The following are some of the new criminal laws taking effect in 2021:
- California Racial Justice Act (AB 2524) – This law allows individuals charged or convicted of a crime to challenge the outcome based on a racial bias that may have occurred during the investigation in order to obtain a new trial or re-sentencing.
- Banning chokeholds (AB 1196) – This law bans chokeholds and carotid holds used by police officers.
- False reports and harassment (AB 1775) – This law makes discriminatory, racist 911 calls a hate crime that is considered a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Misdemeanor diversion (AB 3234) – This law gives judges the power to offer misdemeanor diversion to most offenders. If a person follows all the conditions of the program, the criminal charge will be dismissed, and the record will be sealed. Criminal offenses, not eligible include stalking, sex crimes that result in sex offender registration, and violent crimes.
- Capped probation terms (AB 1950) – This law establishes that probation for misdemeanor offenses is capped at one year, while the cap for felony offenses is two years, with some exceptions.
- Reduced sex offender registration (SB 384) – This law reduces individuals required to register for life by a maximum of 90 percent. The new three-tier system sets terms of 10 years, 20 years, and lifetime.
- Felon voting rights restoration (Proposition 17) – Parolees who have been convicted of a felony now have the right to vote.