Monthly Archives

July 2020

smartphones-in-californias-polling-places

Smartphones in California’s Polling Places

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

It’s impossible to believe that humans were once able to go through life without a smartphone in our hand. Today, we rely on our smartphones for everything. We use it to update our social media accounts, to take pictures, to get directions, and to find the cheapest place to find gas. On the rare occasions when we have to leave our smartphone behind, it feels like we’ve lost an arm. Most of us feel the loss of the smartphone so keenly that it’s nearly impossible to concentrate on anything else until we’re finally reunited with our smartphone.

One of the places that smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices are prohibited are in polling places. That law changed when lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 1707. The bill was approved by the Governor and filed with California’s Secretary of State on October 8, 2019.

Keep in mind that while you’re allowed to bring your smartphone into the polling place, the state has placed restrictions on how the phone is used. While you’re in the polling place, you’re not allowed to use your smartphone to:

  • Take videos or pictures of someone while they’re in the polling place and threaten to use the images against them
  • You can’t violate Sections 4221, 14224, 14291, 18370, 18502, 18540, 18541 of the bill

Having your smartphone accompany you at the polling place is just one of a handful of interesting new laws that have recently passed in California. Other interesting changes include:

  • California state parks are legally required to maintain up-to-date information about where and how dogs can use the parks
  • Getting caught smoking while enjoying one of California’s state beaches will result in a $25 fine
    You aren’t allowed to hold someone’s hairstyle against them
  • A five-year statute of limitations has been placed on domestic violence cases
  • Severe restrictions have been placed on products that used animal testing during any stage of their development
  • Points will now be added to the driving record of anyone caught using a handheld device while driving.
  • The definition of what beer is was extended in 2020

As with all things, if people aren’t responsible when they bring their smartphones into California’s polling places, lawmakers could decide to reverse their decision and once again ban the smartphones.

The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen is only using your smartphone to entertain yourself while you’re waiting in line. Don’t use the camera function at all while you’re at the polling place. Make sure you keep it tucked into your purse or pocket the entire time you’re casting your vote.

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California’s Three Strikes

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

California was once famous for its three strikes and your out brand of criminal justice.

How the Three Strikes Law Worked

The three-strikes law went into effect in 1994. The law was originally proposed in direct response to the horrific murders of Polly Klass and Kimber Reynolds.

The way the Three Strikes law works is if someone already had a felony conviction on their record when they were found guilty of a second felony, the amount of time they served in prison for the second felony was instantly doubled. If the same felon found themselves in trouble for a felony a third time, they were automatically sentenced to 25 years to a life in prison term. It didn’t matter if they were convicted to two (or three) different types of felonies, the extended sentence stuck.

The purpose the three-strike law served was to get dangerous felons off the streets for a long stretch of time.

The Three Strikes law was written in such a way that:

  • Multiple sentences can’t be run concurrently, they have to be handled as consecutive sentences
  • Suspensions and probation isn’t allowed
  • While a felon is allowed to earn credits that shorten the amount of time they spend in prison, they can only use the credits to reduce the sentence by 1/5.
  • Changes to the Three Strikes Law

Nothing stays the same. As the years have passed, tweaks have been made to California’s Three Strikes law. One such change took place on November 6, 2012, when the voting public approved Proposition 36.

One of the biggest changes brought about by Proposition 36 was that the third strike could only be enacted if the felony was considered serious or violent. Proposition 36 was written in such a way that felons were serving their third strike sentence but hadn’t been convicted of a serious or violent felony was allowed to appeal to the court for a reduced sentence.

Within a few months of voters passing Proposition 36, approximately 1,000 prisoners were released from California’s state prisons. Experts estimate that Proposition 36 has helped the state save over $1 billion during the course of 10 years.

Serious and violent felony offenses in California include:

  • Violent sexual assault including rape
  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Assault with the intent to commit robbery
  • Attempted murder

The Downside of the Three Strike Law

Some people aren’t happy about the three-strikes law. They’re quick to point out that extending sentences makes it difficult for the children of felons. Another issue is that by the time a second strike felon is released, the community they lived in before their arrest is so different it’s difficult for the felon to fit in, which increases the likelihood of them returning to a life of crime.

Does the Three Strike Law Work?

While there have always been people who claim that the Three Strikes law is too harsh and that it doesn’t work, the numbers seem to indicate otherwise.

