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Navigating the Legal Landscape: New Criminal Laws in California for 2024.

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Firm News

Welcome to the Law Office of Ari S. Lieberman, your trusted ally in the ever-evolving field of criminal defense. As we step into the new year, 2024 brings with it a set of changes in California’s criminal laws that demand our attention. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on the key amendments and additions to the legal framework, empowering you with the knowledge you need to navigate the complexities of the justice system.

Assembly Bill 2773

Assembly Bill 2773 will require a peace officer making a traffic or pedestrian stop to state the reason for the stop before asking investigatory questions. However, the officer may withhold the reason for the stop if the officer reasonably believes it is necessary to protect life or property from an imminent threat.

Assembly Bill 791

Assembly Bill 791, signed into law on October 8, 2023, addresses the availability of bail for defendants charged with certain criminal offenses. Assembly Bill 791 would prohibit a person convicted of an offense punishable by life without the possibility of parole from being released on bail.

Assembly Bill 600

Assembly Bill 600 affects the court’s ability to modify a defendant’s sentence without the agreement of the District Attorney or Attorney General. Existing law authorizes the court to recall the sentence and either reduce a defendant’s custodial term by modifying the sentence, or vacate the conviction and impose judgement on any necessarily included lesser offense or lesser related offense. Existing law allows the court to do this with agreement of the District Attorney or Attorney General. Assembly Bill 600 would authorize the court to recall a sentence on its own motion, at any time. This can only be done if the applicable sentencing laws at the time of the original sentence are changed due to new statutory or case law. Assembly Bill 600 would remove the requirement that the District Attorney or Attorney General concur with the court’s resentencing decision. The bill would require the presumption favoring recall and resentencing to be overcome, if a court finds the defendant currently poses an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.

Senate Bill 14

Senate Bill 14 would include human trafficking of a minor within the definition of a “serious felony” for purposes of the Three Strikes Law. This bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Assembly Bill 2282

Assembly Bill 2282 is intended to expand conduct that would be considered a “hate crime.” Existing law establishes various offenses for a person who places or displays certain symbols, marks, signs, emblems and other physical impressions with the intent to terrorize a person. This bill would expand this offense to include hanging a noose, placing or displaying a sign, mark, symbol, emblem, or other physical impression for the purpose of terrorizing a person. For a first conviction, the defendant is exposed to imprisonment for 16 months, 2 or 3 years in custody and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000. The offense can also be charged as a misdemeanor, which could punish a person with imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000. For a person’s second or subsequent conviction, a person can be punished for up to 16 months, 2 or 3 years and/or a fine not more than $15,000.

Assembly Bill 701

The increasing prevalence of fentanyl-related deaths has prompted legislative responses at various levels of government. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that has been a major contributor to the opioid epidemic, leading to a surge in overdose fatalities.

Existing law classifies controlled substances into five schedules. The greatest restrictions and penalties are placed on the use of substances placed in Schedule I. Fentanyl is currently classified as a Schedule II drug. A person is prohibited from possessing for sale or purchasing for purposes of sale specified controlled substances. A violation of this offense provides for imprisonment in a county jail for 2, 3, or 4 years. Existing law also imposes an additional term, and authorizes a trial court to impose a specified fine, upon a person who is convicted of a violation of, or of a conspiracy to violate, specified provisions of law with respect to a substance containing heroin, cocaine base, and cocaine, if the substance exceeds a specified weight.

Assembly Bill 701 would add fentanyl to the substances for which additional terms or fines, determined by the weight of the controlled substances, can be imposed and would require a defendant who violates those laws with respect to a substance containing heroin, fentanyl, or cocaine, as specified, to know of the nature or character as a controlled substance.

Assembly Bill 818

Existing law allows a court to issue temporary restraining orders or emergency protective orders during a pending criminal case involving domestic violence or elder abuse. In order for the orders to be effective, it is required that a copy of the restraining or protective order be served on to the defendant or respondent. Assembly Bill 818 would expand provisions requiring service of orders. The bill would authorize these orders to be served by a law enforcement officer who receives a request from the protected party to provide service of the order.

