New California Laws for 2012

Happy New Year!  Each year brings several new laws, and 2012 is no different.  The following are highlights of a few of the significant traffic laws for our new year:

  •  A change to California’s Child Passenger Safety Seat law will now require children to ride in either a car seat or booster seat until the age of eight, or until they reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches. This law also requires children who do not meet the age or height requirement to ride in the rear seat of a vehicle unless the vehicle has no back seats, the restraint system cannot be properly installed or the rear seats are already occupied by children under age eight. However, the law still maintains that a child may not ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger airbag if they are under one year of age, less than 20 pounds, or riding in a rear-facing child safety seat. (SB 929, Evans)
  •  Drivers are required to stop and submit to a sobriety checkpoint. However, peace officers will be prohibited from impounding a vehicle for 30 days out of a sobriety checkpoint if the only offense by the driver is failing to hold a valid driver license. The new law requires that the officer make a reasonable attempt to identify the registered owner in order to release the vehicle. (AB 353, Cedillo)
  •  Anyone who is convicted of reckless driving under Section 23103.5 of the Vehicle Code can apply for a restricted driver license prior to the completion of their one-year suspension, provided they meet specified conditions, including the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle. (AB 520, Ammiano)
  •  Section 23579 was added to the Vehicle Code, which authorizes courts to revoke a driver’s license for 10 years if a person is convicted of three or more DUIs.  Under this law enacted in 2010, a motorist may be allowed to apply for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license with the DMV after five years, if the person installs an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in the their vehicle.  (AB 1601, Hill)
It is now against the law to carry a firearm, whether loaded or not, in most every situation unless you have a concealed weapons permit.  Openly carrying a firearm, or openly having it in a vehicle is a misdemeanor.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0101-0150/ab_144_bill_20111009_chaptered.html.
It is a misdemeanor to possess synthetic cannabinoid compounds.  While possession of marijuana under 28.5 grams remains a misdemeanor, possession of any amount of synthetic cannabinoid is a misdemeanor under HS 11357.5.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0401-0450/sb_420_bill_20111002_chaptered.html.
The limit for small claims court has been increased to $10,000.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0201-0250/sb_221_bill_20110708_chaptered.html.
Another interesting law is the Safe Place to Learn act which now requires school districts to adopt stricter policies against bullying.  Education Code section 234.1(b)(1) states:  “if school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.”  Most provisions become effective in July.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0001-0050/ab_22_bill_20111009_chaptered.html.
Employee credit checks are a thing of the past, unless you work in certain industries.  California Assembly Bill 22 prohibits most employers and prospective employers in the state – with the exception of certain financial institutions – from obtaining consumer credit reports for employment purposes.  http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=wx9mnygab&et=1109030216073&s=254&e=001bhTylOrbTmfqD9sHOk1vMqZcjVZ-BhH7ldSBG6kaBB1qK4icv15wq9Lae_WimCc2Hu6iGVEn0EYQKrABEXhSkQ1w32ogi3RopoCH0Ev_ZBOfnTfg_elv6kTJDMvELlODe2pNkUGLhjTNAPOk-rrFH1JU3d_An_-7QAyuLtpcf_1_9h3wj9iN-164y1ljgbmNDP1tvCfn7oUWmoLK8wNrCQ==.
Shark fin soup is on its way out.  While restaurants can continue to sell their existing stock, it is now illegal to sell or purchase shark fins in 2012.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0351-0400/ab_376_bill_20111007_chaptered.html.
Also, no more caffeinated beer.  SB 39 makes it illegal in California.  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sb_39_bill_20110801_chaptered.html.
If you want to see a list of every new law, check out http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pdf/BillsEnactedReport2011.pdf.  It will give you a link to every new law for 2012.
Please take a moment and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.  Happy New Year!

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