Thursday, January 3, 2008

new California laws for 2008 including DUI

California DUI attorney news

If you're talking on the phone while driving, or if you're smoking in a vehicle with minors, it'll cost you some money this year. And if you're driving, talking on the phone and smoking with minors in the car ...

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 964 bills passed and 750 of those were signed into law during the 2007 legislative session,. That includes 167 changes to the California Vehicle Code.

A number of the new laws go into effect today, Jan. 1, and a couple more dealing with driving and talking on a cell phone go into effect July 1.

AB 808 requires applicants for a driver's license or license renewal to sign a form that states if they drive under the influence and someone is killed as a result, they can be charged with murder. This will allow a prosecutor to charge a first-time offender with second-degree murder in a fatal DUI case.
Motorists who smoke can no longer do so if they have minors age 17 or younger with them in the vehicle. SB 7 prohibits smoking cigarettes, cigars or a pipe in a motor vehicle with a minor present. It'll cost violators up to $100 a person, but it isn't an offense that law enforcement can pull one over for doing. California is the third state in the nation to ban smoking in vehicles with minors.

AB 108 bans the sale or use of a product that would impair the reading or recognition of a license plate by an electronic device such as a red-light camera or a camera at a toll booth.

As of today, it is illegal to operate a bicycle after dark on a highway, bike path or sidewalk without proper illumination. The bill extends a law enforced only on streets and roads to include sidewalks and bike paths. Proper illumination includes a white light on the front of the bike "emitting" at least 300 feet. Statewide, nearly 5,500 accidents resulting in 4,879 injuries and 133 fatalities were reported during hours of darkness between January 2003 and July 2006, according to the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department, which cosponsored the bill with the California Bicycle Coalition. The bill also gives bicyclists the option of using reflectors on their shoes or ankles. Existing law mandates that pedal reflectors be used on each bike pedal. Individuals found in violation of the new law could be fined $50 to $100.

Law enforcement officials have another tool to fight street racing. SB 67 broadens vehicle impound laws that would allow law enforcement to seize a vehicle when arresting a motorist for reckless driving, reckless driving in an off-street parking area or an exhibition of speed. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Don Perata, is mainly aimed at "sideshows." It allows law enforcement to impound a vehicle that was used in sideshow activity for up to 30 days.
Under AB 645, the courts won't be allowed to dismiss serious traffic violations such as DUI, hit-and-run or reckless driving through the completion of traffic school or other court-approved program for driving safety.

Motorists who yack on a cell phone will have until July 1 to find a hands-free headset. SB 1613, bans the use of cellphones while driving unless the phone is designed for hands-free operation. Fines start at $20 for the first offense and go up to $50 for each subsequent offense. The law, however, provides an exception for emergency purposes.

SB 33, another law that doesn't take effect until July 1, bans teen-age drivers under 18 from using a cellphone or any other mobile service device while operating a vehicle - that includes cellphones with hands-free operation. Teens would pay $20 for the first offense and $50 for each offense after that, although law enforcement officials won't be able to pull youthful scofflaws over just for that offense.