seeking convictions. The following is a brief summary of the major new California criminal laws that will be effective January 1, 2023:
Vehicular Manslaughter is Expanded
Penal Code 192 was amended to define examples of gross negligence. Examples of gross negligence include participating in a "side show", speed exhibition and. speeding in excess of 100 mph. A sideshow is an event in which 2 or more persons block/impede traffic on a highway or parking facility for purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, speed contests, exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving, for spectators.
Multiple petty thefts can become one grand theft
PC 487 is amended and adds PC 487(e):
If the value of the [property or service taken] taken exceeds $950 over the course of distinct but related acts, the value of the [property or service taken] may properly be aggregated to charge a count of grand theft, if the acts are motivated by one intention, one general impulse, and one plan.
PC 1203.41 Dismissals Expanded
If the defendant has been convicted of a felony, the court may permit them to withdraw a guilty/nolo plea or set aside a guilty verdict and dismiss the accusations/information and be released from all penalties and disabilities from the offense.
Relief can only be granted after one year of completion of the sentence if it was a PC 1170(h)(5) “split sentence”, or after two years of completion of PC 1170(h)(5) “straight sentence” or prison sentence.
The defendant cannot be on parole, probation, mandatory supervision, or be serving a sentence for or charged with any other offense. Relief is not available for any offense that requires PC 290 registration when sentence was served in state prison.
If relief is granted, any prior conviction may be pleaded and proved. The Conviction must be disclosed when applying for public office; licensure by state, local, federal tribe; contracting with Lottery. Firearms restrictions still remain after relief. Also relief does not restore ability to hold public office if conviction precludes it.
Disclosure of Immigration Status in Open Court
Evidence Code 351.4 is reenacted stating Evidence of a person’s immigration status shall not be disclosed by a party or their attorney unless the judge first determines that the evidence is admissible in an in-camera hearing requested by the party seeking disclosure. This does not apply when immigration status is necessary to prove an element of the offense or alternative defense. This does not limit discovery The person or their attorney can voluntarily reveal the status.
Free Phone Calls for Incarcerated People
Penal Code 2084.5, WIC 208.1, and Public Utilities Code 2899 enacted providing that State prisons and youth facilities operated by CDCR shall provide persons confined in a correctional or detention facility with accessible, functional voice communication services free of charge to the person initiating and the person receiving the communication.
County/city youth residential placements or detention centers shall provide persons in their custody with accessible, functional voice communication services free of charge to the person initiating and the person receiving the communication.
PC 1203.4 relief cannot be denied due to an unfulfilled order of restitution.
If you are unable to pay restitution, the court cannot deny your application for PC 1203.4 relief.
First two Vehicle Code section 12500 offenses are now infractions only.
First two VC 12500 offenses are now infractions only. A second 12500 can be a misdemeanor if person has a prior driver's license suspension or revocation for certain enumerated offenses. See also Vehicle Code 40000.10.
Effective 1/1/24, drivers and pedestrians must be told the reason for the stop before being questioned regarding a criminal investigation or traffic violation
Effective 1/1/24, drivers and pedestrians must be told the reason for the stop before being questioned regarding a criminal investigation or traffic violation.
(Remember to invoke your right to remain silent as protected by the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution in response to any comment by police and ask if you are free to leave).
CPRA is moved; It can now be found at Gov. Code 7929 et seq.
The California Public Records Act (CPRA) can now be found at Gov. Code 7929 et seq..
Jaywalking eliminated, mostly.
Law Enforcement can only stop a jaywalker if there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power. Otherwise, Jaywalking is not a crime.
Misdemeanor Diversion not available for any offense involving Domestic Violence
Misdemeanor Diversion is not available for any offense involving domestic violence.
We hope that learning about the new laws in California in 2023 will help you become a more informed citizen.
Should you need any legal assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.