New Laws in 2015


New Laws in 2015

Another New Year brings a host of new laws going into effect.  Several of them affect criminal law or are closely related to it.

  • Now, registered sex offenders who fail to show up to get hooked up to GPS monitoring or who tamper with the device face a mandatory 180 days in jail. The real question is why is this only happening now?
  • There is a new law meant to even out the discrepancy between punishments between crack cases versus powder cocaine cases. Previously, people convicted of possessing crack for sale faced three to five years in custody. Now, people convicted of possessing crack for sale face the same punishment of two to four years as the people convicted of possessing powder cocaine for sale.
  • The fine for using a fake badge to impersonate a police officer has been doubled from $1000 to $2000.
  • A good change also is coming in juvenile cases. It used to be that a person convicted as a juvenile for a crime had to petition the court to seal their records.  Now, if they did everything they were ordered to do by the court, their record will be sealed automatically.
  • In response to the shooting near UC Santa Barbara last year, police or family members who think someone is dangerous can seek a restraining order to prevent the person from purchasing a handgun for 21 days.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, it seemed like every year saw new laws go into effect that was only concerned with being, “tough on crime.”  That meant longer and longer sentences, longer mandatory sentences and broadening of what was a crime.  Over the last several years, that trend seems to have swung the other direction, driven by economic costs of incarceration and the realization that just throwing people in jail and throwing away the key is not the most effective or efficient way to deal with offenders.  The best examples are Proposition 47 which went into effect in November and the retooling of out Three Strikes Law that voters approved in 2012.

San Diego Defenders