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The New Year also brings a new wave of California laws

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Many Santa Cruz area residents ventured out to ring in the New Year last weekend. For many, the New Year is a time for a new beginning. New Year's Day is also often the beginning day for new laws in California, and Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyers understand that several new provisions went into effect Jan. 1 that relate to driving under the influence in California.

A significant new provision has been sitting dormant for roughly 15 months. In Sept. 2010, then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a measure that will now allow California judges to revoke a person's driver's license for 10-years if the driver has at least three DUI convictions on his or her record.

The new DUI license revocation provision includes a process for drivers to apply for potential reinstatement of their licenses after five years if certain conditions are met. One significant condition requires the driver to install an ignition interlock device on his or her car, which can be an expensive prospect after paying installation and monthly service fees.

A second notable new law that took effect Jan. 1, may impact California drivers convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving. That new law also involves ignition interlocks and allows drivers to apply for a restricted license before the one-year suspension runs its full course.

DUI checkpoints in California are relatively commonplace. A new law took effect Sunday that provides a small limitation on law enforcement's authority during DUI checkpoint operations. The law does not apply to cases involving drunk driving investigations. The new limitation prohibits officers from impounding a motor vehicle during a sobriety checkpoint detail if the only alleged offense involves a driver who does not have a valid license.


  • Land Line Magazine, "California's 'three strikes' policy takes effect," Keith Goble, Dec. 28, 2011
  • Mill Valley Patch, "Hundreds of New Laws Go into Effect in 2012," Karina Iofee, Jan. 3, 2011



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