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Californians with criminal records face obstacles and barriers to employment. For example, Uber has announced more intense screening of its drivers, including background checks every two years and checks on new criminal and DUI charges. But recent laws limit how employers may use an applicant’s criminal history and open licensed professions to those with criminal records.

California Criminal Background Check Reform

The Fair Chance Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, is a “Ban the Box” law that prohibits employers from:

Senate Bill 1437 takes effect January 1, 2019 and will limit first-degree felony-murder for any aider-abettor who is not the actual killer. Under this new law, a defendant must be the actual killer, act with intent to kill, or be a major participant in the underlying felony who acted with reckless indifference to human life to be convicted of murder.

Eligibilty for Senate Bill 1437 Resentencing

• Certain accomplices to the underlying felony who were convicted of first degree felony murder.

A police officer with adequate training and experience in performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test

(HGN) may testify as to the significance of a defendant’s performance on an HGN test, according to a recent California Court of Appeal decision. Although HGN testing alone cannot determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol (nor determine a blood alcohol level), the HGN test is part of an officer’s total observations of a suspect. The horizontal gaze nystagmus is one basis for an officer’s opinion concerning intoxication.

A police officer can use findings from horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) testing as a basis for an opinion that the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol. The prosecution is not required to submit expert testimony to confirm the officer’s evaluation of the HGN test.