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Holiday Crimes

It comes as no surprise that property-related crime increases during the holiday season. On average, crime-related insurance claims spike by 24% on Halloween, more than on any other day of the year, according to 2016 data from Travelers Insurance. This includes particularly sharp increases in theft, both inside and outside the home, and vandalism. Nationally, burglaries peak during the summer vacations, though the holiday season is close behind.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
1. A vacant home: Burglars know that during the Holiday season individuals leave their home to go on vacation—be it a ski trip in the Alps or driving up to visit family in Portland. This gives the perfect opportunity to rob a house without the home owner walking in on the crime.
2. Easy access: With an increase in parties around the holiday season, it is easy for burglars to go unnoticed in the crowd of people coming in and out of an individual’s home. This is especially true for Halloween and Christmas. Halloween proves to be a double whammy with guests dressed up as costumes—giving a burglar the perfect disguise to mask their villainous identity.
3. Distracted: With the fervor of the holiday spirit, homeowners are so distracted with setting up the Christmas tree, decorating pumpkins, or stuffing the turkey that they disregard general home safety. With the homeowners’ guards down, burglars are able to get in and out of the home unnoticed.
There are ways to protect yourself this holiday season. The best way to avoid break-ins is to invest in an alarm system. If a burglar attempted to break in to an alarmed house, the homeowner is immediately alerted—along with the authorities. However, despite installing an alarm system, make sure to hide all valuables and extravagant things to not attract a break in. To further make your home unappealing to burglars, make sure to always keep the windows and curtains closed.
If you or any one you know have been a victim of burglary, immediately contact the office of RP Defense Law.

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What Defines “Police Misconduct?”

On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that would shed further light on police misconduct—marking a new era of transparency. The measures begin to undo decades of laws and court decisions that had made California the nation’s most secretive state for police records. Sen. Nancy Skinner, author of one of the measures, Senate Bill 1421, said that, “California is finally joining other states in granting access to the investigatory records on officer conduct that the public truly has a right to know.” Skinner’s bill will allow the public to view investigations of officer shootings and other major uses of force—including, lying while on duty.
Despite usually being seen as a contender for social change, California is actually the only state in which even prosecutors cannot directly obtain officer personnel files. Under this current system, prosecutors and criminal defendants must jump through a million hoops before getting any access of those records. Because of this, police misconduct by police witnesses is often kept under wraps in court because of California’s confidentiality laws. Brown,also, signed a second measure, Assembly Bill 748, requiring departments statewide to release body-worn camera and other video and audio recordings of officer shootings and serious uses of force within 45 days unless doing so would interfere with an ongoing investigation—making California one of the most transparent in the country.
So what exactly constitutes “police misconduct?” Police misconduct refers to inapropriate conduct or illegal actions taken by police officers in connection with their official duties. This includes, but is not limited to, blackmailing witnesses, tampering with evidence, sexually or physically assaulting individuals in custody, and lying under oath. To sum it up, it’s basically when a police officer takes advantage of his or her position and acts unlawfully. Recent infamous cases of police misconduct have included the shootings of unarmed typically Black male individuals. However, police misconduct has had a long dark history, especially in lieu of partaking in prostitution rings. Just last month, prosecutors released the names and charges of the seven NYPD officers arrested, following a three-year investigation into their alleged role in providing protection for brothels in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. A Queens County grand jury has also indicted retired NYPD detective Ludwig Paz, the alleged mastermind of the operation, for his role in leading the “complex prostitution ring and a gambling enterprise with his wife,” according to the NYPD. He allegedly controlled seven of the eight brothels under investigation, and paid current NYPD officers for information that helped him avoid raids. The brothels used online ads to attract customers, and took in more than $2 million in a year, police said.
This recent case involving the NYPD only goes to show the importance of having such police transparency laws, especially for innocent people that may be affected by police officers abusing their badge. If you believe you have been a victim of police misconduct, contact RP Defense Law. This is a new age of transparency in California, so this time around, the law is definitely on your side.

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Why False Confessions Prevail

According to The Innocence Project, 1 out of 4 people that were wrongfully convicted but later exonerated by DNA evidence made a false confession or incriminating statement. This statistics in itself is quite shocking—but the real question is why do innocent people confess to crime they have not committed?

There are many reasons as to why an individual would give a false confession; however, they usually have a common theme: is a belief that complying with the police by saying that they committed the crime in question will be more beneficial than continuing to maintain their innocence. Some factors that can contribute to this notion are psychological disorders, mental disabilities, under the influence, coercion, and threat of violence.

