New Rules for Probation in 2021 (California)

According to statistics from the National Institute of Corrections, as of December 31, 2019, there were about 199,313 people under probation and 107,139 people under parole in California. In the state of California, probation is an alternative sentencing option (non-prison) that is available to defendants who have been convicted of an offense. Recently, California passed a new law (AB 1950) reducing the maximum length of probation for most misdemeanor and felony convictions.

At the Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office, I’m dedicated to providing comprehensive legal guidance and reliable advocacy to individuals who are seeking alternative sentencing options, such as probation. As an experienced California criminal defense attorney, I can evaluate your unique situation, enlighten you about the new rules for probation, and determine your eligibility. My firm proudly serves clients in Oakland, Alameda County, Northern California, San Francisco, and the Bay Area, California.

What Is Probation?

Probation can be described as a non-prison sentence that permits individuals convicted of a crime to remain within their community rather than going to jail. In some cases, probation may be ordered as part of the sentencing for the crime. When under probation, you will be under the supervision of a probation officer. Likewise, you must comply with all the terms and conditions of your probation.

Probation in California

The California court will determine whether a defendant is eligible for probation or not. When a defendant is sentenced to a term that doesn’t involve state prison, the California court may sentence him or her to probation. Prior to AB 1950, a typical term of probation in California was three years for a misdemeanor offense and five years for a felony offense.

Changes to Probation Terms (AB 1950)

Governor Newsom signed AB 1950 into law, changing the terms of probation required in California. This was considered necessary in order to reduce the number of inmates imprisoned for minor probation violations and the cost of running jails and prisons. Under AB 1950, the period of adult probation for the majority of crimes in California will be substantially reduced. Here are some important provisions of the new law:

Changes in Time for Misdemeanor: The new term of probation for misdemeanor convictions will only be one year. This was previously three years for misdemeanor offenses.

Changes in Time for Felony: The new term of probation for felony convictions will be two years. This was previously five years for felony offenses.

Other Provisions of the Law:

  • AB 1950 does not apply to offenses with a mandatory probation period within its provisions.
  • AB 1950 does not apply to violent felonies such as robbery, rape, kidnapping, and murder.
  • The new law does not apply to certain felony financial crimes and embezzlement involving amounts greater than $25,000.

AB 1950 went into effect on January 1, 2021, and applies to offenses committed in California on or after January 1, 2021. Hence, if you are currently facing charges in California, a skilled criminal attorney can evaluate your unique situation and determine whether you can benefit from the new probation rules.

Working with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Getting convicted of a crime in California is serious and may have devastating, immediate, and long-term ramifications on your freedom, reputation, and personal and professional future. Thankfully, probation ensures that you serve your sentence (or the remainder of your sentence) within the community rather than in jail or prison. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explore your possible options and determine whether you are eligible for probation under the new rules.

As your attorney, I can review and investigate every surrounding fact of your case and help you understand your eligibility for relief under AB 1950. Using my comprehensive legal understanding of the California sentencing guidelines, I will fight vigorously to defend your legal rights and outline an effective strategy to pursue a favorable outcome for your unique situation.

If you believe that you may be eligible for probation and want to understand your rights, call the Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office today to schedule a case assessment. I can offer you the experienced legal counsel and strong advocacy you need to benefit from AB 1950. My firm proudly serves clients in Oakland, Alameda County, Northern California, San Francisco, the Bay Area, and the rest of California.


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