California passed many new laws that took effect, and are still rolling into effect this year.  This is my list of highlights. My favorite: the Criminal record cleanup and expungements area.

Criminal justice

Sealing Arrest Records
Many new record-cleanup laws were passed this year, but my favorite?  The law that allows people arrested, but never convicted, to petition the court to dismiss and seal the arrest. In the past, people had to prove they were ‘factually innocent’ of the crime before the Court grant a sealing order.  That was tough!  District Attorneys and cops don’t want you erasing an arrest, even if your’e innocent.  Just ask ’em!


Legalized Marijuana
California voters approved The Adult Use Marijuana Act, permitting adults to grow and possess personal use of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to eight grams of concentrates). It licenses commercial cannabis production and retail sales.
• Repeat drug offenders will no longer automatically get an additional three years added to their sentences.
* Driving under the influence of Marijuana, and possessing it while riding in a vehicle remains illegal.
* Medical Marijuana laws remain unchanged.


Videotaping/Streaming Crimes
• Videotaping or streaming your crimes on social media leads to longer sentences.  That law allows judges to consider the recordings as aggravating factors in sentences for certain violent crimes.

Seniors in Prison
• State prison official must consider paroling inmates who are 60 or older and served at least 25 years under a law that largely mirrors a 2014 federal court order to help reduce prison overcrowding.

Intentionally Transmitting AIDS/HIV
• Intentionally transmitting the AIDS-causing virus HIV is being reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, the same punishment as transmitting other communicable diseases.

Juvenile offenders
• California inmates serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles will get the chance to leave prison after 25 years.

• California’s youthful parole program will be expanded to age 25. State law already required that inmates who were under 23 when they committed their crimes be considered for parole after serving at least 15 years.

• Families of youths in the juvenile justice system won’t be charged fees that many can’t afford to pay. Another will require offenders age 15 or younger to consult with attorneys before waiving their rights.

• Ammunition purchased in another state, online or through a catalog can’t be brought into California except through a licensed dealer under Proposition 63. The initiative also sets a new process and deadlines for gun owners to give up their weapons if convicted of a felony or certain violent misdemeanors.
• Superintendents can no longer allow people with permits to carry concealed guns on school grounds. Only about five school districts previously had such policies.

Immigration Law 
Sanctuary State
Senate Bill 54, the most controversial law of 2018, makes California a “sanctuary state.” A rebuke to Trump’s plans on deportations of immigrants, it limits the ability of police to cooperate with immigration enforcement. Officers cannot inquire about immigration status or detain them on a hold request from the feds, unless they have been convicted of one of more than 800 crimes.

Landlords/ Employers Duties 
The “resistance” to Trump continued with AB 291, which prohibits landlords from reporting their undocumented renters; Senate Bill 257, which allows students whose parents are deported to continue attending schools; and AB 450, bans employers from cooperating with or allowing immigration enforcement raids at their work sites without a court order.


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