Recent Changes in the Criminal Code of California

The following is a synopsis of the changes in California Law in 2008.  For more information
on the applicability, defenses and challenges to these recent laws, contact our office to
speak with a local
Santa Clarita Criminal Defense Lawyer.

ANIMALS

Pet Stores

       An animal control officer, humane officer, or police officer who detects a violation of
Health & Safety Code § 122351 , § 122353(b)-(c), or § 122353(b)(3)-(4) (relating to
procedures for the care and maintenance of animals in the custody of a pet store) shall
issue the store a single notice to correct. Failure to correct is an infraction. A second
violation is also an infraction; a third or subsequent violation is a criminal misdemeanor.
Notwithstanding the above, such a violation is a misdemeanor if the pet store operator
causes or allows harm or injury to an animal, or allows an animal to be subject to an
unreasonable risk of harm or injury. (Health & Safety Code § 122356 )

       A pet store may not offer any live animal as a prize or give away any animal as an
inducement to enter any contest, game, or other competition. A pet store may not sell, offer
for sale, trade, or barter any dog or cat that is under 8 weeks of age. Nor may a pet store
sell any animal before it is weaned, except for animals intended to be used as food for
other animals. (Health & Safety Code § 122359 )

ASSAULT & BATTERY

Parking Control Officers

       An assault committed against the person of a parking control officer engaged in the
performance of his or her duties, when the defendant knew the victim was a parking control
officer, is a criminal offense punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and/or imprisonment in the
county jail up to 6 months. (Penal Code § 241)

CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN

Child Abuse

       For mandatory reporting purposes, “
child abuse or neglect” includes death inflicted by
other than accidental means upon a child by another person. (Penal Code § 11165.6)

       A mandated reporter acting in his or her private capacity and not in his or her
professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment may report a known or
suspected instance of child abuse or neglect. (Penal Code § 11166)

Early Release

       Early release may be granted to a prisoner who is permanently medically
incapacitated and whose release is deemed not to threaten public safety. (Penal Code §
1170)

Parole

       Continuous abuse of a child is now classified a “violent felony,” so an inmate
convicted of that offense and released on parole may not be returned to a location within
35 miles of the actual residence of a victim of, or a witness to, the crime if the victim or
witness has requested additional distance in the placement of the inmate on parole, and if
the Board of Parole Hearings or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation finds that
there is a need to protect the life, safety, or well-being of a victim or witness. (Penal Code §
3003)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

Destruction of Arrest Records

       In any case where the petition of an arrestee to the law enforcement agency to have
an arrest record destroyed is denied, petition may be made to the superior court that would
have had territorial jurisdiction over the matter. A copy of the petition shall be served on the
law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense, as well as the prosecuting
attorney, at least 10 days prior to the hearing thereon. The law enforcement agency
through the district attorney may present evidence to the court at the hearing. (Penal Code
§ 851.8)

Involuntary Home Detention

       Upon determination by the correctional administrator that conditions in a jail facility
warrant the necessity of releasing sentenced misdemeanor inmates prior to them serving
the full amount of a given sentence due to lack of jail space, the board of supervisors of
any county may authorize the correctional administrator to offer a program under which
inmates committed to a county jail or other county correctional facility or granted probation,
or inmates participating in a work furlough program, may be required to participate in an
involuntary home detention program, which shall include electronic monitoring, during their
sentence in lieu of confinement in the county jail or other county correctional facility or
program. Whenever the peace officer supervising a participant has reasonable cause to
believe that the participant is not complying with the rules or conditions of the program, or
that the electronic monitoring devices are unable to function properly in the designated
place of confinement, the peace officer may, under general or specific authorization of the
correctional administrator, and without a warrant of arrest, retake the person into custody to
complete the remainder of the original sentence. (Penal Code § 1203.017)

CRIMINAL PROFITEERING

Defined

       “Criminal profiteering activity” includes vehicle theft committed or attempted or any
threat made for financial gain or advantage. (Penal Code § 186.2)

