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Some New 2019 California Criminal Justice Laws:

Senate Bill 439
Joining twenty-one other U.S. states, in setting a minimum age that complies with International Human Rights Standards, unless a minor younger than 12 in the state of California commits rape or murder, the new minimum age for prosecution for minors is now 12 years old. Click here for more information about this bill.

Senate Bill 1391
In order to divert minors from serving time in adult prisons, minors under the age of 16 will be incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities. The transfer of defendants under the age of 16 from juvenile court to an adult court has been prohibited. However, a judge can send a defendant from juvenile court to an adult court if the defendant wasn’t apprehended until after turning 18 years of age, or if there is sufficient reason to transfer the case. Some factors that can be taken into consideration are:

–       The defendant’s mental and emotional maturity and health.

–       If the defendant can be better served in regard to rehabilitation in the juvenile court system.

–       If the defendant has a past criminal history, how serious were the offenses and how successful were previous attempts by juvenile court at rehabilitating the defendant.

For more information on this bill go to:

Senate Bill 1421
New California legislation allows the public to access a police officer’s record in investigations involving police shootings, excess force, sexual misconduct, as well as in cases establishing dishonesty or misconduct by an officer.

Assembly Bill 748
Video footage and audio recordings taken by body cameras on police officers are required now by law to be disclosed to the public. In cases involving a police shooting or where excess force results in death or injury to a person, the video images and audio recordings must be a released and available within 45 days after the event happened. For more information

Assembly Bill 2504
Police officers and law enforcement dispatchers will receive inclusive training to better understand the different sexual orientations and gender identities that comprise the LGBTQ community.  Officers will be educated on how to generate better relations with the LGBTQ community in all  police departments. More Info

Senate Bill 1100 
Anyone buying a rifle or shotgun in California has to be at least 21 years old. The minimum age before that was 18 years. For more information on this bill go to:

Assembly Bill 2103 
To obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon in public, the applicant must undergo at least 8 hours of firearms training. To obtain more information about this bill go to:

Senate Bill 1412
This bill allows employers to ask a job applicant about a specific conviction, regardless if the conviction has been expunged, ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation if :

1.     The position the applicant is interviewing for requires the applicant to possess or use a firearm in the course of the job.

  1. The applicant is prohibited by law from holding the position sought, regardless of whether the conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation.
  2. Employers are prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has that particular conviction, regardless of whether the conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated, or judicially dismissed following probation.

For more information on this bill go to:

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you want an aggressive effective attorney who will fight for you every step of the way. Getting your case dismissed is always top priority for Criminal Defense Attorney James E. Blatt.

If you’ve been arrested, or under investigation for committing a crime, it is critical that you have a smart powerful defender protecting you and your rights.

To have your questions answered and your case evaluated for Free, Call James E. Blatt now.

When You’re a Criminal Defendant The Truth Can Be Brutal

When someone who has never been in trouble with the law before is charged with a criminal offense, that person is traumatized and altered in ways no one can imagine unless they’ve been through the justice system themselves.

The criminal justice system can seem harsh and unforgiving. There are consequences for every wrong step you make. By not hiring the right legal counsel to defend your case, you may pay for the repercussions with your future.

Properly investigating a criminal case is critical to the health of your future. Any bright person can manage to pass a Bar Exam. Your defense attorney needs to be honed in areas of expertise beside being experienced in the laws of California Criminal Defense Law. Moreover, the counsel you hire should have the scent skills of a bloodhound in order to know which leads to follow, the observation skills of an eagle to pick out clues others have missed, be able to think like a police detective and have the innate nature to listen like an interviewer.

If these traits sound impossible to find in one attorney, the staff a criminal defense attorney surrounds themselves with will be an extension of the legal team’s intelligence standards.

A highly experienced Criminal Defense Attorney always has good reason to examine and reexamine every piece of evidence related to your case. Everything about a criminal case is vitally important as it may provide corroborative or supplementary evidence to strengthen your defense. Even major details can be overlooked. Clues at the crime scene can easily become compromised, or even ignored. Prosecutorial misconduct may fly under the radar screen.

Every crime scene is different. Depending on how many law enforcement people were involved and walked the area can impact on which evidence factors are intact or mishandled. Today’s’ DNA technology has facilitated solving crimes whereas blood samples taken at the scene of a crime and/or a person’s fingerprints were at one time the only forensic indicators the police had to work with. And even though we have this state-of-the-art advanced technology to assist in correcting identifying the accused, a simple case of mistaken identity can still make an innocent person lose years of their life behind bars.

