New California Laws in 2022

Written by: Doug Ridley

Highlights of the Laws Affecting Californians in the New Year

Since 2021 came to a close, we have been excited to bring you news of positive changes that have gone into effect this year. Several reforms are taking place, which may positively impact individuals who are facing criminal charges or have been convicted of a charge in the past.

While this is just a brief overview of the changes to California laws in 2022, at Ridley Defense, we are always here to help! We are dedicated to providing you with superior legal representation and counsel. If you have any questions about the new laws or are facing criminal charges, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 for a complimentary consultation.

Laws Related to Punishment

AB 177 - Elimination of Certain Criminal Administrative Fees

Assembly Bill No. 177, which went into effect on January 1, 2022,  repeals the ability of courts to collect multiple criminal administrative fees. Eliminated fees include some lab fees, drug testing, and incarceration. 

Additionally, the bill repeals the authority to collect a $25 administrative screening fee imposed once a person is arrested and released on their own recognizance.

SB 73 - Probation Eligibility for Specified Drug Offenses

Senate Bill No. 73, signed into law on October 5, 2021, eliminates the prohibition against granting probation or suspended sentences for various crimes relating to controlled substances. 

SB 567 - Middle Term Requirement for Sentencing

Senate Bill No. 567 requires the court to impose a sentence that does not exceed the middle term. As of January 1, 2022, courts may only impose a sentence exceeding the middle term allowed by statute if there are aggravating facts stipulated to by the defendant or found true beyond a reasonable doubt at trial by the jury or judge.

AB 518 - Amending Penal Code Section 654

Assembly Bill No. 518 amends section 654 of the Penal Code to allow an act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different laws to be punished under either of the provisions, instead of by the one that imposes the longest possible term of imprisonment. 

SB 81 - Dismissal of Enhancements

Senate Bill No. 81 requires a court to dismiss an enhancement if doing so would be in the furtherance of justice. Prior to this law, courts were authorized to dismiss an enhancement at their discretion if it was in the furtherance of justice. 

The bill lists several non-exclusive factors, including if the application of the enhancement would result in a discriminatory racial impact if the offense is not a violent felony and if the enhancement was based on a prior conviction that is over five years old. 

Laws Related to Juvenile Offenses

SB 383 - Informal Supervision and Deferred Entry of Judgment for Minors

Senate Bill No. 383 amends several sections of the Welfare and Institutions Code relating to juveniles, including the deferred entry of judgment and informal supervision. The new law allows for juveniles to be considered for informal supervision. 

It removes several informal supervision exclusions that had previously been applied to minors who had sold or possessed a controlled substance and those that had committed certain drug offenses on school property.

Additionally, the new law amends the code to ensure that a juvenile’s inability to pay restitution would not be grounds for denying them informal supervision. 

AB 624 - Allows for Appeal of Juvenile Transfer to Adult Court

Assembly Bill No. 624 adds section 801 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, allowing a minor to appeal the transfer from juvenile court to a court of criminal jurisdiction (adult court). 

A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the order of transfer and would require the court to issue a stay of the proceedings until a determination on the appeal is made.

Laws Related to Gang Charges

AB 333 - Participation in a Criminal Street Gang: Enhanced Sentence Changes

Assembly Bill No. 333 amends and adds sections to the Penal Code related to enhanced sentences for participation in a criminal street gang. 

The act known as the STEP Forward Act of 2021 is designed to correct the inconsistent application of the gang enhancement statute by requiring bifurcated trials, changing what can be used to show a “pattern of criminal gang activity,” and requiring that it be shown that the crime committed provided a “common benefit” to members of a gang. The common benefit cannot be merely reputational.

Final Thoughts

These are only a few of the new laws that have affected Californians as of January 1, 2022. At Ridley Defense, we are happy to help you and your family understand these and other changes affecting the criminal justice system or your case. 

Attorney Douglas Ridley is a trusted criminal defense attorney and former Ventura County prosecutor. He and the dedicated attorneys at Ridley Defense are proud to review your case.

Contact our office at (805) 208-1866 for a complimentary consultation. From the entire team at Ridley Defense, we hope that you have a joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

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