New California Laws – 2005


New California Laws – 1999

Motor Vehicle Speed Contest Punishment

Requires the court to order a person convicted of a first violation of a speed contest to perform 40 hours of community service. If the offender’s license privilege is suspended, proof of financial responsibility is required for reinstatement.

California DUI Sanctions

Increases the time period from seven to ten years during which arrests and/or convictions of DUI violations will be counted as prior offenses for the purposes of increased driver license penalties. It also requires the court to order a person convicted of a prior DUI to complete an alcohol and drug problem assessment program even though that prior conviction occurred more than ten years ago and authorizes the court to order the person to complete a repeat offender treatment program. It expands court-ordered participation in a county alcohol and drug problem assessment program to all persons convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense that occurred within ten years of a prior offense.

DUI License Restriction

Requires course providers to send certificates for attendance and completion of alcohol treatment programs directly to DMV’s Sacramento Headquarters and prohibits them from giving certificates to drivers.

DUI Driver License Sanctions

The courts will no longer be responsible for imposing a driver license sanction as the result of a conviction for a DUI, and assigns this responsibility solely to the DMV. It also ensures that all persons convicted of a California DUI will receive a restriction, suspension, or revocation of the driving privilege, without exception.

Headlights ON:

Motor vehicle code 24400 is being updated to state every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, be operated with headlamps whenever weather conditions prevent a driver from clearly discerning a person or other motor vehicle on the highway from a distance of 1000 feet, or when driving in conditions that require windshield wipers to be in continuous use.

Implementation 9/20/2005

Brings the Vehicle Code into compliance with the federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA): See Mr. Traffic on this (Kenny Morse)

Commercial Drivers:

Adds California residency as a requirement for a California commercial driver license.

Requires that CHP maintain its current school bus certification program. A school bus driver must possess a school bus endorsement. Endorsement code “S” must be indicated on the actual driver license.

Imposes a disqualification on commercial drivers who have been convicted of traffic offenses while operating a non-commercial motor vehicle which results in a cancellation, revocation or suspension of their Class C privileges.

Imposes a license disqualification for conviction of the following offenses:

DUI or driving with excessive blood alcohol content (BAC) in any motor vehicle.

DUI involving injury or driving with excessive BAC causing injury in any motor vehicle.

0.04% BAC or greater while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

0.04% BAC or greater while operating a CMV causing injury.

Refusing to submit to, or failing to complete a chemical test or tests.

Imposes a lifetime disqualification if the commercial driver uses any motor vehicle in the commission of the felony.

Disqualifies a commercial driver for a period of 120 days if convicted of a serious traffic violation involving any motor vehicle and the offense occurred within three years of two or more separate convictions for serious traffic violations.

Makes it unlawful to violate any out-of-service order. It also provides that it is unlawful to fail or refuse to comply with a lawful out-of-service order issued by the United States Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

Prohibits operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 180 days if the person is convicted of violating an out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials or while operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver and increases the prohibition to three years for a conviction of a second violation.

A CDL driver convicted of violating an out-of-service order is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,100 nor more than $2,750.

Prohibits a state from issuing a special CDL or permit (including a provisional or temporary license) to any commercial driver who is disqualified or whose non-commercial driving privilege is revoked, suspended, or cancelled. The court does not have the authority to issue a restricted commercial driver license.

Eliminates the current authority in law to issue a restricted commercial license to a driver who is otherwise suspended for a first offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs occurring in a non-commercial vehicle, or if the driving privilege has been suspended for failure to have insurance at the time of an accident in a non-commercial vehicle. The court does not have the authority to issue a restricted CDL.

Establishes that courts may not order or permit the holder of a commercial driver license or any class driver license to attend a traffic violator school, a driving school, or any other court-approved instruction of driving safety in lieu of any convictions for a traffic offense committed in a commercial vehicle.

Allows the MCSIA to transmit an order to disqualify a commercial driver for cause, and that such information must become a part of the driver’s record.

Imposes the following penalties on employers:

Prohibits an employer from knowingly allowing a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle during any period in which the driver, the vehicle, or the motor carrier, is subject to an out-of-service order.

Imposes civil penalties on an employer convicted of permitting drivers or vehicles to operate during any period in which an out-of-service order is in force.

Prohibits an employer from knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the United States in violation of any law or regulation pertaining to railroad-highway grade crossings.

Provides that whenever the DMV is required to disqualify the commercial driving privilege upon conviction, the suspension or revocation would begin upon receipt of the certified court abstract showing that the person has been convicted of the violation.