Expert legal representation serves to protect your legal rights and helps you navigate through a labyrinth of procedural laws and causes of action.   

Choosing The Right Criminal Lawyer Is Your Best Defense

If you’ve been charged with a crime or under investigation call the Law Offices of James E. Blatt today  877-546-2528


In California, criminal offenses are either infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. A felony is an offense punishable with death, imprisonment in the state prison, or imprisonment
in the county jail pursuant to section 1170(h), which applies to persons with prior serious/violent convictions.

All other offenses are misdemeanors unless classified as an infraction. Misdemeanors are punishable up to one year in county jail, $1000 fine, or both.

There are offenses that are “wobblers” which can be either a felony or misdemeanor within the discretion of the prosecution.

Depending on the nature of the offense, the possible punishments and procedure differ. Infractions are like traffic tickets. The only permissible punishment would be a fine. You
would receive a citation or ticket from the officer. Follow the instructions on the citation as to how to pay the fine; whether and when to appear in traffic court. There may be consequences from the Department of Motor Vehicles. However they do not count as a criminal conviction.

You have no right to a jury trial or right to appointed counsel for infractions.

The prosecution starts the criminal procedure in the case of felonies and misdemeanors
by filing a Complaint.

Upon arrest for either a misdemeanor or felony, one is booked into the jail and either
released on bail or on your own recognizance, or remains in custody.

The first court appearance on either type of charge is called the arraignment. At this
first appearance, you are informed of the charges filed, advised of your constitutional rights,
including your right to jury trial and appointment of counsel. Usually a not guilty plea is

In misdemeanor cases, the next court appearance is a pre-trial/readiness hearing, at
which your counsel will discuss a disposition to present. Any motions filed by your attorney will be heard prior to trial.

You have the option of waiving a jury trial and have your case heard just by the judge.
If you choose a jury trial, a date will be set for trial to commence. The prosecution, your
defense counsel, and the court select jurors to hear your case. At the jury trial, the prosecution gives an opening statement to the jurors. Your attorney may give an opening statement or wait until the People have presented their witnesses to address the jurors. Evidence is presented, including witnesses and documents. The prosecutor and the defense attorney give their final argument to the jurors. The jurors deliberate and return with a verdict if they agree unanimously.

If found guilty, there will be a sentencing hearing date set.
Appeals from misdemeanor convictions are filed in the Appellate Division of the
Superior court.

In a felony case, following the initial arraignment on the Complaint, the matter must be
set for a preliminary hearing. That hearing is held before a judge, who hears the
prosecution’s evidence and determines whether there is probable cause to believe an offense
has been committed and the defendant committed it. The preliminary hearing is supposed to
be held within 10 days of your arraignment, but often you will be asked to waive this time
because your counsel needs more time to prepare.

The prosecution has the option of seeking an Indictment from a grand jury.

This process is usually reserved for significant felony matters, involving multiple defendants or conspiracies.

The People then file the formal Information of Indictment, which includes all of the
charged offenses, and any prior conviction accusations.

You will return to court to be arraigned on the Information or Indictment. At the
arraignment you will be informed of the charges and of your right to jury trial and appointment
of counsel. If you have not yet been appointed counsel, counsel will be appointed. A plea to
the Information or Indictment will be entered. Then the case will be set for pretrial/readiness

There is usually pretrial preparation to be performed by your attorney, so it is the rare
case that does not require you to waive your speedy trial rights in order to give your attorney
sufficient time to prepare. Negotiations between the prosecutor and your defense counsel will be conducted during this pretrial time period.

You have the right to waive a jury trial. If you do not waive, the case will eventually be
set for jury trial, which will follow the above discussed procedures – selecting the jury, opening arguments by counsel, presentation of evidence, closing arguments, and deliberation.

After the verdict, the case will be set for sentencing. Your counsel will again need
sufficient time to prepare for the sentencing, as in many cases, the judge has discretion in
selecting the appropriate sentence.

Once you are sentenced, you can appeal your conviction and sentence. Your trial attorney has
an obligation to file the Notice of Appeal within the time limits.


In California, a person can be permanently or temporarily be prohibited from possession and ownership of weapons and ammunition. Certain convictions will result in a permanent prohibition. (Pen. Code, § 29800 – persons convicted of any felony in any jurisdiction prohibited possession.)

Temporary prohibitions can be imposed pursuant to a restraining order; a condition of probation; a condition of parole; or as the result of a finding of mental illness. There are also restrictions which result from a conviction of certain federal offenses, including a ten year prohibition for domestic violence offenses. The term “possession” is broadly interpreted, so that a person under a restriction should not be in any place, home, or vehicle in which a firearm is present. There are two kinds of possession: “actual possession” and “constructive possession.” “Actual possession” means you knowingly have direct physical control of an object. (People v. Scott (2009) 45 Cal.4th 743, 748.)

