Californai Yes means Yes Law

California’s “Yes Means Yes” Law

California Universities To Apply “Yes Means Yes” Rule in Disciplinary Hearings

Public Concern About Rape On College Campuses

College rape cases have been making headlines across the country. A common theme in these cases is criticism of college administration for failing to take the complaints of alleged victims seriously. In response to these criticisms, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill into law that changes the rules that colleges must use when investigating college rape cases.

California’s “Yes Means Yes” Law

The “yes means yes” law enacted by Governor Brown applies to all college campuses in California that receive state funds for student financial assistance. Under the new rule, whenever there is a disciplinary hearing that involves one student raping or sexually assaulting another student the school administration must determine whether the alleged victim gave “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity”.

What “Yes Means Yes” Means

In other words, the alleged perpetrator must show that the alleged victim gave some sort of explicit assent to sexual activity. Furthermore, the alleged perpetrator must show that they took “reasonable steps” to make sure that he understood that explicit assent was given by the alleged victim. This consent can be withdrawn at any time before or during sex.

A College Disciplinary Hearing Has a Lower Standard Of Proof

According to the new law, a disciplinary committee only has to find proof of lack of consent by “preponderance of the evidence”. This is a lower standard of proof than “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a court room. Of course, punishment does not include imprisonment. The worst punishment that can happen is being expelled from college, though this can also have severe consequences for a person’s future employment or ability to apply to another college.

California Driver Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Legally Drive

The New Year brought not only a change in the calendar, but also put a new law into effect in California that directly benefits undocumented immigrants. On January 1, 2015 AR 30 made it possible for undocumented immigrants to get a California Driver’s License. Provided they can show “reasonable proof” that the person applying lives in California.

New Document Options for a California Driver License

According to the new law, the following documents can be used to provide reasonable proof necessary to get a California Driver’s License:

  • A valid consulate document or passport from the undocumented immigrants home country.
  • An original birth certificate, or other proof of age.
  • A home utility bill, rental agreement, or other proof of residency in California.
  • A foreign driver’s license
  • A marriage license or divorce certificate
  • An United States Asylum Application (Form I-589)
  • An official school or college transcript that includes the applicant’s date of birth.
  • A deed showing ownership of a house or land.
  • An income tax return or property tax bill.

If the document is in a language other than English it has to have a certified translation with it.

The New Fine Print

While the card will make it so undocumented immigrants can drive legally in the state of California it will also include fine print language on the card. The fine print will say that the driver’s license cannot be used to vote, get welfare benefits, or seek employment. It will also note that the license can’t be used for any application that involves the United States federal government.

These restrictions aside, this new law will provide an important benefit to undocumented immigrants who live in the state of California.

The Right to Not Be Searched Is Weakening

Supreme Court: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse… Except for the Police.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects us all from “unreasonable searches and seizures”. Put another way, the Fourth Amendment is supposed to make it so officers have to have a reasonable suspicion that you are violating the law before they invade your privacy.

Can the police search your car if the search is based on a misunderstanding of the laws they’re supposed to enforce?

According to the United States Supreme Court, the answer is “yes”.

The Supreme Court recently delivered an opinion on your Fourth Amendment rights that makes it so law enforcement has even more discretion to search your vehicle when they pull you over without a warrant.

Heien v. North Carolina

The case, Heien v. North Carolina, involves a drug case that started with Sgt. Matt Darisse pulling over Brady Heien for having one broken brake light. During the pull over Sgt. Darisse got Heien’s permission to search Heien’s car. While searching the car, Sgt. Darisse found cocaine in Heien’s duffle bag.

It later turned out that Sgt. Darisse pulled over Heien’s car based on a misunderstanding of North Carolina law, which requires all cars to have only one working break light on the back of their car. The Supreme Court held that even though Sgt. Darisse only got to search Heien’s car because he mistakenly thought that Darisse was violating the law, the mistake was “reasonable” and didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

Your Right to Not be Searched is Weaker than Before

This case means that your Fourth Amendment right to not be searched by a police officer is weaker than it was before. Even if you didn’t violate a traffic law an officer can pull you over if the officer “reasonably believes” you are violating a traffic law, even if you are not.

Do Not Consent to a Search

The only way you can possibly protect yourself in this situation is to not consent to a search like Darisse did. Even then, this might not be enough to protect your right to privacy in the trunk, glove compartment, or luggage in your car.

The Court’s opinion was almost unanimous with only Justice Sotomayor writing a dissent.

California Gun Laws

California Gun Laws – Now, No Waiting

Court Strikes Down 10-Day Cooling Off Period for Current Gun Owners

A new ruling in the case of Silvester v. Harris (E.D. Cal. Dec. 9, 2013) by U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, does away with the 10-day waiting period for individuals that already own guns or have obtained a concealed-weapons license. This was a loss for California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Motion to Dismiss the Second and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit challenging the state’s 10-day waiting period (ban) as unconstitutional. With respect to the Second Amendment claims, the Court said in part that “Harris has not shown that the law is effective either in reducing gun violence or in keeping firearms out of the hands of unqualified purchasers where the government has already issued that purchaser a License To Carry or a Certificate Of Eligibility.” Since the cooling off period applies to those who have yet to become first time buyers or owners of a gun, what is the relevance of a cooling-off period for those who already own guns!

Basic Ownership Gun Laws in California

There are several basic requirements for handgun ownership in California such as obtaining a handgun safety certificate, passing a safe handling demonstration, and having a firearm safety device. The handgun safety certificate, valid for five years, requires that in order to purchase or acquire a handgun, you must score at least 75% on an objective written test pertaining to firearm laws and safety requirements. The safe handling demonstrations requires a buyer to perform a safe handling demonstration in the presence of a DOJ certified instructor. The firearms safety device requirement states that all firearms purchased in California must be accompanied with a firearms safety device (FSD) that has passed required safety and functionality tests and is listed on the DOJ’s official roster of DOJ-approved firearm safety devices.

Also, there is a mandatory 10-day waiting period before the firearms dealer can deliver the firearm to the purchaser. During this 10-day waiting period, the DOJ conducts a firearms eligibility background check to ensure the purchaser is not prohibited from lawfully possessing firearms. Although there are exceptions, generally all firearms purchasers must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a long gun (rifle or shotgun) and 21 years of age to purchase a handgun (pistol or revolver). Additionally, purchasers must be California residents with a valid driver’s license or identification card issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. California still has a limit of one purchase for every 30-day period and a requirement of “micro-stamping” in the chambers of new semiautomatic handguns so that their cartridges can be traced at a crime scene.

If you have been charged with a weapons charge in California State or Federal Courts in the San Francisco or San Jose Bay Area courts, contact experienced weapons defense attorneys at Ginny Walia Law Offices by calling 408 724-9200!