Electronic Verification

Requires the department, by July 1, 2006, to establish a method by which law enforcement may electronically verify financial responsibility for a vehicle registered on the department’s database.

Implementation 9/01/2006

Mandatory Requirement

Establishes a mandatory requirement that insurance companies electronically submit insurance information to DMV. It also allows the department to cancel a vehicle’s registration if an insurance company reported that the insurance has lapsed. This cancellation policy affects originals, transfers, and renewals of registration.

Implementation 9/20/2005

Front License Plate Holder

Prohibits a dealer from selling or distributing a new motor vehicle that is not equipped with a front license plate bracket.

.50-caliber rifles: Sale of the heavy, long-range weapons, used mostly by target shooters, is banned in California. Ban supporters argued that the weapons, capable of hitting hovering helicopters, could be used by terrorists. AB 50 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood).

Ballot printouts: Electronic voting systems approved for use in California must include paper printouts so voters can check the accuracy of their votes. SB 1438 by Sen. Ross Johnson ( R-Irvine).

Battered women: Women convicted of killing or attempting to kill their abusers or of committing a felony as a partner with their abusers before Aug. 29, 1996, can petition courts for reconsideration if they show battered-woman’s syndrome played a role in the crime. SB 1385 by Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco).

Bedroom privacy: It is a misdemeanor to film someone in a bedroom without their knowledge. SB 1484 by Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Irvine).

Boats: It is illegal to run a boat engine while someone hangs from the stern’s swim ladder or platform. Starting in May 2005, new boats sold in California must include stickers warning of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from boat engine exhaust. Since 1990, more than 100 people nationwide have drowned after inhaling carbon monoxide from boat exhaust. AB 2222 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood).

Campaign debt: Candidates cannot have more than $100,000 in campaign debt at any one time, whether they lend themselves money or borrow from a bank. The law took effect in September. SB 1449 by Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine).

Cellphones: Providers of mobile-telephone service cannot publish the cellphone numbers of their customers without permission. AB 1733 by Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno).

Child abuse: Caregivers who work for the state-run, county-administered program called In-Home Supportive Services are required to report suspected child abuse. AB 2531 by Assemblywoman Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

Child prostitution: Punishment for people convicted of soliciting child prostitutes includes an additional year in state prison. AB 3042 by Assemblyman Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).

College transfer: By June, California State University administrators must create a systemwide transfer curriculum to help community college students avoid taking unnecessary classes. The law also guarantees Cal State admission to students who complete the uniform set of courses. SB 1785 by Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena).

Cruise ships: Two new laws ban the burning of waste and the draining of sinks, showers, laundries and dishwashers on cruise ships within three miles of the California coast. AB 471 by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and AB 2093 by Assemblyman George Nakano ( D-Torrance).

Declawing cats: It is a misdemeanor punishable by a $10,000 fine to declaw exotic cats such as cougars, bobcats, lions and tigers. AB 1857 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood).

Domestic partners: Healthcare providers must offer gay and lesbian domestic partners the same insurance benefits offered to the spouses of subscribers. AB 2208 by Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego).

Earthquake warning: Owners of about 9,000 unreinforced masonry buildings face $250 fines for failing to post a placard in their buildings that warns: “This is an unreinforced masonry building. You may not be safe inside or near an unreinforced masonry building during an earthquake.” AB 2533 by Assemblyman Simon Salinas (D-Salinas).

Female athletics: Cities, counties and special districts cannot discriminate against girls in funding athletic programs such as softball leagues. AB 2404 by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

Food stamps: People with nonviolent felony drug convictions who have served their prison time can qualify for food stamps. Those convicted of selling or manufacturing controlled substances are not eligible. Regulations to carry out the law are to be adopted by July. AB 1796 by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

Force-fed birds: A ban on the force-feeding of ducks and geese to enlarge their livers to make foie gras takes effect in July 2012. SB 1520 by Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco).

Guns: After police investigators confiscate guns, they must conduct background checks to be sure the owners are not felons ineligible to have them. AB 2431 by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

Headlights: Drivers must use headlights in weather that makes it difficult to see another person or car at 1,000 feet or when the windshield wipers must be used. AB 1854 by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto).

Insurance: Insurers cannot cancel a homeowner’s policy while a damaged or destroyed home is being rebuilt. AB 2962 by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Internet piracy: Anybody sending copyrighted movies, video games or music via the Internet to more than 10 people must include the sender’s legitimate e-mail address. Violators face fines of up to $2,500 and a year in jail. SB 1506 by Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City).

