Wednesday, January 30, 2019

California Juvenile Justice May Be Overseen by Cal. HHS

juvenile justice
Published research tells us that the brains of young people are not fully developed. Meaning, partially, youths are at risk of making life-changing decisions without fully grasping what can result. Many criminal and juvenile justice advocates claim that the current method of handling teenagers who break the law is woefully inappropriate. Moreover, many voters in California tend to agree.

In recent years, spanning back to the early 2000s, juvenile justice in the Golden State has been undergoing several shake-ups. Laws have been passed to shift away from punitive measures and embrace rehabilitation for most infractions. Just over a decade ago there were 11 state-run juvenile justice detention facilities; today, there are only four centers housing only young people with the most severe charges, the Los Angeles Times reports. All other youth offenders are either on probation or housed in county juvenile halls.

In 2017, then Governor Jerry Brown signed Proposition 57 which, among other things, prohibits prosecutors from charging youths in adult court without a judge's consent. What’s more, Brown signed legislation to lighten punishments; the goal is to get young people off a path to adult prison. In 2019, with a new Governor at the helm of California legislation, more juvenile justice reforms are on the horizon.

HHS Could Take Control of California’s Juvenile Justice Division

Health and human services providers could soon take over control of overseeing California’s nearly 700 young offenders, if Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan comes to fruition, according to the article. These juveniles and young adults have remarkable legal records; and, many of them contend with severe mental and medical health needs. The majority of the more than 660 offenders are confined to detention camps in Pine Grove, Stockton, and Camarillo.

“This is about setting a new mark,” said Gov. Newsom. “We are committed about ending the juvenile justice system as we know it once and for all.”

Under the proposed plan, the California Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) are tasked with better preparing young people for release through a combination of educational, mental health, and social services, the article reports. With Legislature approval, Gov. Newsom hopes to make the handover from corrections officials to the HHS as early as July. The move to HHS from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would put California closer in line with most others states.

California is currently one of the ten states whose juvenile justice division falls under a state corrections agency; 40 states operate like what Gov. Newsom is proposing. California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris says the new model will help address early childhood trauma and prevent young people from having run-ins with the law. 

“Really looking at what we can do for our young folks who are most vulnerable is really critical,” said Dr. Harris.

Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney

At the Law Offices of Katie Walsh, we will continue to follow this story as it develops in the coming months. Juvenile defense attorney Katie Walsh is committed to helping young people, and their loved ones overcome legal trouble. Please contact us today to learn more about how Attorney Walsh can advocate for your family.

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.