People v. Faial (2022): Amended Law Shortens Probation Period
The California Court of Appeals reviewed the issue of whether Assembly Bill 1950, which generally limits probation terms to two years, does not apply to prior sentences when the trial court’s termination of a defendant’s probation occurred before the bill’s effective date, in People v. Faial.
In 2015, Mr. Faial was charged with first-degree burglary, petty theft with a prior theft-related conviction, and two counts of criminal threats. In 2017, the trial court had imposed a 12-year sentence for the crimes, but then suspended the execution of the sentence and placed Faial on four years of probation instead. Part of the terms of probation was that Faial had to complete a particular residential treatment program and needed approval from the program director and his probation officer before leaving the program. Later that same year Faial admitted that he did not complete the program, thus violating his probation. The court revoked Faial’s probation, but five weeks later, reinstated the probation and ordered Faial to complete a different program. In 2019, Faial again violated his probation terms by failing to abstain from the use of alcohol, resisting arrest, possessing a knife, and possessing drug paraphernalia. Due to the numerous occasions of Faial violating his probation terms, the court in 2019, ordered the execution of the previous suspended 12-year sentence, and Faial appealed.
How Does Assembly Bill 1950 Work?
Assembly Bill 1950 became effective in 2021 and amended section 1203.1 of the California Penal Code by shortening the probation period to no more than two years for most misdemeanors and felonies, except as specified. This includes all those sentenced to probation before the bill became effective as long as the felony was not considered to be a “violent felony.” It was put in place after studies showed that probation services are most effective during the first 18 months of supervision and that providing increased supervision and services earlier reduces an individual’s likelihood of them relapsing back to prior criminal behaviors. Shortening the probation period also adds the benefit of incentivizing compliance and helps probation officers do their job more effectively by making their caseload more manageable.
Upon appeal, Faial argued that Assembly Bill 1950 applied to his case and requested the trial court to revoke and terminate his probation because he completed 2 years of his 4-year sentence. By doing this, Faial contended that he completed 2 years of his probation and therefore, the trial court had no right to revoke his probation and reinstate the execution of his 12-year prison sentence. The court disagreed with Faial and stated that Assembly Bill 1950 applies retroactively to defendants who were serving a term of probation when the bill became effective, and courts would then reduce the length of their probation terms. However, the amended statute included no terms purporting to modify a trial court’s authority to revoke and terminate probation due to a defendant’s violation of the probation terms, which is what Faial did. In other words, Assembly Bill 1950 applies retroactively only to a specific class of people whose probation had not been revoked or terminated before the enactment. Faial’s appeal was rejected, and his sentence was sent back to the trial court for resentencing.
Contact An Experienced Wallin & Klarich Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Assembly Bill 1950 is important because it requires those who have been charged with most misdemeanors or felonies, to have their probation period decreased. If you believe yourself or a loved one’s probation period should be lowered, contact our firm. We have over 40 years of experience and can help you in this situation. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, and Los Angeles, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located. Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 831-5293 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.