California Criminal Law Update: 2021 Edition

Criminal justice reforms are long overdue in California. While 2021 brought several major criminal justice reforms in California, those changes do not solve all the issues with the state’s criminal justice system.

It is critical to consult with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to understand how the most recent reforms to California’s criminal justice system could affect you and your family members.

The experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley have effectively represented thousands of clients in Los Angeles and throughout California.

Our founding attorney, David S. Chesley, is widely regarded and respected in California for his professionalism and pursuit of justice for all clients. If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges, do not hesitate to speak with our criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. Note: We offer a free consultation (call 800-755-5174 today).

    Major Changes to California Criminal Law in 2021

    Key reforms to California’s criminal justice system that took effect on January 1, 2021, include:

  • California’s new sex offender registration system. Senate Bill 384 implemented a new registration system for sex offenders. California transitioned from a lifetime-based registration system to a three-tier system. Under the new system, three tiers of registration are established for 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years. The measure is said to reduce the number of individuals required to register as sex offenders for life by up to 90%.
  • California Racial Justice Act. Assembly Bill 2524 allows people convicted of a criminal offense to challenge racial bias in their case in order to pursue re-sentencing or a new trial. However, proving that you have been a victim of racial bias in your criminal case can be tricky, which is why it is advised to get legal help from a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.
  • A judge’s discretion to grant misdemeanor diversion. Assembly Bill 3234 authorizes superior court judges in California to offer misdemeanor diversion to defendants. A diverted case can be continued for no longer than 24 months. If the defendant complies with all of the terms and conditions, the arrest upon which the diversion was imposed can be erased from the defendant’s criminal record. Offenses that are not eligible for dismissal include domestic violence, registerable sex crimes, and stalking.
  • Limited maximum terms for probation. Assembly Bill 1950 reduced the maximum probation term for misdemeanors from three to one year. The new criminal law also reduced maximum probation for most felony offenses to two years.

If you are not sure how the new criminal laws could affect you or your loved ones, schedule a free consultation with our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.

Why Should You Hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you or your family member has been charged with a crime in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, it is in your best interests to speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights and freedom.

Many people underestimate the importance of having a knowledgeable attorney on their side when defending themselves against criminal charges. That’s why we have compiled a list of reasons why you should hire a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles:

  1. They know how the criminal justice system works
    An experienced lawyer knows the criminal justice system like the back of his hand. Criminal defense attorneys understand what defense strategies can be used to help you avoid a conviction or get the charges dismissed or reduced.
  2. They understand all legal procedures
    Defending yourself against a criminal charge is not just about standing in front of a judge and trying to prove that you are innocent. Fighting back against any criminal charge also involves a lot of paperwork and preparation, not to mention that you must stick to strict deadlines. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is well-versed with all legal procedures and will take care of filling out court documents, gathering paperwork, and collecting evidence on your behalf.
  3. They can identify weaknesses and contradictory statements
    An experienced criminal defense attorney can point out weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and identify contradictory statements in police records and witness testimonies to suppress evidence against you or get the charges dropped or dismissed.
  4. They have access to expert witnesses and professionals
    Often, defendants require the assistance of expert witnesses and other professionals to prove their case. Here at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley, our authoritative criminal defense lawyers have established access to a vast network of experts and professionals throughout California.
  5. They can get the best settlement or plea deal for you
    In some cases, accepting a settlement or plea bargain is your best choice to reduce the penalties. However, it is vital to speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to understand your options and ensure that you are getting a fair settlement or plea deal.
  6. They can help you reduce the criminal penalties
    The consequences of a criminal conviction can be quite harsh, which is why it is essential to hire a skilled lawyer to fight for the reduction of fines, jail or prison sentences, and other penalties. Your attorney will do whatever it takes to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss criminal charges. If that is not possible in your case, your attorney can help you get a lowered or alternative sentence.

If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges, the best thing you can do to protect your interests and freedom is to contact a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Our compassionate and results-driven criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley offer a free consultation to advise you on your options.

The sooner you reach out to a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, the better chance you have at successfully defending yourself against the charges and avoiding a conviction. Schedule a consultation to discuss your particular case and determine the best defense strategy in your specific situation. Contact us online or call 800-755-5174 for a free case evaluation.