Individuals with mental disabilities have often given false confessions because they want to please the officer. Another reason why such individuals give a false confession is because of strenuous hours and hours of police interrogation—with the promise of being allowed to go home after a confession. It is important to note that many law enforcement interrogators are not given any special training on questioning suspects with mental disabilities.

But what about individuals that are do not have a mental disability? Interrogators come in with the notion that the suspect is guilty; therefore, will put said suspect through hours of interrogation that can make the suspect question his or her own guilt. In order to understand this, let’s dive into the psychology behind interrogation tactics. In a 2010 paper for Law and Human Behavior, psychologists, Jessica Swanner and Denise Beike, created a laboratory simulation, using about 200 University of Arkansas students as guinea pigs. Experimenters posing as fellow study participants were paired with the actual test subjects. In some cases, these fake subjects admitted to having messed up a previous experiment by crashing a computer. In the other cases, they denied it. Later, the real test subjects were offered an incentive—being credited with participation in another round of testing without actually having to stick around and being entered in a raffle to win $50—if they ratted out their “partner” for their bad behavior.

What they discovered were that people were almost always willing to turn their fellow subject in, with or without a reward, and whether or not they were encouraged to bond—as long as they believed they were actually guilty. It was only when the suspect has insisted they were innocent that things got more complicated.

Overall, we can conclude that law enforcement not only needs to learn how to approach individuals with mental disabilities, but also how to not presume guilt. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until you have an attorney in present–and even then, you do not need to converse with law enforcement.

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How Common Are Wrongful Convictions?

We have a blinded tendency to believe in the ability of the court to guarantee a fair trial with a verdict fit for the crime committed. But how accurate is the court’s ability to guarantee such a fair outcome? How often are innocent individuals locked up for heinous crimes they did not commit? The reason for a false conviction can fall into one of four categories: false confession, official misconduct, guilty pleas, and no-crime cases.
False Confession. This may be the most confusing because why would an innocent person confess to a crime they did not commit? According to the Innocence Project, for over the past two decades, more than 300 people in the U.S. have been exonerated of crimes that occurred in the pre-DNA era—which includes serious federal crimes, such as first-degree murder and child molestation. In an analysis of hundreds of cases since 1989, false confessions were found to be a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Overall, about 31 percent of wrongful conviction cases included a false confession. For homicides, the number skyrockets to 63 percent. So back to my original question: why are innocent individuals confessing to crimes they did not commit? This can be attributed to two main factors: police interrogation methods and mental state of individual in custody—or both. Police interrogation tactics can be physically or mentally tortuous, exhausting, or seemingly never-ending—which can last up to an entire day. The accused is present with the ultimatum: confess and you will be released or be condemned to more interrogation. When the defendant is either mentally impaired or under the influence, the intense interrogation can confuse the defendant, or suggest to the defendant that he or she “did it” using “what if” scenarios.
Let’s look at the case of Christopher Abernathy. On November 30, 1985, he was brought in custody for the murder and rape of 15 year old Kristina Hickey after an acquiantance told authorities that Abernathy had confessed to committing the crime. After 40 hours of interrogation, he signed a confession saying he saw her walking home and wanted to have sex with her. When she refused, he attempted to rape her and then accidentally stabbed her. Almost immediately, Abernathy recanted the confession and said he signed the statement because police told him he could go home to his mother if he did. Abernathy was classified as learning disabled and should not have been allowed to face interrogation alone because of his mental state. Due to the development of DNA testing, Northwestern University students and attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, were able to get all charges against Abernathy dropped—but after almost 30 years locked behind bars. Stories like Abernathy’s aren’t uncommon; however, because of DNA testing exonerations for false confession crimes have become more commonplace.
Official Misconduct. Corrupt—and imcompetent—cops are not a thing of fiction, but are living monsters in real life, who can alter an innocent person’s life for the worst. According to the The National Registry of Exonerations, there has been official misconduct in 84 exonerations in 2017, with the highest being for homocide cases at 84%. The number of exonerations involving wrongdoing by police, prosecutors and other government workers actually set a record last year. So what actually defines “official misconduct”? Official misconduct encompasses a wide range of behavior—from police officers threatening witnesses, to forensic analysts falsifying test results, to child welfare workers pressuring children to claim
sexual abuse where none occurred. But the most form of common is the concealing of evidence. The National Registry of Exonerations report said the most common type of misconduct documented in 2017 was police or prosecutors’ failure to reveal exculpatory evidence to the defense.
In 1990, Debra Milke was sentenced to death for the murder of her four-year old son, ostensibly in order to collect on a $5,000 insurance policy. The only substantial evidence against her was testimony by Detective Armando Saldate, Jr., who was sent to interrogate her with an explicit order to record the interrogation—which he did not do. Saldate told the jury that Milke flashed her breasts at him, offered sex, and then later confessed to the murder. Milke denied it all. Milke was exonerated in 2015 because her attorneys eventually discovered that the state had concealed Saldate’s extraordinary history. It turned out that Saldate was responsible for four earlier cases in which judges tossed out confessions or indictments because he committed perjury, and four other cases in which judges suppressed confessions or vacated convictions because Saldate violated the constitution in conducting interrogations. Because of one police officer’s compulsive lying and manipulation, Milke was locked behind bars for two and a half decades for a crime she did not commit—let alone stuck mourning the death of her young son.
Guilty Pleas. For some individuals, it is easier to take the guilty plea than face the long process of a trial—even if it means “confessing” to a crime he/she did not commit. The National Registry of Exonerations said the number of false guilty pleas has been increasing for seven years, and has risen sharply in the past two years—contributing to 30% of the exonerations in the National Registry of Exonerations. It is important to note that 97% of federal cases end in plea bargains, an agreement in a criminal case in which the defendant pleads guilty to a specific charge in return for some concessions from the prosecutor. In exchange, they often have their alleged crime demoted to a lesser offense, which means less potential time in prison and—more importantly—bypassing the possibility of facing the death penalty if tried in court. Since it is easier to prove someone’s guilt than innocence, the odds are heavily stacked with more to lose by going to trial—the chances worsen if the accused is a person of color. Not to mention, the jury’s internal bias’ typically skew towards guilty because they assume that one must have some type of guilt to be accused.
No-crime Case. This one seems sounds like an oxymoron but this happens more often than not—being convicted of a crime that did not even take place. In 2017, the largest group of no-crime exonerations were drug possession cases. Women were more susceptable to no-crime convictions—including two isolated events of child-crime related hysteria. According to the National Registry of Exoneration, 63% of female exonerees were convicted of crimes that never occurred three times the rate for men. Seventy-five percent of female no-crime exonerations involved violent crimes; and in three-quarters of those cases the supposed victims were children. Nearly 90% of women exonerated of crimes against children were convicted of violent crimes that never happened.

