• Patrick Santos, Esq.

Discover Ten New 2019 Laws Because They May Affect You Personally.

Come the New Year, several new California laws and/or changes go into effect and at least one is likely to have a direct effect on your life. Some are designed to make California highways safer, while others may cost you some money. Learn how to adjust your behavior to comply with the new laws by discovering the following ten new laws going into effect on January 1, 2019.

1) Thou Shall Need Not Wear a Helmet.

Anyone age 18 or over is no longer required to wear a bicycle helmet while operating a motorized scooter. That's pretty sweet because it's kind of hard to keep a helmet with you at all times. But be warned, if you're under 18 and not wearing a helmet on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or skates then you might get a fix-it ticket. That citation can be "fixed" within 120 days of receiving it if the minor shows the law enforcement agency that they've completed a bicycle safety course and have a helmet that meets safety standards. Ouch…

2) Thou Shall Not Use Your Carpool/HOV Sticker Any More.

Assembly Bill 544 created a new program that allowed low-emission and transitional zero-emission vehicles access to carpool lanes for a four-year period regardless of how many people were in the vehicle. A green or white decal that was placed on those vehicles is valid only until Jan. 1, 2019, and after that - - those vehicles will no longer have access to HOV lanes. But any vehicle that has a green or white decal that was issued between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018 CAN APPLY FOR A RED DECAL that allows access in carpool lanes until Jan. 1, 2022. The DMV should have notified customers of that eligibility by mail. DMV will also issue light purple decals in 2019 that will give people access to HOV lanes until Jan. 1, 2023. Those decals are available to people who have not applied for or received a consumer rebate for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project unless they meet annual income requirements.

3) Thou Shall Always Have License Plates.

Used to be when you bought a new vehicle, you drove around without plates until DMV shipped you new ones in the mail. This caused a major headache for a lot of The Ticket Dump's clients, who gave police a free reason to conduct a traffic stop at any time they pleased. No Bueno.

Now, licensed California dealers of new and used vehicles must attach temporary license plates to a vehicle once it's sold if the vehicle doesn't have any previous DMV-issued plates. The temporary plates have a unique number and expiration date, and vehicles cannot be driving off a dealership lot without the temporary plates. 4) Thou Shall Select Thy Own Gender Identity.

Anyone applying for a California driver's license or ID card may identify as a male, female or nonbinary in the application. Applicants who choose nonbinary will see an X next to the gender category on the card. 5) Thou Shall Blow Into a Tube on Thy Steering Wheel if Thou Hath Injured Another While DUI.

Starting Jan. 1, 2019 until Jan. 1, 2026, repeat DUI offenders and first-time DUI offenders whose violations cause injury must install an ignition interlock device for anywhere from 12 to 48 months. The law allows anyone who receives a suspension to get a device and receive credit toward the required device restriction period if they're later convicted of a DUI.

6) The restrictions apply to DUI violations that involve alcohol or alcohol and drug combinations.

Courts also have the chance to order first-time DUI offenders who didn't cause injury to install a device for up to six months. If the device is not court-ordered for the first-time offender, then they have the option to apply for a license and get a device requiring them to drive to work and to and from a DUI treatment program for 12 months.

7) Thy Old Marijuana Conviction Shall Go Up In Smoke.

If you have an old marijuana conviction, it may soon be eased. The Department of Justice will have until July 1, 2019, to review records and identify past convictions that may be eligible for recall or dismissal of a sentence.

8) Come All Yee Undocumented Immigrants, Step Out of Thy Shadows, and Sell More Street Food… Por favor.

As the Trump administration ramps up its immigration enforcement efforts, California is attempting to bring street vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, out of the shadows. The state will now prohibit local governments from banning sidewalk sales of food and other merchandise, and require them to set up a licensing system if they want to regulate the practice. Violations of local rules can only be punished with citations or fines, not criminal charges, so as not to alert immigration authorities.

9) Thy Parks and Recreation Shall be Pet-Friendly.

The dog days are over. (sorry) In a couple years, owners will have access to a comprehensive list of state park units or portions of units that allow dogs. The Department of Parks and Recreation must update its website and maintain real-time information on pet rules by July 1, 2020.

10) Thou Shall First Prove Thy Proficiency with Target Practice, Then Be Issued a Firearm to Carry in Public.

Whether or not to issue concealed weapons permits remains at the discretion of local sheriffs and police chiefs. But as of January, you will need to prove your proficiency in shooting and safe handling of your firearm if you want a license to carry it in public. The training requirement has also been raised to a minimum of eight hours.

Patrick Santos is an attorney in Southern California who can help you enforce or defend you against violations of these new 2019 laws.

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