The year 2018 proved to be auspicious for California as its recent legislation made it legal for recreational marijuana to be used across the state. This year brings with it new laws as well, from new biking and transportation laws to increased regulations on gun use.
Hit and Run
It is now illegal for a biker who hits a pedestrian on a bike path and causes injuries to flee the scene. The biker will be required to remain at the scene and help the injured person if possible. Leaving the scene could result in criminal charges, just like traditional hit-and-run cases for motorists. There is currently a law in place for hit-and-run bike incidents on public roads, but there was a gap in the law when it came to public bike paths. The law came as a result of a significant incident on a path in Sacramento when 61-year-old Bill Finkbeiner was struck by a cyclist. The accident resulted in a fractured skull, broken nose, facial fractures and a broken hand for Mr. Finkbeiner, as well as the loss of two teeth. The biker was never arrested or charged because the hit-and-run laws did not apply.
Individuals with modified mufflers designed to make excessive or unusual noises no longer enjoy the luxury of a fix-it ticket, whereby they could demonstrate they have removed the equipment from their car and the charges disappear. Instead, a change in the law has made it a full-blown citation. This is designed to stop repeat offenders who would fix the problem with their exhaust before going to court and would then immediately affix the illegal equipment once their citation was signed off.
The minimum age for prosecution in a juvenile court is now 12 unless the accused has committed murder or rape. There is also no longer a way for the state to try a defendant under the age of 16 as an adult. They will be sent to a juvenile detention facility instead of prison.
Legislators now require images captured on body cameras on police officers and any other audio recording has to be disclosed to the public. There are stricter guidelines in place, with the department required to release the images or audio to the public within 45 days after a police shooting or excessive force results in the injury or death of a person. There will also be public access to police records in the case of force, including investigations which have confirmed a lack of honesty by an officer in their work or through sexual misconduct.
Now, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense after the first of this year will be prevented from owning or possessing a firearm for the rest of their lives. Gun owners with a concealed carry license must take a minimum of 8 hours of training and demonstrate proficiency and safety on a shooting range. This changes the law where concealed carry license holders could obtain one without ever having shot a gun.