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY

Penalties

       When any person takes, damages, or destroys any property in the commission or
attempted commission of a felony, with the intent to cause that taking, damage, or
destruction, the court shall impose an additional term as follows:
o        If the loss exceeds $65,000, 1 year;
o        If the loss exceeds $200,000, 2 years;
o        If the loss exceeds $1,300,000, 3 years;
o        If the loss exceeds $3,200,000, 4 years.
(Penal Code § 12022.6)

DISORDERLY CONDUCT

Defined

       Disorderly conduct no longer includes loitering or wandering upon the streets or from
place to place without apparent reason or business and refusing to identify oneself or
account for one’s presence to a law enforcement officer in circumstances making that
identification reasonable. (Penal Code § 647)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Protective Orders

       Upon conviction for
infliction of injury upon a present or former spouse or cohabitant
or parent of a child, the sentencing court shall also consider issuing an order restraining
the defendant from any contact with the victim, which may be valid for up to 10 years, as
determined by the court. This protective order may be issued by the court whether the
defendant is sentenced to state prison, county jail, or if imposition of sentence is
suspended and the defendant is placed on probation.  (Penal Code § 273.5)

       On a showing of good cause, a
criminal court may include in a protective order a grant
to the petitioner of the exclusive care, possession, or control of any animal owned,
possessed, leased, kept, or held by either the petitioner or the respondent or a
minor child
residing in the residence or household of either the petitioner or the respondent. The court
may order the respondent to stay away from the animal and forbid the respondent from
taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, molesting, attacking, striking, threatening,
harming, or otherwise disposing of the animal. (Penal Code § 6320)

DUMPING

Penalties

       In any case in which a defendant is convicted of any of the offenses enumerated in
§§372, 373a, 374.3, 374.4, 374.7, or 374.8, the court shall order the defendant to pay a
fine of $100 if the conviction is for an infraction or $200 if the conviction is a
misdemeanor,
in addition to any other penalty or fine imposed. (Penal Code § 1202.51)

FIREWORKS

Dangerous Fireworks

       A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of less than 25 pounds
of unaltered dangerous fireworks shall be punished by a $500-$1,000 fine and/or
imprisonment in the county jail up to 1 year (minimum $1,000 fine, subsequent conviction).  
A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of not less than 25 pounds
or more than 100 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks is guilty of a public offense
punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment in the county jail and/or a $1,000-$5,000 fine. A
person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of not less than 100 pounds or
more than 5,000 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks is guilty of a public offense
punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment in the county jail and/or a $5,000-$10,000 fine. A
person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of more than 5,000 pounds of
unaltered dangerous fireworks is guilty of a public offense punishable by up to 1 year
imprisonment in the county jail and/or a $10,000-$50,000 fine. This section does not apply
to a person who holds a valid license or permit. (Health & Safety Code § 12700 )

       A second or subsequent conviction for selling, giving, or delivering any dangerous
fireworks to any person under 18 is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail up to 1
year and/or up to a $5,000 fine. (Health & Safety Code § 12702 )

FRAUD

Impersonating an Officer

       Vendors of law enforcement uniforms must verify that a person purchasing a uniform
identifying a law enforcement agency is an employee of the agency identified on the
uniform. Presentation and examination of a valid identification card with a picture of the
person purchasing the uniform and identification, on the letterhead of the law enforcement
agency, of the person buying the uniform as an employee of the agency identified on the
uniform are sufficient verification. Any uniform vendor who sells a uniform identifying a law
enforcement agency, without verifying that the purchaser is an employee of the agency, is
guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1,000. These provisions do not apply
if the uniform is to be used solely as a prop for a motion picture, television, video
production, or a theatrical event, and prior written permission has been obtained by the
identified law enforcement agency. (Penal Code § 538d)

Military Decorations

       Any person who, orally, in writing, or by wearing any military decoration, falsely
represents himself or herself to have been awarded any military decoration, with the intent
to defraud, is guilty of an infraction. (Military & Veterans Code §648.1)

White Collar Crime Enhancement

       Upon conviction of two or more related felonies, a material element of which is fraud
or embezzlement, which involve a pattern of related felony conduct that results in the loss
by another person or entity of more than $500,000, an additional term of punishment of 2,
3, or 5 years in the state prison shall be imposed, consecutive to any other sentence. If the
loss was $100,000 or more, but less than $500,000, an additional term of punishment of 1
or 2 years in the state prison shall be imposed, consecutive to any other sentence. (Penal
Code § 186.11)

