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Name: People v. Schultz
Case #: F080978
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/20/2021

Assembly Bill No. 1950 applies retroactively to reduce the maximum term of probation in cases not yet final, unless the defendant’s conviction comes within an exception set forth in Penal Code section 1203.1. Schultz entered a plea to driving under the influence causing injuries. (Veh. Code, § 23153, subds. (a) & (b).). At sentencing, the trial court suspended imposition of sentence for a period of five years, placed Schultz on probation, and ordered him to serve five months in local custody. On appeal, he argued the probation term should be reduced to two years based on a change in the law. Held: Affirmed. Effective January 1, 2021, AB 1950 amended Penal Code section 1203.1 to limit the maximum probation term for most felony offenses to two years (subject to exceptions). Under In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740, when the Legislature enacts a new law ameliorating a criminal penalty, it presumptively applies to all cases not yet final on appeal at the time of the legislation’s effective date. By limiting the maximum duration a probationer can be subject to restraint and probation conditions, AB 1950 has an ameliorative benefit for some probationers who would otherwise be subject to additional time on probation. It is therefore retroactive to nonfinal cases. However, the new law does not apply to an offense that is a violent felony (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (c)) and to an offense that includes specific probation lengths within its provisions. The legislative history of the bill reflects the exception is intended to apply to offenses defined by law as violent felonies, or to an offense that includes a specific probation term within its provisions. Relevant here, Vehicle Code section 23600, subdivision (b)(1) provides that where violations of sections 23152 or 23153 result in a grant of probation, the term provided is not less than three nor more than five years. Schultz’s offense, therefore, comes within the exception and he is not entitled to benefit from the change in the law.