California’s New Laws in 2018

A look at California’s New Laws in 2018

 

Almost two dozen new laws are in effect from the 1st of January 2018. Many of these laws have been years in the making and some have been changed without much fanfare or attention. None of the laws are truly a surprise as many people who stay abreast with such developments could see them coming. Some of the new laws are obviously more contentious than others. Many new laws in California are in effect to simplify life and to make the state safer for kids and adults.

 

  • There is an increase in vehicle registration fee, as low as $25 for a vehicle valued or priced under $5,000 and as much as $175 for a vehicle valued or priced over $60,000. The yearly increase in minimum wage is currently in progress and 2018 will have more than two million minimum wage earners in the state receive $11 per hour, a $0.50 increase from last year. The minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour next year. This progress will continue if there is no negative impact on the growth of jobs.

 

  • Bars, restaurants, alcohol companies and hospitality businesses can partner with cab service providers to offer ride sharing. To promote this, establishments can offer promo codes and vouchers to encourage people taking on the discounted rides. This may have a substantial impact on driving under influence cases.

 

  • The most noteworthy development for those in love with cannabis is the legalization of recreational marijuana. Now any adult over the age of twenty-one can buy and possess up to an ounce of concentrated cannabis. One can buy recreational marijuana at any of the licensed stores across the state. One may also grow marijuana in their home or private property but only up to six plants at a time. One cannot sell recreational marijuana without a license but can gift an ounce to another adult aged twenty-one or older. There are still some restrictions to consuming recreational marijuana. One cannot smoke or ingest cannabis while driving, in public places near schools or where kids may be around, at properties where the owner or the business has prohibited the same and in vaporizes aboard public transportation.

 

  • One of the most controversial new laws is the sanctuary being assured to undocumented immigrants. California has passed a law that doesn’t compel the local or state police to cooperate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, either to question someone based on their immigration status or holding someone on suspicion for ICE officials to later question them. No person in the state can be stopped or questioned based on legality of their immigration, unless the person has been personally accused of committing a crime. Even landlords cannot report any renter who may be an illegal immigrant.

 

  • One of the most desirable new laws is the restriction on sales of ammunition. Ammunition of any kind must be purchased from an authorized vendor. Online purchases can be facilitated but only if the recipient is an authorized reseller or licensed vendor. Buyers will have to pick up their purchased ammunition in person.

 

  • Another liberating new law has been the inclusion of non-binary as a gender while applying for driver’s license. A transgender person doesn’t have to choose male or female while applying.

 

 

Tulare County Seeks To Extend IID Pilot Program

In 2010 the California Legislature decided to launch a pilot program requiring first offenders convicted of a DUI to obtain an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle for a minimum period of five months.  The program applied to only four counties in California; Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare County.

According to an article on ABC 30’s website, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors would like to see that program extended for a longer period of time. the program is due to end in 2016.  The American beverage Institute opposes the law in general pointing to the fact that the overwhelming number of DUI related fatalities are from multiple offenders with high Blood Alcohol Levels.

For those that do get convicted of a Driving Under the Influence in one of those four counties, they can expect to have to install the breathalyzer in their vehicle for a minimum period of five months. The cost is generally around $50-$150 a month. An IID must be installed in your vehicle if you wish to obtain a restricted drivers license. The restricted drivers license allows you to drive anywhere at anytime, as long as the vehicle is equipped with the breathalyzer device. This can actually be an advantage for certain people in those four counties, since the normal restricted drivers license only allows for to/from/during work, and to/from the DUI court ordered classes. With the IID, you can drive to pick up your kids or groceries without violating the conditions of your restricted drivers license. According to Sacramento DUI Attorney Michael Rehm, many of his clients prefer to have a restricted drivers license that allows for greater flexibility, but many resent the additional cost and the many problems that have been associated with the installation and maintenance of the machine.

Criminal Defendants Have Right To Investigate Victims Homes

According to an article in the Denver Post, a Colorado court has ruled to criminal defendants have the right to examine the homes of the victims in the crimes. The Defense would presumably have to be able to show that the search of the homes would provide potential evidence that is ““relevant, material and necessary to his defense.”

Courts in California, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey have come to similar conclusions. The Court reasoned that the defendants right to a fair trial supersedes the privacy interests of the victim. The reasoning seems to be that the defense has a right to inspect the crime scene to determine independently what occurred, whether the initial investigation was sloppy, or whether there are other possible explanations for the crime than the one that the government is promoting.

The notion of the Defense exploring the crime scene is not a new one, however Victims Rights Advocates were uncomfortable applying this notion to the victims private dwellings.