Assembly Bill 1950
Assembly Bill “AB” 1950 came into effect in California in January of 2021. The bill, signed by Governor Newsom, limits the length of probation in both misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. AB 1950 was designed to reduce jail and prison populations in California. Probation is an alternative to incarceration. A criminal defendant may be sentenced to a term of probation as an alternative to jail or prison or in conjunction with a jail or prison sentence.
When a person receives probation in addition to jail or prison, its purpose is to shorten the length of incarceration while still subjecting them to supervision by the government. Probation terms come with certain rules and requirements. Probation often requires the supervision of a probation officer. Probation officers are tasked with relaying information to the court regarding the status of individual defendants. If a probation officer reports that a person has violated the terms of their probation the court can send that person back to jail or prison.
Probation is cumbersome and inconvenient for most people. Probation can place restrictions on where people are allowed to live, who they can associate with and how they live their daily lives. Probation adds additional responsibilities such as classes and job requirements that may not be ideal for everyone. Because probation can sometimes do more harm than good it’s important to limit the amount of time someone is on probation if possible.
Prior to the enactment of AB 1950 most misdemeanor offenses were punishable by up to three years of probation and most felony offenses were subject to up to five years of probation. Under the new law a person cannot be sentenced to a term of more than one year of probation for a misdemeanor offense or more than two years for a felony offense.
AB 1950 unfortunately does have exceptions and therefore doesn’t apply to every criminal case. There are many exceptions for the shorter probation period under AB 1950 including:
- Theft of $25,000 or more
- Residential Burglary or Robbery
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
There are many more exceptions under California law as it applies to AB 1950. For a complete list of these exceptions call William Kroger law for a free case evaluation. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and considering a plea that includes probation, it’s important to find out if AB 1950 applies to you before taking a plea.
While AB 1950 is not retroactive, some defendants may still be eligible for the shorter sentence even if they are already on probation. A defendant can ask to have their probation sentence amended if they were sentenced prior to the law taking effect in 2021. Amending a probation sentence under AB 1950 requires a motion to be filed with the court. Analyzing whether a particular case qualifies for an amended sentence requires a skilled and experienced attorney.
If you’re interested in more information on amending your probation sentence, contact us online or call us today for your free consultation at.