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s a Salem witch trial-esque hysteria took place with prosecutors and child welfare workers around the country becoming convinced that people caring for children—often day care workers and school employees—were sexually abusing those children on a massive scale. More than a hundred defendants were convicted as a result, often based on accusations including bizarre, unsubstantiated and highly improbable satanic rituals. The Registry lists 51 child sex abuse hysteria exonerees, 21 women and 30 men; all were convicted of crimes that never happened. They make up 0.2% of exonerations of men, but 28% of exonerations of women. Another period of mass hysteria involved the now discredited “Shaken Baby Syndrome” or SBS (now called “Abusive Head Trauma”). In almost all, the exonerees were convicted on violent shaking of infants, which can allegedly produce immediate and extreme neurological damage or death without external or skeletal injuries. It now appears that these deaths and injuries were caused by unrelated accidents or undiagnosed pathologies. As with the above case study, majority of those conviced were women—making up two-thirds of the SBS exonerees. Hopefully, thanks in part to the advancement of forensics and non-profits like The Innonence Project, there has been an increase in the overturn of false convictions. Unfortunately, the law is not perfect and there are still many innocent individuals behind bars for horrendous, unspeakable crimes they did not come.

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California Drug Laws

In 2014, California voted in a measure to reduce penalties for certain crimes know as Proposition 47, Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. The initiative reduced the classification of most “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor. This includes shoplifting, grand theft, fraud, and the focus of this blog post, use of most “illegal” drugs. Proposition 47 reclassified drug possession offenses under Health and Safety Code sections 11350, 11357(a) [concentrated cannabis], and 11377 from a felony or wobbler to strictly misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in county jail.

