It has been famously said that ignorance of the law is no defense. With that in mind, the lawyers at Wallin & Klarich are here to remind you that with each new year comes new laws that you need to know about. By keeping yourself up to date, you can avoid the embarrassment of telling a police officer “I didn’t know I couldn’t do that!”
California Gun Laws for 2016
New laws relating to gun ownership take effect in 2016. One of them, Senate Bill 707, amended parts of the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.1 Previously, persons with a valid concealed carry permit were exempt from firearm bans on public or private school campuses. SB 707 updated the law to eliminate this exemption, except for certain retired peace officers. Violating the act by bringing a gun onto a school campus is punishable by two, three or five years in state prison.
Along with SB 707, Governor Brown also signed into law Assembly Bill 1014. This gun violence restraining order law allows law enforcement officials to seize firearms from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.2 Once a family member or law enforcement officer asks the court to issue a GVRO against someone, that person could be banned from possessing a firearm for 2` days or one year, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Rules of the Road
Several new laws affecting drivers took effect with the new year. Senate Bill 491 makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while wearing headphones in both ears.3 This law applies to bicycle riders as well, and carries with it a potential fine of $160.4
Assembly Bill 208 extends to bicycle riders the requirement that slow moving vehicles pull over to allow cars to pass when five or more cars are behind them.5 Assembly Bill 604 puts regulations on the use of popular “hoverboard” scooters.6 Riders must now be 16 years old or above to operate a hoverboard and are required to wear helmets.
Drinking and Drugs
Senate Bill 212 creates additional penalties for manufacturers of methamphetamine and the marijuana concentrate known as butane hash oil.7 Judges can now impose longer prison sentences when methamphetamine is made within 200 feet of an occupied residence or structure, and when butane hash oil is made within 300 feet of an occupied residence or structure. Legislators argued that the explosive nature of the chemicals used to make those drugs warranted harsher penalties.
For those people who have been convicted of a DUI in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Tulare counties, Senate Bill 61 extended a pilot program that requires ignition interlock devices to be placed in cars. A first time DUI conviction will result in the device being placed in your car for five months, a year for a second DUI, two years for a third DUI, and four years for each subsequent DUI conviction.8 Continue reading →