In October, the governor of California signed several bills that represent the state’s answer to equality from law enforcement. The specific actions facilitated by the group of assembly bills include shorter probationary terms for misdemeanor offenders, the ability of the attorney general to launch independent investigations into police shootings, and a ban on chokeholds that are sometimes used by police officers in the state to subdue suspects.

Assembly Bill 1950 will shorten the possible probation times for Californians convicted of DUI and other misdemeanor offenses to one year. Most felony charges are now limited to a probationary period of two years. The thinking is that shorter periods of probations may lead to decreased rates of recidivism.

AB 1196 places a ban on police chokeholds that have concerned California residents. AB 1506 is the bill that will allow independent probes into shootings by police officers.

The push to lower the length of criminal probation received its strongest support from the assemblywoman who sponsored the bill and the REFORM alliance. The chief advocacy officer for the alliance says that residents on probation will benefit from no longer having to spend as much as a decade of restrictions for relatively minor offenses.

The chief advocacy officer says that there are too many cases of individuals having their lives destroyed by excessive probationary periods. She says it is not necessary to have people live in constant fear of going back to jail while making it more difficult for them to maintain employment and do other things that everyone else takes for granted.

Individuals convicted of crimes often face severe legal consequences. Individuals facing charges in a criminal court may help their cause by speaking with a criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible.