New Year Starts New California Laws

POSTED: 05:01 AM PST Jan 01, 2012    UPDATED: 10:50 AM PST Jan 02, 2012 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

In an effort to minimize the recent outbreak of copper thefts, a person caught stealing more than $950 worth of the metal will face charges of grand theft. That can mean up to a $2,500 -- plus possible jail time.

"Tough times, people are getting creative. If it's that big of a monetary value, grand theft, that seems fitting," Joyce Hadler said.

If a driver has three or more Driving Under the Influence convictions, courts can now revoke that person's license for up to 10 years. Violators can apply for a new one after five years, but only if they install an ignition interlock device in their car.

"Three? That's pretty generous I think. How about two? I think everyone can make a mistake once. The second time, you should have learned your lesson the first time. I'd say do it after two," Hadler said.

"I think that's harsh. I mean, the limit is so low, the legal limit, so if you've had one or two drinks, technically you're not drunk but you're over the limit," Jay Berry said.

California parents are now required to put children up to eight years old in car seats. Break the law and and mom or dad get a $475 ticket.

"We need to have a federal standard because when parents go to buy a booster seat there's not a guarantee that that booster seat is going to provide good belt fit in all kinds of different vehicles," Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said.

Another new law requires school staff to undergo bully-prevention training. The Department of Justice and the California Board of Education will offer these training programs.

"I think that's a great idea. I think bullying is a lot more widespread these days with the Internet and different ways that kids can attack each other. I think it's a great idea," Hadler said.