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What is Disorderly Conduct in California

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Disorderly conduct in California isn’t really one specific charge. It’s a blanket term that covers a surprisingly large array and variety of charges.

Charges that fall under the category of disorderly conduct in California include:

  • Trespassing
  • Rioting
  • Begging
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Prostitution (both soliciting and engaging)
  • Public intoxication
  • Loitering
  • Invasion of privacy
  • And many more

If you’re going through California’s laws, you’ll find disorderly conduct mentioned when you read PC 647.

The exact consequences of disorderly conduct in California depend on what type of crime you’ve been charged with. In most cases, you could face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, or community service.

The biggest consequence connected to disorderly conduct crimes in California is the damage they do to your reputation. They’re a misdemeanor, so once you’ve put the matter behind you, legally it doesn’t have much impact on your life. However, it does mar your reputation and can have a negative impact on your personal relationships and also make it harder to find employment.

The exact defense you and your lawyer decide to mount in a disorderly conduct case will depend heavily on the situation. The most common defenses involve:

  • Complete innocence of the crime
  • False accusations of the crime
  • Lack of probable cause

If you’ve been accused of a disorderly conduct crime, it’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer right away. The sooner you start working with a lawyer, the stronger you’re defense will be.


Abandoned Pets in California

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

There is little that tugs on the heartstrings more than a family pet that has been abandoned. A startling number of these stories involve a family suddenly moving and leaving a cat or dog behind, often on the property. If you happen to be the person who either rents or purchases the property, it’s important to understand your legal rights.

California lawmakers addressed the issues of abandoned pets. The law was designed to protect both landlords and incoming residents from inheriting responsibility for the pet the previous tenants left behind. All you have to do is report the pet to animal control. When you report the pet, local animal control officers will arrive at the property and remove the animal. Prior to the law change, everyone had to leave the pet where it was for a full two days after its discovery to see if the previous owners planned on returning for it.

This new law makes it possible for the pet to receive shelter, food, and any veterinary care it requires.

If you are getting ready to move and are considering leaving your pet behind, you need to think again. This is a serious problem that law officials are starting to really crack down on.

Even if there is a legitimate reason your pet can’t make the move with you, you’re legally obligated to take care of them. That means that if you aren’t able to convince a friend or family member to assume ownership, you’ll have to go through a shelter.

It’s important to understand that abandoning your pet dog or cat is illegal. The resulting charge is a misdemeanor. If you’re found guilty you could be fined $50-$500 and possibly spend time in jail.

If the stress of the move causes a pet to run away, you need to report them as a lost animal as quickly as possible. Reporting them as lost not only increases the odds of them getting safely returned to your family but eliminates the possibility of your being charged with animal abandonment in California.


Jail vs. Prison

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When you read through different crimes and the respective punishments, you’ll likely notice that some carry a prison sentence while others carry a jail sentence. When you’re on the right side of the law, the distinction between the two doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that changes once you’ve been charged with a crime.

As someone who fighting charges that could result in an incarceration period, you would far rather go to jail than to prison.

The majority of the population uses the words “jail and prison” interchangeably because they don’t understand how big a difference there is between the two. Yes, both are secure facilities. Yes, when you’re in either one, you’re able to act independently and do whatever you like is curtailed. Yes, both are places people want to avoid.

Legally speaking, there is a world of difference between jail and prison.

Jails, which are usually a county building, aren’t designed for long-term stays. They are supposed to be used primarily for holding people who are waiting for their court trial or a sentencing hearing. They are also commonly used following the sentencing of misdemeanors.

Prisons are designed for long-term stays. They are larger facilities and are run either by the state or the federal government. Different prisons have different levels of security which impact the overall quality of the inmates’ lives while they are incarcerated. The inmate’s behavior and the type of crime they were convicted of determines the security level of the prison they are sent to.

The interesting thing about the jail vs prison debate is that some convicts have reported that they would rather stay in prison over a jail term. This is interesting because jails typically have a reputation for being less crowded, less regimented, and they tend to be easier for friends and family to visit.

