Katie's Blog

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Minor Driving Privileges and Interlock Device Laws

Driving Under The Influence
Driving under the influence is a severe offense in the State of California, even when nobody is injured. Those who are convicted of a DUI often pay enormous fines and are required to serve some jail time and lose their license for varying lengths of time. Each case is different, and punishments may look different from one county to the next.

While DUI laws change from time to time, one trend has held true, and that is the repercussions for intoxicated driving seem only to get more severe. This is especially the case for individuals who get more than one DUI citation in less than ten years. Such people face lengthy stays in jail and hefty fines that are sure to make an impression on any person’s wallet.

In recent years, the use of ignition interlock devices or IIDs has become standard in many states, including California. In 2019, Californians should understand that some legal changes are affecting both minors and adults who operate motor vehicles. Two laws, in particular, are worth noting.

Minor Driving Privileges and Ignition Interlock Devices

The New Year brought with it changes to rules regarding the use of ignition interlock devices. Such instruments prevent someone from operating a motor vehicle if they have alcohol in their system; the device also saves information regarding attempts to start a car while intoxicated which could lead to new problems for said motorists. Senate Bill 1046 extended an IID pilot program through January 1, 2026, to the entire state. The pilot program previously was only in force in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties. The law also mandates repeat DUI offenders and some first offenders (DUIs resulting in injury), to install an IID in their car for between12 to 48 months. The California Department of Motor Vehicles writes that:

This law also allows those who receive a suspension under the Administrative Per Se law to obtain an IID-restricted driving privilege, and receive credit toward their required IID restriction period if they are later convicted of a DUI. These provisions apply to DUI violations that involve alcohol or the combined use of alcohol and drugs. They do not apply to drug-only violations. Additionally, courts have the discretion to order a non-injury first DUI offender to install an IID for a period of up to 6 months. If the court does not order IID installation, a non-injury first offender may apply for a driver license for IID restrictions or restrictions that allow them to drive to, from, and during their employment and to and from a DUI treatment program for 12 months. 

While .08 is the legal limit for adult drivers, California has a “Zero Tolerance” Underage DUI Law. People below the legal age to drink caught behind the wheel will face charges.

Another law affecting Californians starting in 2019 pertains to the driving privileges of minors. Assembly Bill 2685 repealed Section 13202.7 of the Vehicle Code, a rule allowing juvenile courts to suspend, restrict or delay the issuance of a driver license of habitual truants or ward of the state for up to one year. Truancy no longer affects driving privileges, but the DMV makes clear that any suspensions or delays reported before January 1, 2019, remain in effect.

Orange County DUI Attorney

One aspect of DUIs that most first-time offenders are unaware of is the DMV component of the offense. Intoxicated driving is a crime that is handled in the courts. However, the right to drive is managed by the DMV. There is a separate DMV hearing that DUI recipients have a right to, and it is essential that DUI defendants hire an attorney who understands the DMV portion of a drunk driving case.

If you or your minor child is facing charges for driving under the influence, please contact the Law Offices of Katie Walsh. Attorney Walsh has the expertise to help you navigate the process and to help bring about a favorable outcome.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Parole and Probation Social Media Restrictions

While the U.S. Supreme Court deems access to social media platforms protected by the First Amendment, that doesn’t mean that some people can’t be restricted. A California state appeals court ruled that a “narrowly tailored” limit on social media use for a juvenile on probation was legal, NextGov reports. When reviewing the case in question, AA v. The People, the court of appeals wrote in summary:

One of the goals of the juvenile law is reformation and rehabilitation of the minor’s attitude so that he respects the rights of others. Here, appellant seems to think that his felonious conduct is a springboard for braggadocio on the internet. Appellant has First Amendment freedom of speech rights. But the juvenile court may curtail such rights in an appropriate case by a narrowly tailored condition of probation. This is an appropriate case.

The U.S. Supreme Court has called social media platforms the new public square, protected by the 1st Amendment; however, the terms of an individual’s probation or parole can restrict access to such platforms for rehabilitation purposes and to protect victims.

The Right to Access Social Media

The Supreme Court ruling in Packingham v. North Carolina, that social media use was protected, involved a North Carolina law that made sex offenders having any social media presence at all a felony, according to the article. In AA v. The People, the juvenile was only restricted from posting about his offense during his probation.

