New California Criminal Laws for 2019
Apr 24, 2019
California has new criminal laws which took effect starting from January 2019. Whether these laws are designed to bring fairness to offenders or sanity in the state, it is essential to have a look at them.
Police Misconduct Rules
In the past, some Californians have been subject to illegal police conduct and police brutaliyt. Sadly, evidence gathered from these investigation is often tampered with or is hidden from the public altogether. Commencing in 2019, rules state that all the investigative reports, findings, and recommendations should be made public for accountability purposes.
Elimination of Cash Bail
The California appellate court abolished the use of cash bail. The legislature took this action, allegedly, to address inequality in the cash bail system where low income offenders are stuck behind bars on minor offenses. However, this system may lead to defendants remaining in custody for a longer period of time while their case is pending review to determine if they should be released. In addition, certain defendants may be unable to obtain release altogether, whereas, previously they could have posted bail.
Minimum Age for Prosecution
According to Senate Bill 439, defendants under the age of twelve years should not be prosecuted. Senate Bill 1391 also protects juveniles under the age of 15 from being tried in adult courts for any offense. This is a stark contrast to the previous law that gave courts the right to try juveniles as young as 14 years in the same courts with adults.
California legalized the use of marijuana in 2016. This led to confusion and protests from people who were convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past. However, the law was redesigned to allow people charged in the past for these crimes to adjust their sentences. The court can either do away with the conviction or reduce the offense level depending upon the quantity of marijuana involved.
This is just a small taste of the various changes effecting our criminal justice system in California. The amount of changes we’ve had over the last few years in this area have been staggering.
Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.