The problem is that because jails aren’t truly designed for long-term stays, they’re pretty basic. They don’t have many of the amenities found in prisons. Inmates feel more isolated and tend to get bored and stagnate while in jail. In prison, the same inmate can take advantage of different rehabilitation programs, might enjoy bunker style living arrangements, and get more exercise.

Why is it important to understand the differences between jail and prison? Knowing the differences better enables you to decide if you should take advantage of a prosecutor’s offer of certain plea deals, particularly in wobbler cases.


What Happens if I Ignore a Subpoena

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The great thing about the American legal system is that if you don’t want to talk to the police or testify at trial, you don’t have to. Sort of. This changes if you’re presented with a subpoena.

What is a Subpoena

Most of us are familiar with the word subpoena, but few of us know what one is or how it’s obtained.

There are two types of subpoenas: the subpoena ad testificandum and the subpoena duces tecum. The first is a summons that requires that you not only appear at a specific court hearing but that you also offer witness testimony. The second type of subpoena requires that you present specific documents/recordings/photos/etc. to the authorities so that they can use them as evidence in a case they’re building.

Both types of subpoenas are used in criminal and civil cases.

How Subpoenas are Obtained

Lawyers can’t just write up a subpoena for themselves. It’s something they have to request, sort of like a warrant. The lawyer who needs your story or the paperwork for a case will formally contact the trial clerk’s office and request a subpoena.

What Happens if I Ignore a Subpoena?

While there are some exceptions, in most places the only way you’ll get a subpoena is when a lawyer/clerk/process server hands it directly to you. Doing this makes it impossible for you to say you never received the court order or that you didn’t understand it.

If you’ve been handed a subpoena, you don’t want to ignore it. You’ll only get yourself into deep legal trouble.

If there is a problem with the subpoena, such as you no longer have the documentation requested or a major reason you can’t make the court date, you have two weeks to contact the trial clerk’s office and alert them to the situation.

Ignoring the subpoena and not showing up for court or providing the requested documentation can result in you being charged with contempt of court, which can result in a fine, jail time, or both.

While you can’t ignore a subpoena, you don’t have to think you have to handle the situation by yourself. That’s not the case at all. It’s okay to contact a good attorney and have them explain how the subpoena works and what your legal options are.


What Happens When You Fail to Pay Parking Tickets

By | Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

Parking tickets are a royal pain. The second you see the little slip of paper on your windshield, you know your weekly budget is about to take a hit. Considering how tight money is these days, it’s perfectly natural to wonder what would happen if you simply threw the parking ticket in the trash and pretended it never existed.

The good news is that you won’t be arrested for failing to pay a parking ticket. It’s not a criminal act, but don’t assume that just because you won’t go to jail that your actions won’t have consequences. They will.

The first thing that happens when you fail to pay your parking ticket on time is that the amount you owe increases.

The next step is if an officer notices that you’ve collected five unpaid parking tickets they can arrange to have your vehicle towed and impounded. At this point you have two choices, you can pay the tickets, the cost of the towing, and the impound fees, or you can appeal the decision.

If you decide to fight the impounding of your vehicle, you need to contact the city offices and find out when the tow hearing will take place. During this period it’s up to you to prove that the vehicle was either towed illegally or that you, the registered owner, weren’t notified when the vehicle was towed. Or that the tickers were paid and there was simply a glitch in the system that made it appear that you had several outstanding parking tickets. If you’re able to prove your case, all the fees connected to the towing and impounding of your vehicle will be waived. If you can’t, the impound fees will increase daily until you’ve paid all of your outstanding bills.

One of the more irritating things many drivers report is that they continue to get parking tickets for a vehicle that they no longer own. This isn’t just costly, it’s also irritating and can do severe damage to your reputation. The most likely reason this happens is that the person you sold the car to failed to register the vehicle to themselves and is still using the same license plate that you put on the vehicle.

In order to fight parking tickets that were actually issued to the driver of a vehicle you sold, you’ll have to go to court and show a bill of sale that includes the date you sold the vehicle. Pulling the plate off any vehicle you sell should prevent you from getting into a similar situation in the future.