Conditional release typically comes with restrictions on freedom. Social media use is a right to people under normal circumstances, but not when a person is a ward of the state. What a person does and how they communicate with others can, as seen in the above case, restrict the use of social media which is liable to make any young person upset and in said case appeal.

Orange County Juvenile Justice

Please contact the Law Offices of Katie Walsh for a free consultation if your son or daughter requires legal assistance. Attorney Walsh and her team can advocate from your family and help you obtain the best possible outcome.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

School Safety Commission Report: Response

At the Law Offices of Katie Walsh, we would like to draw your attention to the California School Dashboard. The California School Dashboard is the place where parents, families, students, and teachers can see how well our schools and students are doing and where improvement is warranted. Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject.

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, discusses the Dashboard in an issued statement regarding the report of the federal School Safety Commission. In Torlakson’s statement, he makes clear that the recommendations of the commission (put together in response to the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School shooting) are made in error.

Disciplining Students in a Proportionate, Fair Manner

California School Dashboard
“I am extremely disappointed that the School Safety Commission report contains a misguided recommendation to eliminate a policy that has nothing to do with the continuing tragedy of school shootings—the quest for disciplining students in a proportionate, fair manner,” states Torlakson.

He adds, “I strongly oppose this recommendation and the Department of Education’s reported plans to rescind the Obama administration’s guidance encouraging schools to work to reduce the disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates for students of color and students with disabilities that are found throughout our nation …. California encourages districts to reduce or eliminate disparities in discipline given out to student groups. The California School Dashboard reveals the suspension rates of all student groups, supplying the data needed to take action to ensure equity for all students.”

The superintendent’s statement points out that the School Safety Commission's report had little to say about gun control. A military-style assault weapon was used in the killing of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneham Douglas. It is unclear, at this time, why the School Safety Commission believes eliminating policies which make school discipline fairer will make the student body safer.

Juvenile Defense Attorney

Hiring an Orange County school expulsion lawyer can help your child achieve a favorable outcome in a school expulsion hearing. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation with juvenile defender Katie Walsh and her team. Call 714.619.9355 or submit a confidential inquiry now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Supporting Juvenile Justice Reform

juvenile justice
The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) a non-profit law firm based in Oakland, California, helps low-income children and aims to transform the multiple public systems serving vulnerable children. The organization leads campaigns to reform education, child welfare, public health, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and workforce development.

In the realm of juvenile justice, the NCYL’s noteworthy success includes Breed v. Jones (1975) and the Texas Decriminalization of Truancy (2014), according to their website. Regarding the former, the organization successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court “that the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy is applicable to minors in delinquency proceedings.” The Texas Decriminalization of Truancy ended the practice of sending truant children to adult criminal court. 

The NYCL has worked for more than four decades to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people across the country. The non-profit continues to advocate for the rights and safety of children and teenagers, and thanks to a hefty donation their efforts can continue.

Google and SF 49ers Support Youth Justice Reform

Earlier in December, Google and the San Francisco 49er football team donated $2.35 million to the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), according to The Chronicles of Social Change. The funds will give the NCYL the ability to work with more than 300 youth per year in Santa Clara County – who are either arrested or placed on probation – as part of the California Youth Justice Initiative.

“We’re doing a comprehensive approach of deep-end and shallow-end reform, and then we’re also working with probation-involved youth to make sure they graduate, get a job or get on a good career track,” said Frankie Guzman, director of the California Youth Justice Initiative. 

The NYCL’s California Youth Justice Initiative advances policies and practices rooted in positive youth development, the organization reports. The goals of the initiative include:
  • Empowering formerly incarcerated youth and their families to advocate for change.
  • Providing legal and strategic support to community organizations working to improve local policies and practice.
  • Advocating for community-based services that address youth’s social-emotional health needs as an alternative to incarceration.
“Once you get in the system it’s very difficult to make it out,” said Richard Sherman, a defensive back with 49ers. “It’s very difficult to learn what you need to do to be in the workforce, to be a great person because you spend so much time trying to survive the situations you’re put in.”

California Juvenile Law

Please contact the Law Offices of Katie Walsh to find out more about how we can advocate for your family. If your child is in trouble and was arrested, it is likely that you would like the assistance of an attorney with a proven record in the area of juvenile law. Attorney Walsh can help your family obtain the best results.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act

In 1974, Congress passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Lawmakers wrote the bill to address some of the glaring inconsistencies in approaches to juvenile justice from one state to the next.