Assembly Bill 818 would require peace officers to take into temporary custody any firearm or deadly weapon in plain sight or discovered pursuant to a consensual or otherwise lawful search when at the scene of a domestic violence incident involving a threat to human life or physical assault, serving a protective order pursuant to the above provisions, or serving a gun violence restraining order.

Assembly Bill 455

Anyone convicted of a felony offense, specified misdemeanor, or domestic violence offenses are prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm. Individuals convicted of specified misdemeanor offenses in California cannot possess or receive a firearm for 10 years following the conviction. Firearm prohibitions in California are also applicable to scenarios where an individual is a danger to themselves or others, when a person has been placed under conservatorship by a court, and when a person has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

When an individual is charged with committing a crime, and the court has determined there was a nexus between the crime and the defendant’s mental disorder, the court can grant the defendant what is known as Mental Health Diversion. This would allow the court to suspend criminal proceedings for up to two years to allow the defendant to undergo mental health treatment.

Assembly Bill 455 would authorize the prosecution to request an order from the court to prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm because they are a danger to themselves or others during the period of Mental Health Diversion. Once the defendant has successfully completed Mental Health Diversion, the defendant will again be permitted to own and possess firearms. This law will not go into effect until July 1, 2024.

Assembly Bill 732

As mentioned above, persons convicted of felony offenses, certain misdemeanor offenses, or domestic violence offenses are prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm for specified periods of time. There are existing laws that require a defendant to relinquish any firearm they own or possess within specified periods of time. Individuals who are out of custody following a conviction must relinquish all firearms within five days after the conviction. The court is authorized by law to shorten or enlarge the time period for relinquishment with good cause. Assembly Bill 732 would amend this law to require individuals out of custody, following a conviction to relinquish firearms they own or possess within 48 hours.

Assembly Bill 92

Existing law makes it a felony for a person who has been convicted of a violent felony to purchase, own, or possess body armor. Existing law authorizes a person subject to that prohibition, whose employment, livelihood, or safety is dependent on the ability to legally possess and use body armor, to file a petition for an exception to the prohibition with the chief of police or county sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the person seeks to possess and use the body armor, as provided. This bill would make it a misdemeanor for a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under the laws of this state to purchase, own, or possess body armor, as specified.

Senate Bill 2

Existing law prohibits a person from carrying a concealed firearm or carrying a loaded firearm in public. Existing law authorizes a licensing authority, if the applicant is of good moral character and has completed a specified course of training, to issue a license to carry a concealed handgun or to carry a loaded and exposed handgun.

Senate Bill 2 will modify current legislation to remove the “good cause” criteria that was previously required for the licensing authority to issue a permit to carry a concealed firearm. This is in response to the Supreme Court decision made in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. Senate Bill 2 also disqualifies a person from receiving a concealed carry permit if they are under the age of 21 and/or are reasonably likely to be a danger to themselves, others, or the community.

While individuals would still be permitted to carry a concealed handgun with a permit, Senate Bill 2 expands places deemed “off-limits” to possess a concealed firearm (even with a permit) in designated “sensitive places.”

However, on December 20, 2023, a Federal District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction in Carralero v. Bonta. This lawsuit challenges the legality of Senate Bill 2. The preliminary injunction will block the enforcement of California’s ban on firearm carry in Senate Bill 2.

Staying informed about the latest developments in criminal law is vital for anyone navigating the justice system. At the Law Office of Ari S. Lieberman, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and resources you need to understand and protect your rights. If you have any questions or find yourself in need of legal assistance related to the new criminal laws in 2024, don’t hesitate to call the Law Office of Ari S. Lieberman for a free consultation. Together, we can navigate the legal landscape and work towards a just and fair resolution.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for guidance on your specific legal situation.