How To React To Cyberbully

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

Bullying has always been a massive problem, but in many cases, once you made it to your home, you got a respite from your bully. The internet changed that. A cyberbully has access to you 24/7.

If you’ve attracted the attention of a cyberbully, there are a few things you should do.

Ignore the Bully

Ignoring a bully is easier said than done, but in this case, it’s imperative. The cyberbully’s goal is getting a reaction from you. Failing to respond to their snide comments on social media usually causes them to give up on you and they direct their time and attention elsewhere.

In addition to ignoring the cyberbully, you need to remain calm about the situation. Do not do anything reckless.

Talk to Someone About the Issue

It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or an adult, as a cyberbullying victim, you need to reach out to a trusted source and alert them to what is happening. You’ll be amazed by the amount of relief your experience once you know you’re not dealing with the problem on your own and that someone is standing in your corner.

Keep a Record of the Interactions

While you don’t want to engage with a cyberbully, you do want to keep a record of their behavior. A file of screenshots could help the authorities identify your cyberbully’s identity and also makes it easier to build a case against them.

Report the Cyberbullying

It’s difficult to know exactly when you should go to the police and report your struggles with a cyberbully. If you feel that the person is a threat to your health or if they appear to have way too much information about you which implies they know your work/home location, it’s in your best interest to report the matter to the police. Based on the information you supply, the police will determine if they should launch an investigation.

Don’t assume that because the police told you they didn’t have enough evidence to investigate the situation, that you’re out of options. If the problem persists, you can always return to the police over and over again until they are ready to take action.


Robbery in California

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In California, it’s possible to be charged with three different types of robbery. They’re:

  • First-degree robbery
  • Second-degree robbery
  • Third-degree robbery

What is First-Degree Robbery

California lawmakers discussed robbery in the first degree in the California Penal Code 211. This is a felony charge that is filed against you when the police uncover evidence that you’ve committed, “the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

A guilty conviction is a felony. You can be sentenced to three to six years in state prison. You’ll also have to go through a felony probation period and could be hit with a $10,000 fine.

What is Second Degree Robbery

A second-degree robbery charge indicates that you had the assistance of an accomplice while you committed the murder. You can also face a second-degree robbery charge if someone was injured during the robbery.

California lawmakers decided that if you were armed while committing second-degree murder, you can face a two to a five-year prison sentence. It’s worth noting that second-degree robbery is covered by California’s three-strikes law, meaning that the third time you are convicted of the offense, the charge will include 25 years to a life sentence in state prison.

Third Degree Robbery in California

In California, a third-degree murder charge occurs when a weapon, such as a gun or a knife, is used during the robbery. It is commonly referred to as armed robbery. This is a felony. A guilty conviction includes ten years in state prison.

In addition to the robbery charges, if you discharged a weapon or injured someone during the robbery, the prosecution will likely file additional charges against you. If found guilty of the additional charges, you’ll likely face additional, consecutive prison time plus have to pay additional fines.

Getting charged with robbery in California isn’t a laughing matter. A single guilty conviction can destroy your future. The best way to avoid a robbery charge is to decide against committing a robbery. If you have been charged with a robbery that you didn’t do, you’ll need a good defense attorney. You’ll also want to get released on bail so you can set about proving your innocence.

California’s Stay at Home Curfew

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There isn’t a single person whose life hasn’t been disrupted by the pandemic. We’re required to wear masks, we pay for massive amounts of hand sanitizer, we keep an eagle eye on our cleaning supplies and stock up as soon as we think they’re getting even a little low. Now, the governor has issued a curfew.

The newest restrictions include a curfew that prevents anyone from leaving their home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. There are some exceptions. Essential workers who are traveling to or from work are allowed on the road. You can leave your home if there’s an emergency. It also appears that you can walk your dog between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The curfew was issued in direct response to the fact that the state hit the unwanted milestone of 1 million positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. This number is expected to continue rising at an alarming rate. In a single day, Ventura County reported that they had 365 brand new infected cases.

The entire state isn’t impacted by this curfew. At this point, only the counties that are listed in the state’s purple tier are required to follow the curfew. Today, 94% of California’s counties are purple.

