09Changes, amendments and alterations to criminal law are always happening in the U.S., and defense attorneys must stay abreast of these changes in state and federal regulations that can impact defendants. Let’s take a look at some significant new laws that went into effect at the beginning of 2018.
California Is Now a Sanctuary State
A new set of immigration laws in California makes it illegal for police to ask about residency status, and only allows jail officials to transfer prisoners to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of specific crimes. The laws also require immigration officers to obtain a warrant to search places of business or employee records, and landlords are no longer allowed to reveal the citizenship of their tenants.
New Missouri Law Allows Expungement In Shorter Time
A new law in Missouri allows people with criminal records to have their records erased in a shorter period of time. The old law required former criminals to wait 20 years to petition for what is known as expungement, but the new law shortens that time to seven years. The shorter time applies to felonies, but misdemeanors can be erased within three years.
The law, however, excludes the expungement of felonies that involve death, sex crimes that require registration on the sex offender list, domestic battery, and kidnapping. The law was designed to give people the opportunity to move forward with their lives without having to worry about whether a prospective employer or landlord will be able to access their criminal past.
New Federal Law Gives Judges Discretion To Eliminate Gun Use Enhancements
A new federal law allows judges to strike or dismiss a gun enhancement during sentencing or resentencing in the interests of justice. Previously, if the prosecution showed that the defendant used a gun to commit a felony, the law required the presiding judge to enhance the defendant’s sentence, which means added prison time.
The new law now gives judges the power to bypass the gun use enhancement, although it would not apply to any criminal case that was decided prior to January 1, 2018.
New Federal Law Gives Judges Discretion To Eliminate Drug Trafficking Offense Enhancements
A new federal law allows judges to strike or dismiss a drug trafficking enhancement during sentencing or resentencing in the interests of justice. In the past, defendants convicted of a prior drug trafficking offense who are convicted of a new drug trafficking offense are eligible to have their sentence enhanced by consecutive terms of three years for each prior conviction.
But under the new law, these enhancements would only be added if the prior drug trafficking conviction involved using or employing a minor in the sale or possession for sale of specified controlled substances.
Hiring An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Regardless of the crime you’ve been charged with, you need an attorney who is aware of all the new laws that could affect the way a prosecutor handles your case. The attorneys of Premier Federal Criminal Defenders have decades of experience defending clients against serious felonies. Please call us today at (888) 991-9353 to schedule a consultation.