Libraries: A bond act authorizing $600 million for public library construction will face voters on the March 2006 ballot. SB 1161 by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-San Diego).

March primary: California’s primary election returns to June after an eight-year experiment with holding it in March. SB 1730 by Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine).

Mexican trucks: Commercial, heavy-duty trucks crossing into the country from Mexico must meet U.S. emissions standards starting in January 2006. AB 1009 by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Military families: California will pay $10,000 to the surviving spouse or beneficiary of a National Guard, State Military Reserve or Naval Militia member killed in the line of duty after March 1, 2003. SB 1193 by Sen. Nell Soto (D-Pomona).

Needles: Pharmacists can sell a customer up to 10 hypodermic needles without a prescription. SB 1159 by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara).

Old cars: Starting in April, all vehicles made in model year 1976 or later must pass a smog check for valid registration. Previously, all cars were exempt from emissions test requirements when they reached 30 years of age. AB 2683 by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View).

Pesticides: A person who applies pesticides in a way that violates drift, use or labeling regulations is liable for the medical treatment costs of people who are exposed and sickened as a result. SB 391 by Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter).

Plastic bags: It is illegal to sell a plastic bag as “biodegradable,” “compostable” or “degradable” unless it meets certain standards. SB 1749 by Sen. Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach).

Prisons: The Department of Corrections’ mission is expanded from focusing solely on punishment to include education and job training. AB 854 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood).

Recycling: Starting in July 2006, customers can return cellphones to manufacturers for recycling, reuse or proper disposal. AB 2901 by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Scooters: It is illegal to operate a motor scooter without a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit. Non-electric motor scooters must have mufflers that meet specifications. AB 1878 by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan (D-Alameda).

Sex offenders: Californians can use the Internet to view the state’s registry of high-risk sex offenders including home addresses for those who committed the most serious crimes. AB 488 by Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D-Hanford).

Sexual harassment: Employers with 50 or more workers must provide two hours of sexual harassment awareness training and education to all supervisory employees every two years after January 2006. AB 1825 by Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno).

Shoppers: Stores must charge the lowest price posted, advertised or quoted for an item. AB 1721 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood).

Sierra: A new law creates the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, covering 25 million acres from Modoc County to the Owens Valley. The agency will have no regulatory power but will help local governments and nonprofit groups buy land and easements to prevent development. AB 2600 by Assemblyman Tim Leslie (R-Tahoe City).

Smoking: Starting in July, smoking by inmates and guards is banned in state prisons. AB 384 by Assemblyman Tim Leslie (R-Tahoe City).

Solar energy: Pacific Gas & Electric must credit San Francisco for energy produced at city-owned solar projects. San Franciscans approved a $100-million revenue bond issue in 2001 to pay for solar projects. AB 594 by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

Spyware: It is illegal to intentionally install computer software known as spyware, which can collect personal information, disable anti-virus shields and otherwise disrupt a computer’s function. Though the law prescribes no punishment for violators, private citizens can sue for actual damages. SB 1436 by Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City).

Tax checkoff: People paying income taxes can choose to donate part or all of their refund to a California Military Family Relief Fund to help active duty National Guard members with food, housing, child care, utilities and other living expenses. SB 1162 by Sen. Mike Machado (D-Linden).

Tax exemption: People rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by wildfires or the San Simeon earthquake in October, November and December 2003 will not lose their homeowners’ state tax exemption even if they are not living in their home Jan. 1. The law took effect in September. SB 1147 by Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta).

Thermostats: Starting Jan. 1, 2006, the sale or distribution of some types of mercury thermostats is banned. Non-mercury thermostats, used in heating and air conditioning equipment, are widely available. Mercury is linked to developmental problems in people and wildlife. AB 1369 by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Trawling: A new law regulates many aspects of trawling, a type of commercial fishing that involves dragging a net along the bottom of the ocean. The law gives the state Fish and Game Commission authority to regulate the catch of California halibut, sea cucumber and pink shrimp. SB 1459 by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-San Diego).

Urban cleanup: Property owners who clean up contaminated urban lots for reuse get some relief from cleanup costs and some immunity from damage claims. AB 389 by Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez (D-San Fernando).

Vaccines: As of July 1, 2006, it is illegal to give pregnant women and children under 3 vaccines containing more than a certain amount of mercury, which has been linked to developmental disorders. AB 2943 by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Voting by fax: Military personnel and other overseas voters can submit their absentee ballots to county registrars by fax. AB 2941 by Assemblywoman Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

If you have been arrested for drunk driving you will need a California DUI Lawyer.

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