Most Americans are unaware that there are more than 56 different juvenile justice systems in the U.S. Each of which is independently operated, and there were no federal standards for care before the JJDPA. Sadly, Congress hasn't reauthorized the legislation since 2002.

It was beginning to look like 2018 is the year that lawmakers were going to see past their differences and reauthorize the law, but child advocates are no longer sure. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has spent the last four years championing the bill, which gave much hope; however, as Grassley prepares to step down from chairmanship his focus is now on a different criminal justice reform bill, The Huffington Post reports. Before lawmakers break for the holidays, the First Step Act is in the spotlight.

What is the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

The JJDPA, according to ACT4 Juvenile Justice, creates a federal-state partnership for the administration of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention by providing:
  • Juvenile justice planning and advisory system, establishing State Advisory Groups (SAGs), spanning all states, territories and the District of Columbia;
  • Federal funding for delinquency prevention and improvements in state and local juvenile justice programs; and
  • Operation of a federal agency (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)) dedicated to training, technical assistance, model programs, and research and evaluation, to support state and local efforts.

Reauthorizing the JJDPA

Supporters of the JJDPA in Congress are just one vote away from achieving the goal of reauthorization, according to the article. The hang-up rests on two senators disagreeing over whether the JJDPA should be reauthorized together with the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says that reauthorizing the acts together would reduce Runaway and Homeless Youth Act funding by 23 percent and would fail to protect trafficked youths; Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sees the matter differently.

“Sen. Grassley has the power of persuasion,” said Sarah Bryer, the president and executive director of the National Juvenile Justice Network. “[He] has the ability to talk to his peers in the Senate and get them to agree to stand down on their issues and stand up for young people.”

Now, it seems that Sen. Grassley has pivoted attention away from juvenile justice and is instead working to enact criminal justice reform. The First Step Act centers around prison reform, reducing sentences, and rehabilitation.

“At this point, he is spending all of his political clout on the First Step Act,” said Rachel Marshall, the federal policy counsel for Campaign for Youth Justice. “And while criminal justice reform is extraordinarily important, it’s not an either/or, in my view.”

We will continue to follow this story as it develops; if the bill doesn't receive authorization by the time the session ends, lawmakers will have to start over next year. Hopefully, Grassley will manage to resolve the dispute before the end of his tenure.

Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child is facing legal challenges or school expulsion, please contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh. Attorney Walsh's extensive experience in the field of juvenile justice makes her the perfect candidate to advocate for your family. Call now for a free, confidential consultation, (714) 619-9355.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

School Suspension Rate Disparities: San Diego

school suspension
Last week, the State of California released school suspension data and takeaways are, at best, concerning. At The Law Offices of Katie Walsh school suspension and expulsion is a topic of vital importance; much of the work we do is representing juveniles who have had problems in the classroom. We follow the data carefully to serve our clients better; we have covered the topic of student suspensions on our blog on numerous occasions, please click here for further reading.

It will probably come as little surprise for some to discover that there are glaring disparities in school suspension and expulsion rates in the ‘Golden State.’ For others, what follows may come as a shock. While suspension rates in San Diego County are down from 4.5 percent in 2011-2012 to 2.8 percent for 2017-2018, minorities and foster children are at a much higher risk of being barred from attending class, The San Diego Tribune reports. Overall, black students in San Diego County are more than two times as likely to face suspension. What’s more, foster kids are nearly five times more likely to get suspended from school.

“The very students who do need that additional time and supports, like foster youth, are the ones who are being sent out of the classroom,” said Carrie Hahnel, interim co-executive director of Ed Trust-West.

Disparities In Suspension Rates

The trend researchers are witnessing is not unique to California; one need look no further than the United States Government Accountability Office’s report on K–12 education to find evidence. Across the country, school discipline disparities for black students and young people with disabilities is alarming. Here in California, more than 15,000 students in San Diego County were suspended at least once, according to the article.