More recently, California passed regulation loosening the restrictions on the use of recreational marijuana. Recreational marijuana sales under the guise of Proposition 64 became legal in California on Jan. 1, 2018; however, that doesn’t permit you to just blaze up wherever you please. Despite being legal in California, under federal law, marijuana is still ILLEGAL. To help stay on the right side of the law, here are some details of the new California recreational regulations to know:

Legal Age Requirement: The law permits adults 21 and up to buy 1 ounce of cannabis per day (about a few dozen joints). In regards to cannabis concentrates, you can alternately purchase up to 8 grams of this found in edibles, including candies, brownies and breakfast bars. Note, that the number of edibles you can legally possess depends on the product itself. 
Purchasing Rules: You’ll need to visit a state-licensed recreational dispensary between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., the law makes it illegal to sell until 6 a.m. the following day. It MUST be from a licensed dispensary.
-You’ll need a valid government-issued ID, but it can be from any state, according to a spokesman for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. Options include a driver’s license; a military ID with a person’s picture and date of birth; or a passport issued either by the U.S. or by other countries.
Costs: Because of regulations, costs now include a new statewide 15 percent tax on all recreational and medical cannabis products plus additional local taxes and fees. In Oakland, for example, the added local tax is 10 percent for recreational pot and 5 percent for medical cannabis. However, California consumers may see prices reduced by as much as half over the next year if market patterns follow those in Washington state and Colorado (both of which earlier legalized recreational pot).
Consumption: You still cannot smoke marijuana or have cannabis concentrate products in public. To stay within the law, you’ll need to consume cannabis strictly on private property. You CANNOT consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public places. Also, smoking marijuana where tobacco is prohibited is also illegal, unless there is a local ordinance expressly allowing its usage. This includes school campuses, restaurants, bars, public parks and hospitals — essentially any public building. Furthermore, selling on school property is also forbade.
-Another California law went into effect Jan. 1 regarding using marijuana and driving. Marijuana impairs your ability to thoroughly drive; therefore, the operating a vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment under the influence of marijuana is illegal. This specific law adds to the number of laws in place regarding marijuana, which bans lighting up or snacking on any marijuana products while driving or riding as a passenger in a car—including cannabis edibles.
-Be aware that property owners and landlords may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties just like the their ability to do so with tobacco products. The state agency outlined two other restrictions:
You cannot consume or possess cannabis on federal lands such as national parks, even if the park is in California.

It is illegal to take cannabis across state lines, even if you are traveling to another state where cannabis is legal. This includes taking cannabis onto either a domestic or international flight.
-Lastly, it is important to note that, reagardless of cannabis consumption being legal, being fired from work because of cannbis use depends solely on your employer. There is NO state law that protects employees from termination for using marijuana. A 2008 Supreme Court decision ruled that employers are entitled to fire employees who fail a drug screening for marijuana— regardless of state law—and can administer random drug screenings at any time without notice.
Although there are big changes happening in regards to the legalization of marijuana use state by state, it is still important to be aware of the fact that it is still a Schedule 1 drug on a federal level. If you have been charged with a crime in regards to marijuana consumption, contact RP Defense Law for a consultation.

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What Are Your Miranda Rights?

You’ve heard of “Miranda Rights,” but what does it really mean?

In short: Your right to remain silent during custody and interrogation. In length, it is part of a preventive criminal procedure rule that law enforcement are required to administer to protect an individual, who is in custody and subject to direct questioning or its functional equivalent from a violation of his or her Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination. The wording used when a person is read the Miranda Warning, also known as being ‘Mirandized,’ is clear and direct:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

First we must define what “custody” and “interrogation” mean. Custody means formal arrest or the deprivation of freedom to an extent associated with formal arrest. Interrogation means explicit questioning or actions that are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response. It is important to note that the Supreme Court did not specify the exact wording to use when informing a suspect of his/her rights. However, the Court did create a set of guidelines that must be followed. The ruling states:

The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he/she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he/she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he/she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him/her.
IMPORTANT. Police are only required to Mirandize a suspect if they intend to interrogate that person under custody. Arrests CAN occur without the Miranda Warning being given. If the police later decide to interrogate the suspect, the warning must be given at that time. If this does not occur then there is chance of a case being overturned in court due to poor procedure on the police’s part.

