California has been at the forefront of criminal law reform, particularly when it comes to reforming laws and improving the lives of those who have served time for past crimes. Recently the state legislature passed dozens of bills that expanded and made changes to procedures and policies to improve public safety by reducing recidivism rates among ex-offenders. Below we discuss 3 new 2023 California criminal laws you should know about.
SB-731: Criminal Record Relief:
SB 731 is a new bill set to take effect in July 2023 that aims to help Californians who have criminal records. Once enacted, SB-731 will automatically seal most criminal records for those who have completed their sentences, with some exceptions.
Under current law, people convicted of certain offenses cannot petition for relief until 10 years after conviction or release from custody, whichever is later. However, SB-731 lowers the 10-year requirement to 5 years. The bill will also apply retroactively to anyone convicted of a crime who has been released from custody for at least 10 years and completed their sentence.
The goal of SB-731 is to enable California’s process for sealing criminal records to be more straightforward and less expensive in order for those who benefit from it to have a positive re-entry into the community and greater success against recidivism.
AB-2799 is known as the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act which precludes lyrics, poems, or other artistic expressions from being used as evidence in criminal and civil proceedings with some exceptions.
The primary intent of AB-2799 is to decriminalize artistic expression, which is defined as any form of expression that is protected by the First Amendment and allows artists to continue to be creative without fear of prosecution.
AB-2147: Decriminalization of Jaywalking
Many Californians may not know, but prior to the passage of AB-2147, jaywalking was illegal and chargeable as a criminal offense. With the passage of the new bill, Jaywalking will no longer be charged as a criminal offense and will be considered a civil offense resulting in the issuing of a ticket as opposed to an arrest or citation.
So, as of January 1, 2023, it is no longer illegal for Californians to Jaywalk “as long as it is safe to do so.”
The enactment of these new laws will have a significant impact on thousands of Californians. The criminal record relief bill will allow thousands of people who have been convicted of crimes to get their records expunged, which means they won’t show up when someone does a background check on them. The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act will protect the creative ingenuity and first amendment rights artists utilize by precluding prosecution for their creative work if there is no intent to offend anyone. And finally, AB-2147 will decriminalize jaywalking so long as pedestrians aren’t crossing against traffic lights or signals while doing so. These three new laws are just a few highlights of the many new 2023 California Criminal Laws coming into effect soon.
Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC is a San Francisco County, Alameda County, and San Mateo County-based law firm representing clients throughout the state of California, specializing in the defense of state and federal criminal cases. The firm handles cases at the trial and appellate levels. The firm also defends individuals before administrative and regulatory agencies.
The firm has handled criminal matters involving murder, narcotics, violent crimes, sex offenses, weapons offenses, driving under the influence, domestic violence defense, juvenile law, criminal tax violations, violations of the federal food and drug laws, Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, federal securities violations, insider trading, and computer crimes. Our clients have included doctors, bank vice presidents, small business owners, corporate executives, college professors, engineers, attorneys, and teachers.
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