The main reason for the curfew is to discourage people from mingling in the type of settings that encourages the spread of COVID-19. The idea is to put a stop to late-night bar-hopping, indoor parties, and clubbing. Many feel that these types of events, during which many people don’t wear masks or adhere to social distancing guidelines, is causing cases to skyrocket.

The hope is that by limiting the spread of the virus, the disease won’t overwhelm local medical resources. The governor also hopes that the curfew will also slow the spread enough that the state doesn’t have to go into a full lockdown.

Are you wondering what happens if you break curfew? You’re not alone. One of the biggest headaches associated with many of the governor’s new orders is that no one knows how the rules will be enforced.

Even the police departments don’t appear to know how to respond to the governor’s orders. Several departments have said they won’t take steps to enforce the governor’s stay-at-home orders.

If enough people ignore the curfew and the number of positive cases continues increasing, it’s possible that lawmakers may consider issuing fines and even arresting people who fail to follow COVID-19 related laws.


Aggravated Mayhem in California

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Aggravated mayhem might sound like it’s shenanigans that get out of hand, but that’s not the reality. According to California law, aggravated mayhem is, “intentionally causing someone a permanent disability or disfigurement, or to deprive the person of a limb, organ or member of the body.” A charge of aggravated mayhem in California is similar to aggravated battery or torture.

It’s important for everyone involved in an aggravated mayhem case to remember that the victim has to have been either disabled or disfigured during the alleged incident. Legally speaking, there’s a huge difference between an injury that will eventually heal and a lifelong disfigurement. If doctors determine that the victim didn’t sustain injuries that will leave them permanently disabled or disfigured, the charges against you will have to be altered.

It’s worth noting that a charge of aggravated mayhem can be filed if the victim suffers severe psychological damage.

Consequences of Aggravated Mayhem in California

Aggravated mayhem is not a wobbler offense. It’s always a felony offense.

It’s also worth noting that legal consequences aren’t the only problem you face in an aggravated mayhem case. The victim can also choose to file a civil lawsuit against you. The victim can file a civil case against you even if the DA drops the charges or a jury finds you not guilty.

A guilty conviction of aggravated mayhem can include:

  • Fines of more than $10,000
  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole

Possible Aggravated Mayhem Defenses

If you’ve been charged with aggravated mayhem, you’ll want a good criminal defense lawyer in your corner, and you’ll want their legal advice as soon as you’re arrested. You don’t want to accidentally say something that jeopardizes your defense.

Potential arguments you can use to defend yourself in an aggravated mayhem case include:

  • That the injuries the victim sustained weren’t permanent
  • That the prosecutor can’t show probable cause
  • You didn’t intend to injure the victim

Putting together a solid defense in aggravated mayhem cases takes a lot of time and investigation so find a good attorney as quickly as possible.


What is Civil Theft

By | Carls Bail Bonds

Theft is taking something that’s not yours. If someone steals something that is yours, the police can arrest them and they’ll likely be found guilty in court. It seems straightforward, but sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes you run into a situation called civil theft.

What is Civil Theft?

Civil theft is a complicated issue. At this point, it doesn’t really have a clear cut legal definition. The best way to describe the situation is that it involves somebody taking something that is yours but doing so in a manner that doesn’t really break any actual laws.

An example of civil theft is asking a friend to keep a horse on your property for a few weeks while you organize your life. In your mind, the horse still belongs to you, even though you’ve basically given your friend custody of them. The friend decides to sell the horse. When you find out, you call the police. While the police sympathize with you, they say that since your friend was in possession of the horse and claims that you gave the animal to them, no laws were broken. This can happen anytime you entrust personal property to another person. It seems to be particularly common when there is confusion about when you intend to regain possession of the items.

How to Handle Civil Theft

Because no laws were broken, you can’t file charges against the person who stole your property, though you should at least file a police report so that you have proof that you didn’t condone the action.

You can pursue the matter in civil court. You’ll need the assistance of a good lawyer. The process will likely involve a great deal of leg work that often includes getting witness statements, proof of sale, proof of original value, etc. The cost and complications associated with civil theft are high. As a result, most plaintiffs ultimately choose to drop the case and cut their losses.