GAMING

Player Fees

       Player fees may be assessed at up to 5 different collection rates per table. (Penal
Code § 337j)

GANGS

Nuisance

       Any district attorney or prosecuting city
attorney may maintain an action for money
damages on behalf of a community injured as a result of a nuisance created by gang
activity. (Penal Code § 186.22a)

HOMICIDE

Vehicular Manslaughter

       A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing vehicular manslaughter
while either operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or a
drug and in the
commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or
operating a vessel under the
influence of alcohol or a drug and in the commission of a
lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence,
shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of 5 years. (Penal Code § 192.5)

OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC JUSTICE

Disclosure of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigation

       It is a misdemeanor for a peace officer, an employee of a law enforcement agency, an
attorney employed by a government agency, or a trial court employee to:
(i) disclose, for financial gain, information obtained in the course of a
criminal investigation,
the disclosure of which is prohibited by law, or
(ii) solicit, for financial gain, the exchange of information obtained in the course of a criminal
investigation, the disclosure of which is prohibited by law.
It is a misdemeanor to solicit any person described above to disclose information obtained
in the course of a criminal investigation, with the knowledge that the disclosure is prohibited
by law. It is also a misdemeanor for any of the above persons, for financial gain, to solicit or
sell any photograph or video taken inside any secure area of a law enforcement or court
facility, the taking of which was not authorized by the law enforcement or court facility
administrator. The above misdemeanors are all punishable by up to a $1,000 fine. In
addition to any other penalty, the defendant must forfeit any monetary compensation
received.  Nothing in this section shall apply to officially sanctioned information,
photographs, or video, or to information, photographs, or video obtained or distributed
pursuant to the California Whistleblower Protection Act or the Local Government Disclosure
of Information Act. (Penal Code § 146g)

STALKING

Protective Order

       Following conviction for stalking, the sentencing court must consider issuing an order
restraining the defendant from any contact with the victim, that may be valid for up to 10
years, as determined by the court, whether the defendant is sentenced to state prison,
county jail, or if imposition of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on
probation. (Penal Code § 646.9)


VEHICLE LAW HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2007 CALIFORNIA LEGISLATIVE SESSION




BICYCLES

Lights
       A bicycle operated during darkness upon a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not
prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway must be equipped with a front lamp and
reflectors. (Vehicle Code§ 21201)

BOATING
Registration
       It is an infraction, punishable by a fine of $250, to operate an undocumented
sterndrive or inboard vessel requiring numbering by the state that is not currently numbered
by the state, and that does not comply with the emissions standards required by §2442 of
Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. (Vehicle Code§ 9853.8)

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Transportation of Fireworks
       A driver of a commercial motor vehicle shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle
for 3 years if the driver is convicted of transporting unaltered dangerous fireworks having a
gross weight, including packaging, of 10,000 pounds or more without a valid license or
permit. (Health & Safety Code §12703)

COMPLAINT
Mailing
       When there is a violation of §40001, an owner or any other person subject to §40001
who was not driving the vehicle involved in the violation may be mailed a written notice to
appear. If the defendant fails to appear in court or does not deposit lawful bail, or pleads
other than “guilty” of the offense charged, a verified complaint shall be filed which shall be
deemed to be an original complaint, and thereafter proceedings shall be had as provided
by law, except that a defendant may, by an agreement in writing, subscribed by the
defendant and filed with the court, waive the filing of a verified complaint and elect that the
prosecution may proceed upon a written notice to appear. (Vehicle Code§ 40002)

DRIVER LICENSES

Counterfeit Licenses
       Manufacturing or selling an identification document of a size and form substantially
similar to a driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Motor
Vehicles is now punishable by a $1,000 fine, no part of which may be suspended, and 24
hours of community service. (Vehicle Code§ 13004.1; §14610.1)
Driving Under Suspension
       Driving while one’s license is suspended for reckless driving causing injury to another
is punishable by 5 days to 6 months imprisonment and a $300-$1,000 fine, or by 10 days to
1 year imprisonment and a $500-$2,000 fine following a second or subsequent offense
within 5 years. (Vehicle Code§ 14601)