Thus, you are in “actual possession” of a weapon or ammunition if the weapon is in your hands, clothes, purse, bag, or other container. Having the weapon in your actual possession for even a limited time and purpose will constitute “actual possession.” “Constructive possession” means you knowingly have control of, or have the right to control the object, either directly or through another person. More than one person can possess the same object at the same time. Whether you can direct the object’s movement and whether it would be reasonable to think you have such control are factors in determining if you are in “constructive possession.” But you must know that you have control over the object to be legally considered to constructively possess it. For example, you would be in possession of weapons stored in a storage unit leased under your name, even though your father was also on the agreement. (People v. Aleman (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 660.)

There will be problems if you live with someone who owns firearms, like a family member or roommate, or if you transfer your firearm to someone who resides with you. Although the other person can legally keep their firearms in the home while you are on probation, it will be a problem with the police; because it is very easy to argue that you had access to the firearm. As in the case where you know the combination to the safe; or have a key. Because of this problem, you should remove any firearms in your residence while you are prohibited. If the other person will not cooperate and remove the firearms, you should stay at another location until the prohibition is ended.

There is a provision which allows another person in the household to legally possess a firearm while you are under prohibition, but that law requires that the firearm be in a locked container, disabled by a safety device, or kept within a locked gun safe. (Pen. Code, § 25135) The State has enacted a provision which requires a person prohibited from owning or possessing firearms to relinquish the prohibited items to a law enforcement agency, for sale to a licensed firearm dealer or to storage by a firearms dealer. (Pen. Code, § 29810.). The courts, probation office, or your attorney will direct you through this relinquishment procedure.


It is still illegal to sell marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to a person under 21. Persons under 21 are prohibited from all activity involving marijuana. If you are negligent, while impaired from smoking, and harm another, you can be sued for damages.

Your employer can restrict use of cannabis at the work site, and even prohibit use off hours if you are given a drug test as part of your employment and there is evidence of use.

Your landlord or leaser has the right to prohibit use of cannabis in your home and on that property.


Despite the new law legalizing the use and possession of marijuana, there remain criminal penalties for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell. However, the offense was reduced to a misdemeanor. Officers will arrest for this offense if one is carrying an amount over the permitted limits, or the marijuana is packaged in such a manner as to indicate you are selling.

Health and Safety Code 11359, 11360, 11361. The misdemeanor punishment for possession for sale, transport, import, will be county jail for not more than six months or by a fine of not more than $500, or both. If the offender involves a minor in the prohibited conduct, or has a prior serious/violent felony conviction, or prior marijuana convictions, the punishment could include a prison sentence.


Health and Safety Code 11361.8. Anyone with a prior felony offense of Possession for Sale that is now reduced to a misdemeanor under the new law, can petition the court to recall and reduce the felony to a misdemeanor.


California citizens demanded, marched, protested for years, but they achieved their goal. You can now legally smoke your pot. But there are restrictions as to where, when, how much, with whom.

Health and Safety Code 11362.1. (What You Can Do If You Are 21): If you are 21, you can purchase, possess and use or share with another adult over 21, 28.5 grams of cannibas; possess and use and share with another adult over 21, 8 grams of concentrated cannibas, including edibles; cultivate not more than 6 cannabis plants.

Health and Safety Code 11362.2.(What You Cannot Do): The six plants you grow must be on your private property and not visible from a public place. The grow must be in a locked space. You must follow local restrictions on the conditions, such as ventilation.

Health and Safety Code 11362.3. (If Smoking Cigarettes Is Prohibited, So Is Pot:) Wherever smoking tobacco is prohibited, you cannot smoke your marijuana. Prohibition against smoking includes using vape devices. You cannot smoke within 1000 feet of facilities that serve children. You cannot possess or smoke on grounds of school, day care center, or youth center while children are present. You cannot have an open container of marijuana while driving, or riding in vehicle, boat, aircraft. Carry your cannabis in your trunk, not your purses. You cannot manufacture concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent unless you comply with license requirements. You cannot smoke or ingest cannabis while driving or riding as passenger in vehicle, boat, aircraft.

The Vehicle Code against driving while impaired will apply to those impaired by cannabis. Violations of any of these provisions, except the driving while impaired, will be an infraction punished with a fine and drug education programs for those under 21.

Medical marijuana continues to be lawful and guided by the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.