Forme L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested Under Suspicion of Child Pornography Distribution

Lorne Reed, 32, an ex Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputy was arrested on Wednesday under the suspicion of distributing child pornography. Police came to his home in Santa Fe Springs, where Reed was arrested without any incident.

Law enforcement from multiple agencies arrived at his home in the morning with a search warrant, Reed at home Continue reading “Forme L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested Under Suspicion of Child Pornography Distribution”

Universal CityWalk: One Dead and Three Injured During Officer Involve Shooting

Yesterday Morning, James White Jr. was killed during an officer-involved shooting. White was shot when police officers opened fire in Universal City Walk after hearing gunfire and seeing an individual with a gun. The shooting took place near the Infusion lounge.

The L.A. County Fire Department pronounced the suspected gunman dead at the scene of Continue reading “Universal CityWalk: One Dead and Three Injured During Officer Involve Shooting”

Eighteen Sheriff’s Deputies Charged With Engaging In Corruption and Civil Right Abuses.

Eighteen current and former Los Angeles County deputies are currently facing charges for engaging in corruption and civil right abuses. The charges include beating inmates and visitors, as well as falsifying reports and trying to block an FBI investigation.

The charges were announced yesterday after 16 of the 18 deputies were arrested. The two deputies Continue reading “Eighteen Sheriff’s Deputies Charged With Engaging In Corruption and Civil Right Abuses.”

Reward Offered for Information on the Hit and Run that Killed a Probation Officer

On Wednesday, a 50 thousand dollar reward was offered for any information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the person who committed the fatal hit and run that killed Kenneth Hamilton, an employee with the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

On October 28, Kenneth Hamilton was struck and killed, while riding his Continue reading “Reward Offered for Information on the Hit and Run that Killed a Probation Officer”

Undocumented Immigrants in California Will be Eligible to Receive a Driver’s License

Luis Alejo (left) being congratulated by fellow lawmakers on AB60

Joining nine other states and the District of Columbia, California is giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. An issues that has come up many times in recent years, California was among the first states to give driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants consideration.

Senator Gil Cedillo Continue reading “Undocumented Immigrants in California Will be Eligible to Receive a Driver’s License”

Deputy of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Charge With Lewd Acts with a Minor

Deputy John Rose (left) along with a colleague.

John Augustus Rose, A deputy of the Los Angeles county sheriff’s department was arrested after allegations of him having sexual relation with an underage girl arose.

When the sheriff’s department became aware of the allegations against deputy Rose, they immediately commenced an investigation to look into the matter. Continue reading “Deputy of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Charge With Lewd Acts with a Minor”

How the War on Drugs is Changing

Currently, the United States imprisons more people than any other country, a large portion of U.S. prisoners are there because of drug sentencing policies that are not helping people in need, instead they are throwing nonviolent drug offenders into state prisons along with violent criminals.

Because of the policies and mandatory minimums that are tied Continue reading “How the War on Drugs is Changing”

Costs of a first time DUI

In the United States, DUIs are the most frequently committed crimes. It is estimated that DUIs account for 32% of all fatal car accidents.

Because of the dangers of drunk driving, strict penalties have been put in place for DUI offenders. For a first time DUI you could face jail time, loose your driver’s license Continue reading “Costs of a first time DUI”

Felony DUI

Under California law driving under the influence is usually a misdemeanor offense. Unlike in other states, in California blood alcohol level has no impact on how the offense is charged. There are only three factors that can make a DUI a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

4 or more subsequent DUIs within a period Continue reading “Felony DUI”

Applying for Deferred Action (DACA)

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain young people who were brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own, will be allowed to apply for deferred action for a period of two years.

The requirement for applying are as follows:

  • You must have been 15 years of age or younger at the time of your arrival to the U.S.
  • You must have lived in the U.S. a minimum of 5 consecutive years prior to the release of the memorandum that made deferred action possible
  • You must be a current student or must have graduated from school in the U.S. or have an honorable discharge from the armed services.
  • You must be under the age of 30.
  • You should not have a felony on your record, or certain misdemeanors.

Even though deferred action will make your status in this country legal, it does not equal citizenship or permanent residency. Deferred action is a 2 year deferral from any type of removal action. If deferred action is granted, you may also be given employment authorization.

Even if you are currently facing removal proceedings, you can still apply for deferred action if you meet all the requirements stated above.

In order to apply for deferred action, the USCIS will require you to fill out three forms.

