Probation Conditions Law in California

In People v. Lopez (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 615 (Lopez) the court outlined the law governing a trial court's imposition of probation conditions: "Trial courts have broad discretion to set conditions of probation in order to 'foster rehabilitation and to protect public safety pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.1.' If it serves these dual purposes, a probation condition may impinge upon a constitutional right otherwise enjoyed by the probationer, who is 'not entitled to the same degree of constitutional protection as other citizens.' "However, the trial court's discretion in setting the conditions of probation is not unbounded. A term of probation is invalid if it: '(1) has no relationship to the crime of which the offender was convicted, (2) relates to conduct which is not in itself criminal, and (3) requires or forbids conduct which is not reasonably related to future criminality.' Citation and footnote omitted. Conversely, 'a condition of probation which requires or forbids conduct which is not itself criminal is valid if that conduct is reasonably related to the crime of which the defendant was convicted or to future criminality.' " (Lopez, supra, 66 Cal.App.4th at p. 624.) In Lopez, the court considered whether the trial court had abused its discretion in imposing gang conditions similar to the conditions the court imposed in this case. Noting that courts had upheld gang probation conditions when imposed on juvenile offenders in a number of cases, the Lopez court stated, "We believe probationary proscriptions against gang-related conduct are equally proper when imposed upon adult offenders such as Lopez." (Lopez, supra, 66 Cal.App.4th at p. 625.) The Lopez court concluded that the trial court had not erred in imposing gang conditions in view of the following circumstances: "The probation report pertaining to Lopez disclosed that he admitted membership in the Norteno gang. The gang apparently has some history of overt criminal behavior because it was known to the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. The present conviction is Lopez's first adult felony, but he has a lengthy history of juvenile offenses and misdemeanor adult crimes. Although an adult, he was only in his early 20's. Even if the evidence was insufficient to show that the present crime was in some manner gang related, Lopez's age, gang affiliation, and consistent and increasing pattern of criminal behavior warranted a conclusion by the trial court that Lopez's disassociation from gang-connected activities was an essential element of any probationary effort at rehabilitation because it would insulate him from a source of temptation to continue to pursue a criminal lifestyle. " (Lopez, supra, 66 Cal.App.4th at p. 626.)