The Miranda rule applies to the use of testimonial evidence in criminal proceedings that is the product of custodial police interrogation. The Miranda right to counsel and right to remain silent are derived from the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment (that no one has to testify against himself in any criminal proceedings). Therefore, for Miranda to apply, six requirements must be fulfilled:

1. Evidence must have been gathered.
If the suspect did not make a statement during the interrogation the fact that he was not advised of his Miranda rights is of no importance.
2. The evidence must be testimonial.
This is defined under the Fifth Amendment as testimonial statements that mean communications that explicitly or implicitly relate a factual assertion [an assertion of fact or belief] or disclose information. Note that requiring a suspect to participate in identification procedures such as giving handwriting, fingerprints, DNA samples, hair samples, and dental impressions is not within the Miranda rule. Physical or real evidence is non-testimonial and not protected by the Fifth Amendment self-incrimination clause.
3. Evidence must have been obtained while the suspect was in custody.
The evidence must have been obtained while the suspect was in custody because the Miranda rule’s purpose is to protect suspects from the compulsion inherent in the police-dominated atmosphere attendant to arrest.
4. Evidence must have been the product of interrogation.
The evidence must have been the product of interrogation. A defendant who seeks to challenge the admissibility of a statement under Miranda must show that the statement was “prompted by police conduct that constituted ‘interrogation.’”
5. The interrogation must have been conducted by state-agents.
To establish a violation of the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights, the defendant must show state action, so the interrogation must have been conducted by state-agents. If the interrogation was conducted by a person known by the suspect to be a law enforcement officer, then the state action requirement is met. On the other hand, when a private citizen obtains a statement there is no state action—regardless of the custodial circumstances surrounding the statement.
6. Evidence must be offered by the state during a criminal prosecution.
Under the exclusionary rule, a Miranda-defective statement cannot be used by the prosecution as substantive evidence of guilt. However, the Fifth Amendment exclusionary rule applies only to criminal proceedings.

On a final note, remember that you can choose to remain silent at any time during the interrogation process and once you do, the interrogation must cease. The “Miranda Rights” readings are in place to uphold your 5th Amendment protections. If you believe this has been violated, please contact RP Defense Law for a consultation.

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Do Not Consent to a Police Search

Did you know that police officers cannot search your car without a warrant stating probable cause?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that we have the right to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This includes police conducting searches of your vehicle without the proper legal work. However, once you verbally consent to a police search, any evidence found may be used against you in a court of law. So if you consent and the officer finds illegal substances in your car, then this can and will be used against you during trial. For example, if you were pulled over for speeding and the officer asks to search your car and you consent, you will be charged for the cocaine you’re keeping hidden in your trunk—regardless if the initial crime was speeding. If you don’t consent and the police officers search your car anyways, it is considered an “unreasonable search and seizure.”

So, what exactly constitutes something as an “unreasonable search and seizure?”
An unreasonable search and seizure is defined by th law as “a search and seizure by a law enforcement officer without a search warrant and without probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is present.”
There are two important things here to note: (1) without a search warrant and (2) without probable cause.
As mentioned above, it is unconstitutional to search a car without a warrant—a legal document authorizing a police officer or other official to enter and search premises—stating probable cause. Unfortunately, the 4th Amendment, only states that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause”, but fails to specify what “probable cause” actually means. Although the Supreme Court has attempted to precisely define “probable cause,” it has come to been understood generally as “a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed (for an arrest) or when evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched (for a search).”

Despite the murky circumstances that constitute “probable cause,” a physical warrant needs to be presented to you before a police officer can legally search your car—so if an officer asks you if you are granting them to search your car without a warrant, just say NO.

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California Gun Laws V. Federal Gun Laws

Did you know that state gun laws usually differ from federal gun laws?
Before you purchase firearms, it is important to note that state laws may differ from the federal laws—especially in California, where the Golden State’s many restrictions makes it one of the strictest in the nation.
These are the ways that California’s gun laws differ from federal gun laws:

Waiting Period: Under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a dealer may transfer a firearm to you as soon as you pass a background check—which can take minutes. Although there is no federal waiting period, under California law, you must wait ten days before a firearm can be released to you.

Assault Weapons Ban: It is important to note that although not legal under federal law, you cannot possess certain AR-15 rifles with “bullet buttons” in the state of California and must have them modified.
There are 3 categories of assault weapons under California law:
Category One: Firearms specified on the original Roberti-Roos assault weapons list.
Category Two: Firearms specified on the AK and AR-15 series weapons listing.
Category Three:
Firearms defined as assault weapons based on specific generic characteristics, often called “SB 23 assault weapons.”
Firearms that do not have a fixed magazine, including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool.

Purchase Limit: Federal law does not limit the number of guns you can buy in any given time. California law, on the otherhand, prohibits you from purchasing more than one gun in a 30-day period—unless under special circumstances. However, there is no limit on the number of rifles and handguns that can be purchased.

Permit: Although neither federal law nor California law requires you to obtain a permit to purchase a firearm, you must pass a Firearm Safety Certificate test prior to the purchase.