  • Form I-821D
  • Form I-765
  • Form I-765WS

Before submitting these forms to the USCIS, they must be filled out completely and accompanied by the required fees and all documentation required. Please read each form’s instructions carefully and verify all the information is correct before submitting them.

If your application does not include the required fees, the USCIS will not consider your application. The fees for the form listed above total $465 dollars, this includes the fee for each form and a biometric services fee.


In order to prove that you meet the guidelines for deferred action, you must provide the documentation required by form I-812D. Below we will explain the documentation required and provide an example for each one.

Proof of Identity:

This must be a document bearing your name and a photo of you, such as a passport, birth certificate, school or military ID or any U.S. government document that has the required information.

Proof that you were in the U.S. before turning 16:

This may be any document that states your date of entry, such as a passport with an admission stamp or school records proving you attended school in the U.S. before the age of 16. You may also provide any travel records or medical records that prove you were in the country before your 16th birthday.

Proof of Immigration status:

In order to apply you must provide documentation that shows your current immigration status, such as an expired visa. If you entered without inspection (EWI) you don’t need to provide proof of your immigration status.

Proof of Presence in the U.S.

You must prove that you were here on June 15, 2012 or that you continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15 2007. What you provide for this will vary depending on your current situation, it may be rent receipts, military records, school records, passport entries, birth certificates of children born in the U.S. dated bank transactions, insurance policies, or tax receipts.

The documents stated above are only a few examples of the documentation you may provide in order to proof your presence in the U.S.

Proof of Student Status or Honorable Military Discharge:

School records from your current school, or your high school diploma or GED will be required along with your application. If you are submitting proof of an honorable military discharge, you must provide a certificate of release, discharge from active duty, military personnel records, military health records or your record of service.

Once you have gathered the required documentation, filled out all the required forms, gathered all the fees and submitted everything to the USCIS lockbox, you will have to wait for the USCIC to contact you. Once they receive your packet, they will review it for completeness, if everything is in order they will send you a receipt, followed by a notice for the biometrics services appointment. Missing you biometrics appointment can delay the process of your application, and can even lead to your application being denied.

If the USCIS requires any more information or documentation, they will contact you and may require you to appear the USCIS office. The USCIS will notify every individual who applied for deferred action of its determination by mail.

Blood Alcohol Content

In the United States it is illegal to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of 0.08% or higher. For a minor the legal limit is lower at 0.01%. BAC level will be used as evidence to prove that a person was driving while intoxicated.

If you are pulled over for a DUI Continue reading “Blood Alcohol Content”

High School Teacher Facing One Year in Jail After Pleading Guilty to Six Counts of Sex Crimes

Elizabeth Whitehurst at her trial in San Bernardino County

A former High school teacher is facing a year in jail after she plead guilty to sex crimes she committed with three of her students. Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, 28, faced 41 felony counts of sex crimes, on Wednesday she plead guilty to two counts for oral copulation and Continue reading “High School Teacher Facing One Year in Jail After Pleading Guilty to Six Counts of Sex Crimes”

DUI penalties

In the United States there is a DUI-related fatality every hour, because of this most states have made their laws and penalties regarding DUIs more severe, especially when dealing with repeat offenders.

Here we have an overview of the most common penalties you will face when charged with a DUI


Fines for DUI cases Continue reading “DUI penalties”

Hollywood’s Roaming Robbers

Band of robbers in Hollywood Boulevard

Tuesday night a band of robbers tore through Hollywood Boulevard. Police believe these are the same juveniles who broke off from the Zimmerman protest in the Crenshaw district and attacked people earlier this week.

Los Angeles Police Department’s Sergeant Johnson said “I think this specific group came up to Continue reading “Hollywood’s Roaming Robbers”

Largest Prison Hunger Strike in California History

Supporters of the inmates protesting outside twin towers correction facility

Monday morning nearly 30,000 inmates stopped eating in order to protest prison conditions and rules. The protest has spread over two-thirds of California prisons, and many inmates are also refusing to attend their work assignments.

The strike is centered on the state’s solitary confinement practices Continue reading “Largest Prison Hunger Strike in California History”

Criminal Law

Criminal law is the area of our justice system that relates to behavior that is dangerous to the public, or damaging to society. This behavior labeled as “crime” is punishable by monetary fines, prison or jail sentences, or other means of punishment. What exactly is labeled a crime, and what its corresponding punishment is varies Continue reading “Criminal Law”