DUI
Operation while on Probation
       Effective January 1, 2009, it is unlawful for a person on probation for a
DUI violation to
operate a motor vehicle at any time with a
blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01% or greater.
(Vehicle Code§ 23154)

ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTIVE MOBILITY DEVICES (EPAMDs)
Operation
       A person may not operate an EPAMD on a sidewalk, bike path, pathway, trail, bike
lane, street, road, or highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent having
due regard for weather, visibility, pedestrians, and other conveyance traffic. A person may
not operate an EPAMD at a speed that endangers the safety of persons or property. A
person may not operate an EPAMD on a sidewalk, bike path, pathway, trail, bike lane,
street, road, or highway with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or
property. A person operating an EPAMD on a sidewalk, bike path, pathway, trail, bike lane,
street, road, or highway shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians on foot, including
persons with disabilities using assistive devices and service animals that are close enough
to constitute a hazard. (Vehicle Code§ 21281.5)

INSURANCE

Peace Officers & Firefighters
       The requirement that a peace officer or firefighter involved in an accident submit a
written declaration stating whether or not at the time of the accident he or she was
operating an emergency vehicle in the performance of his or her duty during the hours of
his or her employment is repealed. (former Insurance Code §557.6)

LICENSE PLATES

Display
       A casing, shield, frame, border, product, or other device that obstructs or impairs the
reading or recognition of a license plate by an electronic device operated by state or local
law enforcement, an electronic device operated in connection with a toll road, high-
occupancy toll lane, toll bridge, or other toll facility, or a remote emission sensing device,
may not be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle. (Vehicle Code§ 5201)
       A person may not sell a product or device that obscures, or is intended to obscure, the
reading or recognition of a license plate. Violation is punishable by a fine of $250 per item
sold. (Vehicle Code§ 5201.1)

Special License Plates
       Upon the death of a person issued an “Ex-Prisoner of War” or “Congressional Medal
of Honor” license plate, if the person’s surviving spouse retains the license plate, the
vehicle shall continue to be exempt from payment of vehicle registration fees and charges
under the Vehicle License Fee Law. (Vehicle Code § 5101.5 - §5101.6)

OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES
Operation
       A person who operates a motor vehicle in an area closed to that vehicle (e.g. a wildlife
habitat or historical site) is guilty of a public offense. A first offense is an infraction
punishable by a $50 fine; a subsequent offense within 7 years is an infraction punishable
by a $75 fine. (Vehicle Code§ 38301)

PARKING
Persons with Disabilities
       A vehicle with a special license plate or distinguishing placard issued to a person or
veteran with disabilities, or entity transporting those persons, which is equipped with a lift,
ramp, or assistive equipment may park in not more than two adjacent stalls or spaces on a
street or highway or in a public or private off-street parking facility if the equipment has
been or will be used for loading or unloading a person with a disability, and if there is no
single parking space immediately available on the street or highway or within the facility
that is suitable for that purpose. (Vehicle Code § 22511.85)
       Parking in a space reserved for persons with disabilities without authorization is now
punishable by a $250-$500 fine, first offense, a $500-$750 fine, second offense, or
$750-$1,000 fine, third or subsequent offense.  (Vehicle Code§ 42001.13)

RACING
Penalty
       Engaging in a
motor vehicle speed contest is now a two-point offense. (Vehicle Code§
12810)

RAILROAD CROSSINGS
Stopping
       The driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign at a railroad grade crossing shall stop
at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before crossing the first track or entrance to the railroad
grade crossing. (Vehicle Code§ 22450)

RECKLESS DRIVING

Penalties
       A person’s driving privilege shall be suspended following conviction for
reckless
driving
causing injury to another. (Vehicle Code§ 13201)
       A person’s driving privilege shall be revoked following a third conviction for reckless
driving causing injury to another within a 12-month period. (Vehicle Code§ 13351)

Seizure of Vehicle
Whenever a peace officer determines that a person was engaged in:
·a motor vehicle speed contest,
·reckless driving on a highway,
·reckless driving in an offstreet parking facility, or
·an exhibition of speed on a highway,
the officer may immediately arrest and take into custody that person and may cause the
removal and seizure of the motor vehicle used in the offense. A motor vehicle so seized
may be impounded up to 30 days. (Vehicle Code§ 23109.2)

