New Laws 2017

Happy New Year!We hope you experienced a joyous holiday season and that your New Year is off to a great start! We always start the year at Ridley Defense by examining the new laws in California for the upcoming year. While there are many new laws related to all areas of the law, we focus on those that affect criminal law. Here are a few noteworthy new laws that we think you might find helpful:

Phone Laws Change AGAIN! 

Remember when it was okay to tell police officers that you were only holding your phone because you were using GPS navigation?  Well, those days are over.  The previous handheld law only prohibited communications like texting and calling.  The new, more comprehensive version of the law prevents you from holding the phone in your hand for any reason. No taking selfies, no playing Pokemon-Go, and sorry, no holding the phone for navigation. The only exception under the law that allows you to operate your device is when it’s mounted to something like your dashboard or center console AND the use of the phone is limited to a single swipe or tap of the finger. The law now truly requires you to keep your hands free.Go ahead and smoke your Marijuana:

By now you know that Prop 64 has made recreational marijuana legal in California. Here are the most important aspects of this new law to help you stay out of trouble. You CAN possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants in your home. However, purchasing recreational marijuana is a bit more dicey. The medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited from selling to recreational users, AND medical prescription holders are prohibited from selling to recreational users as well. ALSO, recreational marijuana stores will not be licensed in California until 2018. So, for the time being, be very careful in how you attain marijuana, and certainly don’t sell it for any reason unless you own a medical marijuana dispensary. MarijuanaYou CAN transport marijuana on your body or in your vehicle, but be careful because this will be watched closely and enforced very carefully  by law enforcement. You CANNOT smoke in public for any reason. When carrying marijuana on your person or in your vehicle, we recommend that you treat it exactly like alcohol. Don’t ever have an “open container” in public or in your car. Store marijuana and all accessories in the trunk when you are transporting it. And DEFINITELY do not drive under the influence of marijuana. The police will have no tolerance and will arrest you for a DUI if you appear to have been smoking recently.

Another consideration when deciding whether to partake or not is your employer. Although marijuana is legal in California, it is not legal federally and employers may still terminate you or refuse to hire you upon testing positive for marijuana. You should consult your employer or potential employer for their specific company policy details. Lastly, if you have ever been convicted of a marijuana related crime, you MAY be eligible to have it wiped from your records. If you or anybody that you know would like to discuss this process, please give us a call and we can discuss this on a case by case basis.

Employers can’t hold juvenile convictions against you…

This is potentially GREAT news for some of you and your loved ones. Juvenile Criminal It is now prohibited for employers to ask about, or investigate any criminal arrests or convictions that occurred when you were a juvenile. If employers learn of any juvenile convictions, during from a background check, they are prohibited from using that information to influence the decision whether or not to hire you. The only exception is for health care facility employers, but even they can’t make inquiries into sealed juvenile records. If you or anybody that you know would like to discuss having juvenile records sealed, please give us a call and we can discuss this on a case by case basis.

Thanks for taking a moment to read these tips; we hope they’re helpful. If you’re interested in all of the new laws you can find them here at the California State Bar website. Please pass these laws on to your friends and family and tell them to subscribe to our legal updates by clicking the blue envelope below. Don’t worry, we are respectful of your inbox and only share a few emails per year.

Thanks for your trust, referrals, and friendship in 2016. Here’s to an amazing 2017!!!

Festively Yours,
Doug Ridley

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