How to Prevent Civil Theft

The good news is that civil theft is preventable. Contracts are the key to prevention. Rather than simply handing a pet or other personal belonging to a friend or family member with the expectation that they’ll give it back, everyone involved should sign a contract. The contract doesn’t have to be complicated or extremely formal. All it needs is a quick description of the item, a sentence that states you’re the current owner of the item and that you have no intention of turning the ownership over, and any terms your friend decides to add. Make sure that the contract includes the contact information of everyone involved. Each person named in the contract should receive a signed copy. Make sure you keep your copy in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box.

A good contract can spare you a great deal of aggravation.


The Consequences of Contracting Without a Proper License

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The State of California doesn’t mind you offering to help repair your neighbor’s garage in exchange for pizza. However, if you start accepting money for the repair work and turn it into a business, the state expects you to cut through all the red tape and acquire a proper license. Failing to do results in serious ramifications.

One of the many reasons the Contractors State License Board was originally established was to help create some standards contractors must meet and also help protect contractors and consumers from fraudulent situations.

Business owners who are involved in the following industries are required to have a current California contractor’s license:

  • Building construction/repair
  • Road construction/repair
  • Railroad construction/repair
  • Parking facility construction/repair
  • Excavation

Getting caught doing businesses without a proper, state-issued license can cause serious problems. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has a Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) that’s responsible for dealing with contractor fraud. It’s important to understand that the task force doesn’t simply investigate complaints, they also routinely set up undercover investigations and sweet construction sites in an attempt to identify contractors that aren’t properly licensed.

The consequences of operating a contracting business without a state contracting license are severe. In most cases, your case will appear in front of a Superior Court judge. If the judge finds you guilty of misdemeanor charges, you could be sentenced to a six-month stay in jail and be charged a $5,000 fine. The penalties don’t stop there. The court can also hit you with an administrative fine that ranges from $200-$15,000. That’s for a first offense.

The next time you face the same charges, the minimum sentence is 90 days in county jail and either a $5,000 fine or 20% of whatever you were charging your client.

Many contractors have faced felony charges. The court pursues a felony charge when they believe you deliberately led the client to believe that you were properly licensed or if you used a license that belonged to a different contractor. The third way you can be charged with felony contractor fraud is if you’re caught operating in an area that has been declared a state or federal natural disaster area.

Felony contractor fraud convictions can end with prison time as well as steep fines.

Any clients you did work for while not properly licensed are not required to pay you for your time or the supplies you used. They can also choose to file a civil case against you.

The best way to avoid a contractor fraud charge is by making sure your contractor’s license is always up to date.


Drunk Driving in California During the Thanksgiving Holiday

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There are certain days when the police become extremely concerned about drunk drivers. Thanksgiving is one such holiday. If you’re on the road during Thanksgiving weekend, don’t be surprised if you see more police patrolling the streets than what you would normally expect.

Why Police are Concerned about Drunk Driving in California During Thanksgiving

California patrol officers have plenty of good reasons to be out and about during Thanksgiving weekend. The main reason they’re going to be patrolling for drunk drivers is that history indicates that it’s a holiday when many drivers fail to hand over their keys after having one too many.

Statistics indicate that there is something about the long Thanksgiving weekend that encourages drivers to cut loose and drink more than they should, especially the night before Thanksgiving Day. According to data collected by Scram Systems, during a 5-year span, there have been about 800 drunk driving-related car accidents that took place on the night before Thanksgiving. One reason for the high number of accidents is because many people choose that night to hit the bars. Another reason is that there are more cars on the road. A higher number of drunk drivers combined with more people driving results in some nasty accidents.

Looking at the numbers it makes sense that additional police are assigned to patrol the streets the night before Thanksgiving.

Be Prepared to be Pulled Over on Thanksgiving

It’s unlikely that the police will be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt during the Thanksgiving holiday. If they see anything, such as briefly swerving in your lane or taking a turn too fast, that makes them even suspect you might be driving while under the influence, they will pull you over.

