Starting January 1, 2017, hundreds of new laws went into effect in the state of California. These changes range from minimum wage to foreclosures to catching Pokémon while driving.
Staying on top of these changes is no small feat. That is why our team has taken the time to summarize some of the biggest changes that may affect our clients. Browse through the new laws below and be sure to consult a Fairfield criminal defense attorney at our firm if you have been charged with a crime and need to discuss your options.
- Use of Electronic Wireless Devices – Drivers are now prohibited from holding an electronic wireless device, such as a cell phone, while driving. The device can be mounted in the lower corners of the windshield or on the dashboard if it does not obstruct the driver’s view or the deployment of any airbags. Drivers are still allowed to use single tap and swipe motions on the device when driving; they are simply not allowed to hold it in their hand.
- Motorcycle Lane-Splitting – Lane-splitting now has an official definition as “driving a motorcycle, which has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane.” As before, it is legal for motorcyclists to split lanes as long as it is safe to do so.
- Ignition Interlock Devices – DUI offenders in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, and Tulare Counties are required to install Ignition Interlock Devices on their vehicles to ensure they are sober before they are able to start their vehicles. This is currently a pilot program for these 4 counties, which will become a statewide law on January 1, 2019.
- Car Seats – Children younger than 2 years old must now sit in rear-facing car seats.
- Uber & Lyft Drivers – Restrictions are now in place to prevent companies like Uber and Lyft from hiring registered sex offenders, violent felons, or anyone with a DUI conviction on record in the past seven years. They also cannot drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or more (the same as commercial drivers).
Sex Crime Laws
- No Statute of Limitations for Rape Allegations – There used to be a limitation on how long after the assault a person could prosecute for rape. That statute of limitation is now gone, meaning that a rape victim can report the crime anytime in the future, as long as the crime occurred on or after January 1, 2017.
- Mandatory Prison Time for Non-Consent Sex Assault – Following the outrage over the Brock Turner sexual assault case, prison sentences are now mandatory in sexual assault cases where the victim was unconscious or unable to give consent due to intoxication.
- Online Profile Information of Internet Sex Offenders – Convicted sex offenders must now provide their email addresses, usernames, and other online profile information to police.
- Children Under 18 Cannot Be Charged with Prostitution – This is because of the high rate of human trafficking of children under 18 years old.
Drug Crime Laws
- Possession of “Spice” – It is now illegal to possess the synthetic drug known as “spice.”
- Saving an Animal Trapped in a Car Is Legal – If you see a dog in a car on a hot or freezing day and you break the window to rescue it, you cannot be held liable.
Need a Criminal Attorney in Fairfield? Call (888) 744-3057!
The laws listed above barely scratch the surface of the changes that occurred in California laws this year, but we hope they help. Are you currently facing criminal charges? Get in touch with a Fairfield criminal defense lawyer. Call The Maher Law Group, APC!
Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation and discuss your options with a lawyer.