What Does AB 124 Do?

Aaron Spolin

Award-winning AB 124 attorney Aaron Spolin is ready to help victims of violence obtain relief from harsh sentences.

AB 124 amends California Penal Code (PC) sections 236.23 and 1170. It also adds sections PC 236.15, PC 236.24, and PC 1016.7. It works in collaboration with AB 1540 and SB 567, which were also enacted in October 2021.

In order to understand what AB 124 does, you need to first know what old law requires and how that is being changed.

Old Law Regarding Victims of Human Trafficking

The old California law allowed a person who was the victim of human trafficking to have a nonviolent offense arrest or conviction vacated if that person could prove by clear and convincing evidence that the arrest or conviction was the direct result of being the victim of human trafficking. The victim was required to petition the court for such relief.

Additionally, the previous law in California created an affirmative defense against a charge of a crime that a person was coerced to commit an offense as a direct result of being a human trafficking victim at the time of the offense, when the person has reasonable fear of harm. However, that defense was prohibited from use when the crime was a serious or violent felony or a charge of human trafficking.

New Law Expanding Relief to Victims of Violence

AB 124 expands that relief for a nonviolent crime arrest or conviction to be vacated if a person was the victim of intimate partner violence or sexual violence. The victim must still petition the court for such relief and prove by clear and convincing evidence that the crime was related to being a victim of violence.

The new law also allows the defense to be used when the crime in question was a serious felony or a charge of human trafficking. Additionally, the defense can now be used when the victim was coerced to commit the offense as a direct result of being a victim of intimate partner violence or sexual violence at the time of the offense and had a reasonable fear of harm.

AB 124 also requires that during plea negotiations, the prosecutor must consider a mitigated sentence if the defendant has experienced psychological, physical, or childhood trauma. A mitigated sentence should also be considered if the defendant was a youth at the time of the offense or was the victim of intimate partner violence or human trafficking.

Under AB 124, the court must impose the lowest term of sentence possible if a person has experienced psychological, physical, or childhood trauma, or if they were a youth at the time of the offense or the victim of intimate partner violence or human trafficking. The court may opt for a middle or higher term of sentence if there are aggravating circumstances that outweigh these mitigating circumstances, and the imposition of the lowest term is contrary to the interests of justice. The court must also consider these mitigating circumstances upon resentencing.

  1. What Does AB 124 Do?
  2. How Does AB 124 Work with AB 1540 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get Relief Under AB 124?
  4. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How Does AB 124 Work with AB 1540 and SB 567?

AB 124 incorporates additional charges to California PC 1170 that were enacted by AB 1540 and SB 567.

AB 1540 addresses how the court recalls an inmate’s sentence and resentences them to a lesser sentence. It provides that the court must give notice to a defendant and set a status conference within 30 days of the receipt of a request for resentencing. The court must also appoint counsel for the defendant if they cannot afford a private attorney. Resentencing may be granted without a hearing if all parties are in agreement. Additionally, the court must state its reasons for a resentencing decision. AB 1540 indicates that it is favorable to recall and resentence a defendant.

SB 567 was enacted to manage the way that sentences are determined for convictions. There are three levels of terms for most criminal offenses. SB 567 requires that the court impose a term not exceeding the middle term unless there are aggravating circumstances that are found true beyond a reasonable doubt by the judge or jury. A defendant may request a separate trial on the aggravating circumstances being used to increase the term of punishment. Prior convictions may be considered by the court without a finding by the jury. The court must state its reasons for imposing the term it selects.

All three of these new laws – AB 124, AB 1540, and SB 567 – operate to correct inappropriate sentencing that has been taking place at trials throughout California. If you have questions about how any of these new laws could affect your case by getting your sentence reduced, call the criminal defense lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816.

  1. What Does AB 124 Do?
  2. How Does AB 124 Work with AB 1540 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get Relief Under AB 124?
  4. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Who Can Get Relief Under AB 124?

Attorney Aaron Spolin discussing with attorney of counsel Matthew Delgado | Spolin Law P.C.

The AB 124 attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. discuss strategies to help clients benefit from the new law.

AB 124 provides new statutory relief for victims of intimate partner violence and sexual violence. It allows the elimination of a conviction for people whose nonviolent crimes were the direct result of being a victim. The law still applies to victims of human trafficking as well.

Sentencing relief has also been extended to anyone who has experienced psychological, physical, or childhood trauma, or was a youth at the time of the crime or was the victim of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or human trafficking. Those individuals may now qualify for a reduced sentence and lower term in prison.

  1. What Does AB 124 Do?
  2. How Does AB 124 Work with AB 1540 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get Relief Under AB 124?
  4. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How a Top Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help You

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Spolin Law P.C. is on the forefront of new laws in California. We are ready to file an AB 124 petition for you. Call us at (310) 424-5816.

In order to win an AB 124 case, the defendant must first petition the court for relief. This process can be complex, and a legal argument must be made with clear and convincing evidence that the crime was related to the defendant’s status as a victim of violence. An AB 124 attorney from Spolin Law P.C. can handle your case effectively and efficiently.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you may be eligible for a plea bargain that considers your status as a victim of violence. If you have already been convicted, you may be eligible for resentencing. Your freedom is always our goal.

Call our award-winning legal team at (310) 424-5816 to find out all of your options.