How to Avoid Spending Thanksgiving in Jail

If you’re arrested for drunk driving the night before Thanksgiving, you will likely spend the bulk of the holiday behind bars. Not only will the police refuse to release you until you’ve sobered up, finding the money to post your bail will be difficult.

Avoiding Thanksgiving Drunk Driving Charges

The best way to avoid spending the holiday in a jail cell is to plan ahead before going out.

If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a plan that allows you to get home without actually getting behind the wheel. This plan could include having a friend drive you, taking a cab, or hiring an Uber driver.

If you do go out and drink more than you should, call someone for a ride. Don’t assume that you’re okay to drive home.

Don’t assume that you can wait in your car until you sober up. If a police officer sees you get into your car while you’re drunk, they can still arrest you for “intending to drive while drunk.” They can charge you with this even if you don’t move your car.

The best way to enjoy Thanksgiving is by using good judgment, monitoring the amount of alcohol you consume, and committing to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

Happy Thanksgiving!


What Happens When you Bounce a Check in California

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We all make mistakes. One of the mistakes that many of us have made at one time or another is not checking our account before writing a check. As a result, the check bounces and you face a series of problems.

The good news is that in most cases, the consequences of writing a bad check aren’t horrible. The person/business you wrote the check to contacts you. You’re embarrassed but cover the amount of the check plus whatever fee the business attaches to the returned check. There’s also a chance that your bank will charge you an overdraft fee. Once you’ve covered all of these costs, you can stop worrying about the matter and get on with your life.

In some extreme cases, the legal system gets involved.

Check fraud is covered by California’s Penal Code 476 PC. According to the law, you can be charged with check fraud whenever you do something with a check that leads the person who is receiving the check that they believe is good.

You can be charged with check fraud if you:

  • Write a check even when you know there aren’t sufficient funds in your account
  • Create checks for an account that doesn’t exist
  • Alter the routing or account number on a check
  • Writing checks for an account you don’t own
  • Altering the amount written on a check

Check fraud is another one of California’s wobbler laws. If the amount of check fraud doesn’t exceed $950, you’ll only face misdemeanor charges. A conviction can result in a sentence that could include:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • A maximum of one year in county jail
  • Restitution

If the amount of the check fraud exceeds $950, you can be charged with a felony. The consequences of felony check fraud in California can include:

  • One year in county jail
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • As much as $10,000 in fines

It’s important to understand that to be found guilty of check fraud in California, the prosecutor has to prove that you knew you were writing a fraudulent check. This is why most businesses don’t file charges for a small check. It’s easy to not realize you were $5 or $10 short when you wrote the check.

If you accidentally bounce a check, the best way to handle the situation is by apologizing and working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.


Crimes of Passion

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There is something about the term “crime of passion” that causes many of us to think about romance and true love. The reality is that crimes of passion are not about showering a loved one with flowers and chocolate. Victims of crimes of passion will tell you that they are actually terrifying, life-altering acts that have more to do with fear than love.

What are Crimes of Passion

The legal definition of a crime of passion is, “a defendant’s excuse for committing a crime due to sudden anger or heartbreak, to eliminate the element of premeditation.”

A suspect is never charged with a crime of passion. That phrase is primarily used by the media and defense attorneys. In most cases, people who have committed “crimes of passion” are actually charged with murder, assault, or sexual assault.

Why so Many Use the Crime of Passion Defense

There are two reasons so many people use the crime of passion excuse. The first is to eliminate the idea that the crime was premeditated. If the prosecutor is convinced that the crime was premeditated and they feel they can prove it in court, the charges, and resulting penalties, will be far more severe than if you are found guilty of acting in the heat of the moment.

For example, for the prosecution to pursue a case of premeditated murder, the lawyer has to prove the suspect didn’t just think about murdering the victim, but actively planned out the details. Failing to prove this could cost the prosecutor the case.

Another reason defense attorneys like to use the phrase “crime of passion” while defending a suspect is because it’s a great way to convince the jury to put themselves in the accused shoes. The lawyer is basically asking each jury member to put themselves in the suspect’s shoes and imagine how they would feel if they were in the same situation. In some situations this can sway the jury, causing them to find the defendant not guilty.

