What is AB 1509

Attorney Aaron Spolin

Appeals Attorney Aaron Spolin discusses AB 1509.

Assembly bill 1509 is a law that would remove or drastically reduce gun enhancements to crimes. Under California law, an enhancement is a penalty that is added on top of an existing crime. For example, using a gun in the course of a crime could add up to 25 years to life to a person’s sentence.

One of the reasons why enhancements are so disproportionate is because often the enhancement is more of a punishment than the actual crime itself. A person might be sentenced to seven years for a burglary but then get 10 years added on because he had a gun in his pocket.

AB 1509 would almost totally remove these gun enhancements. For example, a 25-year-to-life enhancement for certain gun usage would be reduced to 3 years.

The following table summarizes the changes in AB 1509:

OLD Enhancement NEW Enhancement as proposed in AB 1509
+10 years
for having/using a gun
+1 year
+20 years
for shooting a gun
+2 years
+25 years to life
for causing injury/death with gun
+3 years
+ 5, 6, or 10 years
for shooting gun out of car
+1, 2, or 3 years

Does the Bill Apply to Prison Inmates?

Yes, the bill would apply to California prison inmates. In its current form, the bill would virtually eliminate the firearm enhancement forever and would apply “retroactively” to inmates’ sentences in the past.

Therefore, if AB 1509 is passed into law then hundreds if not thousands of California inmates would be able to walk out of prison. For example, inmates who finished their “base” term and are only in prison on the gun enhancement would no longer have additional years to wait. Additionally, inmates with the 25-to-life gun enhancement would no longer have a “life” sentence, meaning that they would not have to go before the parole board before being released.

Obviously, all these changes would require the bill to be passed into law.

When Will AB 1509 Become a Law?

Assembly Bill (AB) 1509 will only become a law if it passes in the California legislature and then is signed by the governor. Currently, the governor is Gavin Newsom. Obviously, there is no guarantee that the legislature and the governor will approve the law.

Laws Similar to AB 1509

AB 1509 is not the first major proposal that has the power to free California inmates. Many other new laws have already passed and currently help reduce sentences or otherwise free inmates.

Attorney Spolin Discussed a Petition

Spolin Law P.C. team members discuss recent changes to the law.

Some other new laws similar to AB 1509 that have actually passed include:

  • SB 1437 modifies the felony murder law. Read more here.
  • AB 2942 allows certain entities to recommend a resentencing. Read more here.
  • SB 260/261/1308 makes it more likely for younger offenders to be granted parole.
  • SB 620 allows judges to strike firearm enhancements.
  • SB 1393 allows for the removal of certain “prior conviction” enhancements.
  • Other new laws also exist and may apply to any given case.

Contact an attorney at Spolin Law P.C. to learn about these and other new laws.

Can These Laws Help You?

To find out of any of the above-listed laws apply to your case, call the award-winning attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. We provide free consultations and can be reached at (866) 716-2805.