According to the state, since implementing the Three Strikes law:

  • There was a 10.9% decrease in rape convictions
  • There was a 4% decrease in homicide convictions
  • There was a 1% decrease in assault convictions
  • There was a 1% decrease in robbery convictions

If you’re concerned about the kind of impact the Three Strike law would have on you, keep in mind that as long as you don’t commit any serious or violent felonies, you won’t have anything to worry about.

ponzi-schemes-and-california-law

Ponzi Schemes and California Law

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

Ponzi schemes aren’t legal in California. The state considers these financial cons a type of financial fraud. California’s judicial system is currently set up in such a way that it helps protect whistleblowers and consumers from getting caught up in the legal drama that always surrounds Ponzi schemes.

Understanding the Difference Between Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Schemes

Many people mistakenly assume that Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are the same things. While there are quite a few similarities, there are also a few key differences.

Ponzi schemes are usually handled by a single person. That individual convinces investors to take part in something, usually a promised investment, that never comes to fruition. Investors are convinced that they can’t possibly lose money and will make a huge return on their investment. It usually takes a great deal of time for the investors to realize that the person who is “managing their portfolio” is actually running a con and is keeping their money.

The Bernard Madoff debacle is a perfect example of a Ponzi scheme. Madoff created the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and was able to convince several people he was the real deal. His pitch was so good, he amassed close to 5,000 investors. It’s believed that his take was close to $65 billion.

A pyramid scheme is more elaborate and involves more people, some of which don’t realize that they’re committing a crime. With a pyramid scheme, a single person not only recruits investors but also recruits people who gather even more investors. The original person is the very top of the pyramid in this particular scheme. Most pyramid schemes involve a type of product that does actually exist.

Business in Motion is an example of an illegal pyramid scheme. The program revolved around the sale of economical vacation plans. Each person who bought into the program invested $3,200. If the person was able to sell additional vacation packages to friends and family, they’d earn a $5,000 commission.

Approximately 2,000 people bought into the pyramid scheme. In 2008, they launched a class-action lawsuit against the program’s creator. A judge agreed that the program was a pyramid scheme and awarded the investors a $6.5 million ruling.

The Legal Ramifications of Running a Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi schemes are prohibited in California. The laws that address Ponzi schemes are found in the California Penal Code Section (PC) 319. The creators of Ponzi schemes in California can be charged with:

Charles Ponzi is considered the father of the Ponzi scheme. Ponzi was eventually convicted of mail fraud and spent 14 years in prison.

pepper-spray-California-laws-and-ownership-regulations

Pepper Spray: California’s Laws and Ownership Regulations

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

If you consider pepper spray the perfect self-defense tool, you’re not alone. The world is full of people who feel safer when they have a small container of pepper spray in their pockets. The spray is affordable, easy to find, and legal. Or is it?

Who Can and Can’t Use Pepper Spray in California?

Most people don’t realize that California prohibits several people from using pepper spray. The people who aren’t allowed to purchase or use pepper spray includes:

  • Anyone who has been convicted of either a felony or any type of assault case
  • Anyone who has a known drug abuse problem
  • Minors
  • Sixteen-year-olds are the one exception to the “minors can’t use pepper spray” rule. A sixteen is allowed to both purchase and carry pepper spray but only when they’re in the presence of a legal guardian.

California’s Rules Regarding the Use of Pepper Spray

California lawmakers didn’t want a bunch of people walking around who were randomly spraying people with pepper spray. To keep things under control they took their time and carefully drew up a law that restricted how and when you can use pepper spray.

  • You’re not allowed to spray pepper spray directly into every person who made a pass at you. The only time you’re allowed to legally use the pepper spray is when you feel a need to defend yourself. You’re not even allowed to pull it out and hold it up in a silent warning to an attacker that they need to back off. If you get it out, you must prove that you needed to save yourself.
  • It is illegal to use your pepper spray canister as a projectile.
  • The pepper spray canister can not contain more than 2.5 ounces of the spray.

The Consequences of Breaking California’s Pepper Spray Law

If you’re unlucky enough to get caught breaking California’s pepper spray law, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. If found guilty, possible sentences include

  • A $1,000 fine
  • Incarceration for 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years
  • California won’t allow you to claim that the canister was empty or jammed as an excuse for breaking the pepper spray laws.

If you’re legally allowed to carry pepper spray in California, go ahead and do so, just be very careful that you keep the canister tucked into your purse or pocket. Only bring it out if you are genuinely convinced you need to defend yourself.

what-is-housing-discrimination

What is Housing Discrimination

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

It is incredibly difficult to find affordable housing in California. The average price of a home in California is $600,000 which is double the national average.

There are several reasons for the housing crisis, including:

  • The number of homes/apartment buildings that have been destroyed by wildfires in recent years
  • High construction costs
  • A discrepancy between the average wage and the average cost of a home
  • Not enough construction companies/workers
  • Lack of housing subsidies

The situation is so bad that some California residents who make middle wage or lower report that they have spent 3-5 years trying to find an apartment.