It’s worth noting that California has an interesting take on crimes of passion that result in murder. In California, the defense not only has to prove that the murder was a crime of passion, but they also have to prove that the defendant was experiencing emotional turmoil at the time. The way the law is written makes it difficult for an attorney to use the crime of passion defense in cases that involve revenge.


The Legal Ins and Outs of Internet Trolling

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds

The internet, particularly social media sites, provide people with an opportunity to share their opinions on a variety of topics. In many cases, this leads to a lively and thought-provoking debate. At other times, it brings out internet trolls.

What is Internet Trolling

An internet troll is someone who jumps into an online conversation and promptly starts making inflammatory, derogative, and infuriating comments. In most cases, the individual doesn’t want to contribute to the conversation, but simply wants to trigger an emotional response. Sometimes the troll focuses their attention on a particular subject matter. Other times, the troll focuses on a single individual or group. Today, internet trolling is considered malicious and a form of bullying.

Signs that a commenter is an internet troll include:

  • They make remarks that have nothing to do with the original topic
  • They’re unable to handle actual facts (they’ll either ignore them or cry fake news)
  • They have a belligerent tone and make condescending, dismissive remarks
  • They make the same comment, over and over again, on multiple posts

Internet trolling isn’t limited to a handful of people. A recent survey revealed that 28% of Americans have perpetrated an internet trolling incident.

How California Views Internet Trolling

From a legal standpoint, internet trolling is complicated. As a rule, behaving like a jerk and irritating people with online comments isn’t a crime. The problem lawmakers face is that on several occasions, internet trolls have crossed a line and become internet bullies. As soon as the line is crossed, the issue becomes a legal matter.

An internet troll will find themselves in hot legal water when they:

  • Start posting harmful material along with their comments.
  • They actively encourage others to join in the harassment of the original poster/group
  • They violate California’s cyberstalking laws
  • Instead of just making comments, they move on to sending harassing comments to the original poster via text messages, emails, or phone calls.

They start making criminal threats

Many internet trolls believe that the First Amendment allows them to say whatever they want. While it’s true that the First Amendment does grant everyone the right to free speech, it’s important to understand that there are limitations to free speech.

Several First Amendment cases have reached the U.S. Supreme Court where the legal groundwork was laid to allow individuals who make obscene and deliberately false statements to be prosecuted by the law. The same is true for comments that are designed to trigger a severely violent or emotional response. While cases that are directly connected to cyberbullying and internet trolling haven’t yet reached the U.S. Supreme Court, many feel it is only a matter of time before the justices hear a case that helps set a legal standard for cyberbullying and trolling.


Cults and the Law

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Every so often a community will start to whisper about the possibility of a cult forming in the neighborhood. Generally, as soon as the rumor of a cult starts, people start worrying about what drastic action the cult will take and how the community can stop them.

What are Cults

Many people mistakenly believe that cults are nothing more than a group of people who don’t adhere to accepted societal rules. That’s not what a cult is. There are specific requirements that must be met before a group is classified as a cult.

The literal definition of a cult is, “1) a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious. 2) a group that expresses great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work 3) a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion 4) a system of religious beliefs and ritual.

Why People Fear Cults

People fear cults. The main reason so many people fear cults is because they know some cults encourage dangerous behavior. In the case of The People’s Temple and Heaven’s Gate, cult members were encouraged to participate in group suicides. These are extreme examples. There are reports of other cults that didn’t believe in mass suicide, though they did encourage questionable behavior such as practicing risky medical procedures, demanding that members practice extreme and sometimes dangerous lifestyle changes.

Most people fear cults because they’re worried that the group’s leaders practice both strong-arm and brainwashing techniques on the members.

Cults and the Law

Surprisingly, there aren’t many laws that pertain to either the creation or the joining of cults. There is a simple reason for this. Most cults have a religious origin and stepping in to disband one without just cause would be a violation of religious freedom.

The only time legal action can be taken against a cult is when the authorities have clear proof that the leaders or members are involved in dangerous or illegal behavior. If the authorities have evidence that the alleged cult is doing something illegal, they can consider the group a criminal organization and explore taking legal action against the group.

