Attorney Matthew G. Kaestner

Long Beach's Criminal Law Specialist


Every new year in California brings with it a whole new series of laws. This page is a brief overview of the new criminal laws in California provided by Long Beach attorney and criminal law specialist, Matthew Kaestner.

Every year, a criminal lawyer in Long Beach or throughout California can expect a new set of criminal laws. The year 2010 is no exception. Strangely though, the year 2010 has been a year where few new crimes were enacted and several changes were made in the criminal law that actually benefit persons convicted of crimes.

First, the amount of loss in several theft related crimes was increased in order to be charged as a felony offense instead of a misdemeanor. For example, receiving stolen property will no longer be a felony unless the value of the stolen property exceeds $950 instead of the old value of $400. Non-sufficient funds checks must be for over $400 instead of just $200 in order to be a felony. And although there is no increase for most grand theft of money or property crimes above the current $400 level, for over 30 other theft and property crimes, the value of loss to constitute a felony have increased.

Second, persons who must serve time in a county jail either serving time or awaiting transfer to a state prison, will receive one day of credit for every day they serve on non-violent, non-strike sentences. Prior years have allowed one day of credit for every two days served.

Third, low risk, less serious parole violators can no longer be sent back to prison for violating parole.

Another important change in the criminal law affects those persons who are accused of domestic violence. As noted in the domestic violence page on this site, a conviction for domestic violence and other misdemeanor crimes involving violence can result in a 10 year firearms prohibition. For 2010, Penal Code section 1524(a) has been amended to add 3 more grounds for the issuance of a search warrant. One of the grounds for a search warrant is if the owner of the premises was arrested for domestic violence and there is a firearm or deadly weapon at the location. A search warrant for weapons can also be based on the fact that the home owner has had a domestic violence restraining order issued against him or her.

Other changes in the criminal law this year are fairly minor. It is now a crime to provide a minor nitrous oxide that is not for dental purposes or in a food container. It is now unlawful to cut off a cow's tail. Registered gang members now commit a misdemeanor if they loiter around schools. Knowingly hanging a noose with the intent to terrorize is now a misdemeanor. Mortgage fraud can now be punished as either a felony or misdemeanor. It is now a misdemeanor to bring a razor blade or box cutter onto school grounds. And of course it is now unlawful to post on the internet the location of someone in the witness protection and relocation program.

On the lighter side, persons who participate in office betting pools will no longer face the prospect of going to jail. This crime is now an infraction punishable only by a fine. Solicitation of prostitution will now require not only an arrest of the solicitor but also his car. Being California, the paparazzo now can be sued for $50,000 for taking candid photos of celebrities during their private moments.

In 2010, whether you're accused of cutting off a cow's tail or something more serious, you need expert representation when you go to court. Long Beach attorney Matthew Kaestner has over 25 years experience handling criminal cases from murder to DUI. He is one of only five criminal law attorneys in Long Beach who are certified by the State Bar of California as specialists in criminal law. Long Beach criminal law attorney Matthew Kaestner is available now to personally take your call and handle all aspects of your case. Call him directly at (562) 437-0200.