This law is long overdue, the dollar amount that distinguishes petty theft from grand theft has remained stagnant for too long and not kept up with the actual value of consumer goods. This revision is truly in the interests of justice.
Los Angeles, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) November 30, 2010
The recent end of the California legislative session has brought a host of new criminal laws effective in 2011. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, Jerod Gunsberg, highlights ten notable examples of the legislature’s handiwork. These laws go into effect on January 1, 2011 unless otherwise noted.
Grand Theft Dollar Amount Threshold: Under current law, to be convicted of grand theft, the value of the property stolen must be at least $450. As of January 1, 2011 the new threshold amount is $950. Grand theft can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. Anything under $950 is petty theft, which in most cases is a misdemeanor. Jerod Gunsberg comments, “This law is long overdue, the dollar amount that distinguishes petty theft from grand theft has remained stagnant for too long and not kept up with the actual value of consumer goods. This revision is truly in the interests of justice.”
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Restrictions: Medical marijuana collectives may not operate within 600 feet of a school. Specifically, this law is aimed at storefront dispensaries or other “mobile outlets” where a business license is required to operate.
Possession of Less Than An Ounce of Marijuana Now an Infraction: Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is no longer a misdemeanor; it is now an infraction punishable by not more than a $100 fine. This goes for whether or not someone is caught with marijuana on their person or in their vehicle. Gunsberg’s practice often represents clients as Los Angeles medical marijuana defense attorneys; he says, “This law is the right step not only towards eventual marijuana decriminalization, but also a step towards eliminating harmless, petty crimes from overburdened criminal court dockets.”
Ammunition Sales Restrictions: Beginning February 1, 2011 firearm ammunition sales may only occur in an in person face-to-face transactions, the seller must verify the identity with a driver’s license or other official ID of the purchase and the purchaser must provide a thumbprint. Yes, this also applies if you are giving ammunition away or trading it for something of value besides money. Failure to comply with this law is a misdemeanor.
Infractions eligible for dismissal (expungement): Most infractions (e.g. traffic tickets, and certain non vehicle offenses) are now eligible for expungement under revised Penal Code 1203.4. Previously, only misdemeanors and some felonies were available for expungement. Those applying to have their infractions dismissed are eligible one year from the date of conviction and, at the time of filing the petition, must not be on active probation or facing any other open cases. Frequently asked to represent clients as a Los Angeles expungement attorney, Gunsberg comments on this new law, “This law is long overdue, it never made much sense that certain felonies could be dismissed from a criminal record, but someone convicted of infraction petty theft (under $50) had no mechanism to dismiss the conviction.”
Restitution for Identity Theft Victims To Include Credit Repair and Credit Monitoring: In addition to existing punishments and restitution requirements, people convicted of identity theft will now also be responsible for the costs to repair and monitor the victim’s credit report for as long as it is “reasonably necessary to make the victim whole.”
Life Sentence In Certain Child Abuse Cases: There are already life sentences on the books for child abuse resulting in the death of a child. As of January 1, 2011 anyone who cares for or has physical custody of a child and then assaults the child to such a degree it results in the child becoming “comatose due to brain injury or suffering paralysis of a permanent nature” faces life in prison.
Motorcycle Theft Tools: It is a misdemeanor to possess “motorcycle theft tools” with the intent to steal a motorcycle. These tools include “bolt cutters, electrical tape, wire cutters, wire strippers, or Allen wrenches.” It is also illegal to lend or give away a motorcycle ignition bypass device with the intent or knowledge it will be used to steal a motorcycle.
False Military Decorations: If a person who is not a member of the military “falsely represents himself or herself” either orally, in writing, or by wearing a military decoration (such as a medal or a ribbon) they are guilty of a misdemeanor. Until now it was only an infraction. If the person convicted of this offense is actually a military veteran and is just misrepresenting a military honor, then the offense can only be charged as an infraction.
Trespass at the Circus and Zoo: If you go into any animal enclosure at a zoo or a circus without official permission you can be convicted of either a misdemeanor or infraction. Gunsberg again, “One would think that if someone with no special training or supervision ventures into the lair of a wild animal, the laws of nature would dole out a far worse punishment than the laws of California.”
For more information or for a consultation, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, Jerod Gunsberg, invites you to visit his website at http://www.gunsberglaw.com or contact his office at 323-633-3423, Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg - Los Angeles, 333 S. Grand Avenue, 25th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071
About Jerod Gunsberg:
Jerod Gunsberg is admitted to practice in all California State Courts and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Mr. Gunsberg regularly handles misdemeanors as well as felony cases. He is a member of numerous professional organizations including National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Los Angeles Criminal Courts Bar Association.