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New California Criminal Justice Laws Now in Effect

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense lawyerJanuary 1st is not only the date many people choose to set resolutions, but it is also the date the state of California chooses as the effective date for many of the new laws that state lawmakers passed over the past several months. This year is no different. Included in the dozens of new state statutes are some key criminal laws that California citizens should be aware of. The following is a brief overview of those laws.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Under AB 2167, when an individual has been convicted of a crime, the courts are now required to consider other alternatives other than jail or prison as punishment. Lawmakers included wording in the statute that specifies their intent that the disposition of every criminal case in the state concludes with the least restrictive sentence possible. The goal is to reduce the number of people incarcerated in order to achieve better results when it comes to recidivism rates, reducing racial disparities, and better economic outcomes for those involved.

Some of the sentencing options that may be available are:

  • Diversion programs
  • Collaborative justice court programs
  • Restorative justice programs
  • Probation

Retail Theft Diversion

California lawmakers also passed AB 2294 which addresses charges of retail theft. Under the current law, a person arrested for retail theft is able to be released on a promise to appear unless they meet the criteria in place for non-release. Under the new law, anyone arrested for retail theft who has been cited, arrested, or convicted for retail theft within the prior six months will be deemed a non-release candidate if there is probable cause to show the defendant was committing organized retail theft.

New Law Regarding Prisons

There are two new laws that are now in effect that address the rights of prisoners. The first, SB 1139, requires the California Dept of Corrections to notify an inmate’s family if that inmate has been transferred to a hospital for serious or critical medical issues in order to initiate a phone call between the family and the inmate.

The second new law, SB 1008, now requires free phone calls for inmates incarcerated in a detention center, city, county, state jail, or state prison. The new law also prohibits municipalities and the state from earning any revenue from telephone calls made by inmates.

No Longer Illegal

As of January 1, 2023, the state has made two former criminal acts legal. The offenses of loitering with the intent of prostitution and jaywalking are no longer prosecutable crimes. 

Contact a Palo Alto Defense Attorney for Legal Help

If you have been charged with a crime, it is critical to begin building a defense against those charges right away. Call Fuller Law Firm at 408-234-7563 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an aggressive San Jose, CA criminal lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.

 

Sources:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2147

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB357

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1008

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1139

https://legiscan.com/CA/text/AB2294/2021

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2167&search_keywords=Criminal+Justice+

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