Even though suspension involves older students more often, about 1,500 students of the overall tally were in grades K–3. While African American students make up only 5 percent of those attending class in San Diego County, they make-up 7% of suspensions for students suspended at least once in the school year. The California Department of Education tracks suspension rates across the state, the data for San Diego County is as follows:
  • Foster Youth: 13.5 percent
  • African-American: 6.9 percent
  • Disabled Students: 5.7 percent
  • Homeless: 5.5 percent
  • Socioeconomically Disadvantaged: 3.8 percent
  • Hispanic or Latino: 3.2 percent
  • English Learners: 2.8 percent
  • White: 2.1 percent
  • Asian: 1 percent
“Studies we reviewed suggest that implicit bias — stereotypes or unconscious associations about people — on the part of teachers and staff may cause them to judge students' behaviors differently based on the students’ race and sex,” the GAO writes.

School suspension data is of the utmost importance for several reasons, most notably, the impact missing class can have on a student’s life trajectory. Those who miss school are at far higher risk of dropping out, getting in more severe forms of trouble, and ending up in jail or prison. Supporting students rather than relying on suspension and expulsion as the go-to form of discipline, isn’t just right for the student, it’s good for society.

Orange County Juvenile Defense

A minor infraction in school can have a lasting effect on a person’s life. If your child is facing expulsion, then we implore you to contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh. Attorney Walsh will work tirelessly to safeguard your child’s rights and negotiate alternatives to expulsion.

Friday, November 16, 2018

LA County Considers Expanding SB 439

juvenile justice
We covered an essential story about new juvenile justice legislation signed into law last month. In the 11th hour of Governor Jerry Brown's fourth term he signed Senate Bill 439 and Senate Bill 1391 into law, both measures will go into effect across the state next year. SB 439 establishes 12 years as the minimum age for prosecution in juvenile court, but a dispensation will be made for offenses such as murder or rape. SB 1391 makes it unlawful to try youths under the age of 16 as an adult.

While the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is busy coming up with a plan for serving children under age 12 who find themselves in trouble, the committee is hopeful that they can take an even more progressive step. Board members are considering banning many 12- and 13-year-old youths from juvenile delinquency court, The Chronicle for Social Change reports. The proposal is welcome news by juvenile justice advocates.

“L.A. County can lead the state of California further to ensure that children aren’t negatively impacted by the effects of arrest and incarceration on youth,” said Maria Brenes, executive director of the Boyle Heights-based nonprofit Inner City Struggle. “The impact of system involvement are dismal for our children. Youth are 39 percentage points less likely to finish public school than their peers after experiencing incarceration or detention.”

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reforms

A board motion, titled Setting a Minimum Age for Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Justice System, points out that there were just over 100 12-year olds and just over 350 13 year-olds arrested in the County last year. Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas write that SB 439 sets a floor, and they MOVE that the Board of Supervisors direct the Office of Diversion and Reentry’s (ODR’s) division on Youth Diversion and Development to report back in writing in 60 days with a status report and in 120 days with a comprehensive plan (Plan) to divert younger youth from juvenile court jurisdiction and detention by:

A. Authorizing the Director of ODR, or his designee, to hire a consultant with relevant expertise to support ODR in the development of the Plan.

B. Ensuring the Plan does the following:
  1. Build on the County’s current youth diversion and development efforts;
  2. At a minimum, comply with the recently passed Senate Bill 439;
  3. Include as a first priority a specific plan for the pending or active cases, over which the Juvenile Court is expected to lose jurisdiction in January 2019;
  4. Identify holistic programming and services for youth and families based on best practices, focused on positive youth development, that may be appropriate for younger youth;
  5. Consistent with the County’s current youth diversion plan, utilize “counsel and release” as the default in the vast majority of these cases and graduated responses thereafter, with Dependency Court jurisdiction to be a last resort; and
  6. Include recommendations regarding the minimum age for arrest and confinement of youth for Los Angeles County, including expanding on the requirements set by SB 439, based on a review of best practices, and relevant research.
The supervisors argue that, "the County has an opportunity, based on best practices and the efforts on youth development and diversion, along with the dual-status work it has already begun, to provide leadership to other counties across the State, and to reduce disparities in outcomes for young people based on geographical location, and racial and ethnic identity."

Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney

At The Law Offices of Katie Walsh, we specialize in advocating for the families whose children find themselves facing legal difficulty. What sets Attorney Walsh apart from other juvenile justice lawyers is the fact that she is familiar with both sides of the courtroom, having dealt with thousands of criminal and juvenile cases as a former prosecutor. She will use her experience to serve your family and help bring about the best possible outcome; please contact us today for a free consultation if your son or daughter requires assistance.