The list of behaviors that have justified bringing charges against cult leaders include:

If a loved one has become involved in an organization that you believe is a cult, legally speaking there might not be much you can do to remove them from the situation. That doesn’t mean you should give up on them. Support your loved one. Keep a record of everything they tell you, and let the authorities know if you suspect that your loved one or the organization is involved in illegal activity.


Tips for Protecting Yourself From Fake News

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The term fake news has been used a lot over the past four years. The good news is that hearing the term so often has made people stop and think about how much we take news stories for granted. Today, more than ever, we have come to understand that even the most trusted news sources have an agenda and that they understand how to work an angle.

You’ll be happy to know that there are some things you can do to protect yourself from fake news.

Don’t Rely on a Single Source

The more versions of a news story you read/watch/listen to, the more similarities you’ll pick out. These little commonalities are the kernels of truth. Pay attention to them and you’ll eventually get to the real story.

Check the Sources

The best way to protect yourself from fake news is by paying careful attention to the sources provided. This doesn’t mean looking at which new anchor is presenting a story (though that’s also a good idea) but looking at how that new anchor got the story. Did it come from someone who was in the middle of a situation, or was it from a second, third, or fourth source?

Double Check Quotes

Many people mistakenly think that just because a news story includes quotes, that the story must be relevant. Taking quotes out of context or only sharing a portion of what the person said can completely alter the tone of a news story. If a quote feels off or seems manipulative, it’s a good idea to find the entire interview and read the quote for yourself. You’ll be surprised how often seeing the comments in their entirety completely changes the news story.

Do Your Own Research

Don’t take any news story at face value. Learning how to do your research is one of the best ways to protect yourself from fake news. Research doesn’t mean turning to your social media accounts. Most of what you see on social media isn’t news, but rather people’s responses to fake news. Try to find out the origins of the story, who was responsible for publishing it, and check to see which people are involved. The more time you dedicate to researching a news story, the greater the odds are that you’ll eventually find the truth.

The great thing about learning how to protect yourself from fake news is that it doesn’t take long before you start to recognize the early signs, such as click-bait headlines and strangely chopped interviews, of fake news.


Statutory Rape Laws and Charges

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Teenagers are full of two things. Hormones and emotions. The combination causes them to make questionable life choices, which includes engaging in sex. When parents learn that their teenage child has become sexually active they often find themselves worrying if their child can be charged with statutory rape.

Recent changes to California’s statutory rape laws have made the issue even more confusing than it is in some other states.

What is Statutory Rape?

Strictly speaking, statutory rape has nothing to do about sexual consent. In statutory rape cases, both parties are usually willing. These cases aren’t about the willingness of both partners but whether they’re able to cope with the emotional and physical ramifications that go hand in hand with a sexual relationship.

According to the law, statutory rape takes place when someone has sex with a minor, who is otherwise referred to as a person who hasn’t reached the age of consent.

Is it Possible for a Minor to be Charged with Statutory Rape?

The question of whether it’s possible for two minors to be accused of statutory rape doesn’t have a clear legal answer.

According to California Penal Code Section 261.5, statutory rape takes place whenever someone has sex with someone who hasn’t reached their eighteenth birthday. According to that, if a sixteen-year-old couple decides to have sex, both of them can be charged with statutory rape.

The problem is that for the charges to stick, the court has to determine which member of the couple is the victim and which is the aggressor, something that’s nearly impossible to do when both are minors. Due to the legal complexities of the situation, the charges are usually dropped and the court lets the parents decide how to handle the matter.

Penalties for Statutory Rape in California

Statutory rape charges in California are a serious matter. Statutory rape is one of the state’s many famous wobbler offenses. No two cases are handled the same way, which can make it difficult to guess what the final results will be. The most extreme cases can result in a sentence that includes 3 years in jail as well as a $10,000 fine.

Sometimes the court requires that the defendant register as a sex offender, but there are also situations where that hasn’t happened. It largely depends on the age of the two people involved in the case as well as the type of relationship they’re engaged in.

The best way to make sure you never have to unravel the complexities of statutory rape is by making sure your sexual partner is always over 18 years old.