Assembly Bill (AB) 1540 was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8, 2021. It modifies criminal procedure involved with resentencing an inmate.


What Does AB 1540 Do?

Aaron Spolin

Award-winning AB 1540 attorney Aaron Spolin is ready to help clients attain a lesser sentence under new laws.

AB 1540 amends California Penal Code (PC) Sections 1170 and 5076.1, and adds Section 1170.03 to the Penal Code. It works in collaboration with AB 124 and SB 567, which were also enacted in October 2021.

In order to understand what AB 1540 does, you need to first know what existing law requires and how that is being changed.

Old Law Regarding Resentencing

Prior to the passing of AB 1540, the court had 120 days after original sentencing of an inmate to recall a sentence and resentence them to a lesser sentence. The court could also recall a sentence at any time upon recommendation from the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Board of Parole Hearings, or the district attorney.

The court was required to apply the rules of the Judicial Council to eliminate disparity of sentences and promote uniformity of sentencing. The court could reduce a term of imprisonment and modify a judgement if it was in the interest of justice.

New Law Regarding Resentencing Under AB 1540

Under AB 1540, the court must provide notice to the defendant and set a status conference within 30 days of the receipt of a request for resentencing. This greatly reduces the amount of time that an inmate must be incarcerated before their resentencing is taken up by the court.

The court must appoint counsel for the defendant. This provides additional protections to the rights of the defendant. This creates a state-mandated local program for which reimbursements will be made by the state.

The court may grant a resentencing without a hearing if all the parties are in agreement. However, the court is now required to state its reasons for a resentencing decision on the record.

Perhaps most importantly, the new law creates a presumption favoring recall and resentencing for the defendant.

  1. What Does AB 1540 Do?
  2. How Does AB 1540 Work with AB 124 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get a Sentence Reduction Under AB 1540?
  4. How to Win an AB 1540 Case
  5. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

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

Attorney Aaron Spolin and other legal team members having a discussion | Spolin Law P.C.

The criminal appeal lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. discuss how new laws AB 1540, AB 124, and SB 567 will benefit clients.

AB 1540 works in collaboration with two other laws that were enacted on the same day – AB 124 and SB 567.

AB 124 allows the court to vacate a conviction of a nonviolent offense that was the direct result of the defendant being a victim of intimate partner violence or sexual violence. It also creates an affirmative defense against a charge of a crime that a person was coerced to commit a serious felony or a charge of human trafficking 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. The prosecutor must consider a mitigated sentence in certain situations and the court must impose a lower term if the person has experienced certain types of traumas.

SB 567 addresses the way in which sentences are determined for convictions. In general, there are three levels of terms for various criminal offenses, which may be increased due to enhancements. SB 567 requires the court to impose a term of imprisonment not exceeding the middle term unless there are aggravating circumstances stipulated by the defendant or found true beyond a reasonable doubt by the judge or jury. The defendant may request that the trial on the circumstances in aggravation and the trial of charges and enhancements be separate. The court may consider prior convictions without a finding by the jury. However, the court must indicate its reasons for imposing the term selected.

All three of these bills – AB 1540, AB 124, and SB 567 – operate to protect people during the legal process and even after conviction. If you have questions about how any of these new laws could affect your case, call the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816.

  1. What Does AB 1540 Do?
  2. How Does AB 1540 Work with AB 124 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get a Sentence Reduction Under AB 1540?
  4. How to Win an AB 1540 Case
  5. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Who Can Get a Sentence Reduction Under AB 1540?

AB 1540 offers specific protections for anyone who thinks they should receive a lesser sentence, has already requested a resentencing, or whose rights were not protected during resentencing.

The following people may be eligible for recall of their sentence under AB 1540:

  • Someone who was sentenced and requested a resentencing hearing
  • Someone who did not have legal counsel during their resentencing hearing
  • Someone who was resentenced, and the court did not state reasons for the new sentence term
  • Someone who requested resentencing and the court did not honor a presumption favoring recall and resentencing

Thus, if a defendant was sentenced to a term in prison and they requested a recall and resentencing that did not have a favorable outcome, that inmate should have a lawyer review their case to determine if AB 1540 applies. Spolin Law P.C. has a team of legal professionals ready to evaluate these cases. Call us at (310) 424-5816.

  1. What Does AB 1540 Do?
  2. How Does AB 1540 Work with AB 124 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get a Sentence Reduction Under AB 1540?
  4. How to Win an AB 1540 Case
  5. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How to Win an AB 1540 Case

An attorney must first submit a Motion for Resentencing to get the original sentence reduced or modified. There are other ways that a resentencing request can be brought up as well, including recall by the court, filing an appeal, or bringing a writ of habeas corpus.

Under AB 1540, the court has 30 days to set a status conference. The court must also appoint defense counsel unless the defendant hires a private appeals lawyer to represent them.

If both parties agree, a hearing regarding resentencing is not required. However, at a hearing, the criminal defense attorney has an opportunity to present arguments in favor of a lesser sentence. It’s important that an attorney knows all relevant laws regarding resentencing, including new ones like AB 124 and SB 567, so that they get their defendant the lowest sentence possible.

After hearing the arguments for a reduced sentence, the court may decline to change the sentence or revoke the original sentence and resentence the inmate. Resentencing should be made according to SB 567, and the court must state reasons for the new sentence.

  1. What Does AB 1540 Do?
  2. How Does AB 1540 Work with AB 124 and SB 567?
  3. Who Can Get a Sentence Reduction Under AB 1540?
  4. How to Win an AB 1540 Case
  5. How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How a Top CA Criminal Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Spolin Law Logo

Spolin Law P.C. has some of the best legal professionals in the nation. They work hard to achieve the freedom of every client.

AB 1540 gives you an opportunity to achieve recall and resentencing of an excessive sentence that was not appropriate. After resentencing, you will be given credit for time served. In the best-case scenario, you may be released for time served. Your freedom is always our goal.

AB 1540 attorney Aaron Spolin is a former prosecutor and award-winning criminal appeals lawyer. He uses proven strategies to achieve success in resentencing cases. Mr. Spolin and his team stay up to date about new laws so that they can immediately begin working for their clients when bills are enacted.

To learn how we can help you with your case, call Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816.