Registration of Firearms
: Federal law does require you to register your firearms; however, new California residents must report their ownership of firearms to the DOJ or sell/transfer them within 60 days.

Permit to Carry Concealed Weapons in Public: California requires you to obtain a permit issued by a sheriff or police chief in order to carry a weapon—except, in “off limits” areas. There must be a reason — usually self defense—and the person must be of “good moral character.” As a “May Issue” state the issuance of a permit is left entirely up to the discretion of the local sheriff: some counties, including Los Angeles, refuse to issue permits. Regardless, a permit issued in one jurisdiction allows you to carry a gun anywhere in the state. However, a concealed carry permit issued in a different state will not be honored in California.

Purchasing and Possessing A Firearm: Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by people who fall within certain categories, such as: convicted felons, domestic abusers, illegal drug addicts or abusers, people with specific kinds of mental health histories, undocumented immigrants, dishonorably discharged service members, and people with restraining orders. In addition to federal law, California prohibits those convicted of violent or gun-related misdemeanors and those deemed by the court to be a danger to oneself or others.

If you do not fall under any of the aforementioned categories and are not barred from purchasing a firearm, you must know that all of your firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) process. This varies from federal law which states: A transaction between unlicensed private parties in the same state does not require record-keeping. A transaction between unlicensed private parties in different states require transfer to a federal firearms licensee in the buyer’s state.

Possession of Large Capacity Magazines: Despite being legal under federal law, California bans the sale or manufacture of ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 cartridges or rounds. However, continued possession of large-capacity magazines that you owned in California prior to January 1, 2000, is legal provided you are not otherwise prohibited. A person prohibited from possessing firearms is also prohibited from owning or possessing any magazines or ammunition.

Be a smart firearm owner and be aware of your state’s gun laws—ESPECIALLY in stricter states, such as California. You do not want to be on the wrong side of the law for simply not being aware of the rules.

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New Laws to be Aware of in 2018

Did you know that state and federal laws are added, revised, or overturned yearly? Being knowledgeable about changes taking place in the legal system can be extremely helpful in knowing whether or not your actions are criminal or not. Since January there have been hundred of new laws added, including new controls on concealed weapons, unprecedented state protections for those in the U.S. illegally, an increase in the minimum wage,and legal sales of recreational marijuana.
If you a resident of California, here are 5 law revisions/additions you should be aware of in 2018:
1. No concealed weapons on campus.
In light of recent school shootings, California has toughened up on gun regulations. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law removing the rights of school administrators to decide whether employees with concealed weapon permits can bring guns on campus. Although state law already prohibited civilians who are not school workers from bringing firearms onto campuses, a change in the law last year gave school district superintendents power to decide if employees could bring concealed weapons onto campuses. If you currently an employee in any California school district, you are NOT allowed to bring a conceal weapon on campus.
2. No juvenile offenders have to serve life without parole and those already behind bars would become eligible for release after 25 years.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed nine bills to aid young people facing charges and serving time. These new laws will include parole opportunities and ease punishment for people who committed crimes as children or teens. They will allow courts to seal certain juvenile records and limit the administrative fees that counties charge families with children in juvenile detention. If you would like an inquiry on these changes, contact RP Defense Law at (818) 646-3443.
3. No more jaywalking tickets can be issued for stepping into a crosswalk after the flashing signal begins.
Prior to 2018, if you began to cross the street after the countdown began, you were at risk of a hefty fine—according to section 21456(b) of the California Vehicle Code. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to amend the code. AB 390: making it legal for a pedestrian to enter a crosswalk during a countdown signal if there is sufficient time to reasonably complete the crossing safely. This law has been in effect since January 1, 2018.
4. Employers banned from asking criminal history on applications.
This new law bans employers, state agencies, and public utilities with five or more workers from including, on any application, any questions about an applicant’s conviction history. Employers are not to consider a person’s criminal background until the applicant has received an offer. And if an employer then decides to take back the offer, the employer is required to notify the applicant in writing, with specific information, as to why the offer is being rescinded. Applicant is allowed to challenge, and the employer is required to review that challenge.
5. Advancement of work site immigration protections and enforcements.
Are you undocumented and fear of getting arrested on the job? Bill no. 450 now protects workers from immigration enforcement while on the job. An employer or someone acting on behalf of an employer is not allowed to let an immigration agent enter non-public areas of a work place unless the agent has a warrant. Public and private employers can face fines up to $10,000 for each violations.