REMOVAL

Registration Violations
       Any peace officer engaged in directing traffic or enforcing parking laws and
regulations may remove a vehicle when the vehicle displays a registration card,
identification card, temporary receipt, license plate, special plate, registration sticker,
device, or permit that was not issued for that vehicle, or is not otherwise lawfully used on
that vehicle, or an altered, forged, counterfeit, or falsified registration card, identification
card, temporary receipt, license plate, special plate, registration sticker, device, or permit.
(Vehicle Code § 22651)

SIGNAGE

RV-Friendly Symbols
       The Department of Transportation shall incorporate the use of an “RV-friendly”
symbol on an information sign for a specific roadside business that meets criteria of the
Department regarding sufficiency for recreational vehicles with respect to the parking
spaces and surfaces, vertical clearance, turning radius, and entrances and exits of the
facility. A roadside business otherwise qualified for a sign may qualify for and request an
“RV-friendly” symbol for that sign.  (Streets & Highways Code §101.7)

SMOKING

Minors in Vehicle
       It is unlawful to smoke a pipe, cigar, or cigarette in a motor vehicle, whether in motion
or at rest, in which there is a minor. Violation is an infraction punishable by up to a $100
fine. (Health & Safety Code §118948)
       A law enforcement officer may not stop a vehicle solely to determine whether the
driver is smoking with a minor in the vehicle. (Health & Safety Code §118949)

SPEED LIMITS

School Zones
       A local authority may, by ordinance or resolution, determine and declare prima facie
speed limit of 15 mph in a residence district, on a highway with a
posted speed limit of 30
mph or slower, when approaching, at a distance of less than 500 feet from, or passing, a
school building or the grounds of a school building, contiguous to a highway and posted
with a school warning sign that indicates a speed limit of 15 mph, while children are going
to or leaving the school, either during school hours or during the noon recess period. A limit
of 25 mph may be declared on a highway with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or slower,
when approaching, at a distance of 500 to 1,000 feet from, a school building or the grounds
thereof, contiguous to a highway and posted with a school warning sign that indicates a
speed limit of 25 mph, while children are going to or leaving the school, either during school
hours or during the noon recess period. (Vehicle Code§ 22358.4)

TOLLS

Evasion
       A person registered in another state as the owner of a vehicle cited for a toll evasion
violation shall be jointly and severally liable for the toll evasion penalty imposed, unless the
owner can show that the vehicle was used without the express or implied consent of that
person. (Vehicle Code§ 40250)

TRAFFIC SCHOOL

Cancellation of Class
       In the event of a cancellation of a scheduled class, a licensed traffic violator school
shall not be required by the department to provide a program of instruction in traffic safety
to a person for a fee that is less than the standard fee normally charged by the licensee for
its program, if a notice of cancellation of a class is given to a student at least 72 hours prior
to the start of the class, or if the class was canceled based upon exigent circumstances
beyond the control of the licensee. (Vehicle Code§ 11219.5)

Court-Ordered Instruction
       A court may not order or permit a person, regardless of the driver’s license class, to
complete a licensed traffic violator school or other court-approved program of driving
instruction in lieu of adjudicating an offense if that offense is a
hit-and-run, reckless driving,
or
DUI violation. (Vehicle Code§ 42005)

Duplicate Certificate of Completion
       A licensed traffic violator school may charge a fee up to $15 for issuance of a
duplicate certificate of completion. (Vehicle Code§ 11208)

WIRELESS TELEPHONES

Minors
       Effective July 1, 2008, it is an infraction for a person under 18 to drive a motor vehicle
while using a wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device, or while using
a mobile service device. Violation is punishable by a $20 fine, first offense, or a $50 fine,
subsequent offense. A law enforcement officer shall not stop a vehicle for the sole purpose
of determining whether the driver is violating this section. This section does not apply to a
person using a wireless telephone or a mobile service device for emergency purposes,
including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care
provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity. (Vehicle Code§
23124)

For more information about how these changes in the law may affect your case, contact our
Santa Clarita Criminal Defense Attorneys today.

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