The Role Housing Discrimination Plays in California

In an attempt to keep a roof over as many heads as possible, California lawmakers have passed housing discrimination laws. These laws are very similar to many workplace discrimination laws. The housing discrimination laws prevent landlords and real estate companies from using someone’s sex, sexual preference, race, religion, marital status, or disability when determining who should and shouldn’t be allowed to live in a particular property.

The housing discrimination laws specifically prevent landlords/real estate agents from:

  • Openly using personal discrimination as a reason for refusing to lease, sell, or rent to a person
  • Being so biased that they’re unwilling to negotiate with an interested party
  • Learning a person’s gender/age/race and suddenly deciding that a unit is no longer available
  • Using personal bias as a reason to provide inferior living conditions
  • Behaving in a harassing manner

Do the Housing Discrimination Laws Work

It’s difficult to determine just how effective California’s housing discrimination laws are. While they likely prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant because of race, there’s no way to tell if a prejudice against a tenant’s race/sex/marital status/gender doesn’t cause the landlord to seek out a reason to evict the person or to reject someone else’s application.

How to Handle Housing Discrimination

If you feel that you have been the victim of housing discrimination, it’s in your best interest to take a proactive stance. The first thing you need to do is record everything that happened to you, particularly the episodes/conversations that made you feel like you were being discriminated against.

Once you have collected your evidence, approach a knowledgeable lawyer, and ask for their help. Not only will they determine whether you have a housing discrimination case, but they’ll also offer advice about how you should proceed.

unwritten-camping-rules-to-remember

Unwritten Camping Rules to Remember

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

Camping is wonderful. Camping provides you with the means to connect to the earth and nature while also bonding with family and friends. The best thing about camping is all the great memories you collect during each camping trip.

The next time you’re about to hit the woods for an epic camping trip, keep these unwritten camping rules in mind.

Leave Your Site Better than you Found It

It doesn’t matter if you’re a slob at home when you’re camping, you need to turn into a neat freak. Commit yourself to keeping each place you pitch your camp cleaner than when you found it. Not only does this ensure that the next set of campers who come along will also have a nice place to set up camp, but it also proves that you are environmentally aware.

Keeping the campsites cleaner than how you found it includes cleaning up after your pets.

Don’t Leave the Fire Burning

California has had more than its fair share of fires. The last thing you want is to be the cause of the next wildfire. Making sure you douse the fire whenever you’re not sitting in front of is important. It’s a good idea to throw some water over the fire pit so that there’s no risk of a stray spark setting off a big blaze.

When you’re camping, take a little while to study your campsite. If the area is full of dry leaves, underbrush, and grass, hold off on starting a fire. If a spark jumps out of your fire pit and sets some of the dry matter on fire, the entire campsite will go up in flames before you have time to spring into action.

The Camp Bathroom isn’t your Kitchen

A surprising number of people who use campgrounds treat the campground’s bathroom like it’s their kitchen. They actually use the sink to wash their dishes. If you’ve never done this, great! If you have, make sure you don’t do it again. Not only is the practice a health hazard, but it can also play havoc on the campgrounds plumbing system and it’s rude to other guests.

Be Respectful While Camping

You’re on a great camping experience and want to have a good time, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your good manners at home. If you’re using a campground, you need to be respectful. That includes things like:

  • Not walking across someone else’s campsite
  • Staying calm and quiet during the night
  • Using low lights
  • Keeping your pets and your kids under control

Following these simple unwritten rules of camping will increase the amount of enjoyment you get on your next camping adventure.

will-the-police-cite-me-for-not-wearing-a-mask-when-shopping

Will the Police Cite me for Not Wearing a Mask When Shopping?

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

Covid-19 has brought about many changes. One of the newest additions to our lives is the wearing of face masks while in public.

Why are Face Masks Required in California

The hope is that wearing masks will slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The idea is that the masks keep the droplets contained to a single person. California lawmakers are urging residents to wear a mask whenever they’re shopping.

The problem is that there is conflicting information regarding the effectiveness of face masks. The result of the conflict is that while some people happily don a mask each time they go out, others refuse to wear them.

The debate over wearing facemasks has led many people to wonder if the police will issue citations to those who don’t wear a mask while shopping.

When are Face Masks Required

According to the State of California, masks should be worn whenever:

  • You’re in an indoor public area
  • You’re obtaining medical services, such as dental appointments and donating blood
  • You’re using some form of public transportation, in a taxi, or utilizing a rideshare program
  • When you’re in an area that is heavily used by multiple people
  • Interacting directly with people

Many California cities and counties have created additional laws that pertain to face masks.

Will the Police Cite you for Not Wearing a Mask While Shopping

People who are good about wearing a mask whenever they’re out and about don’t worry about police citations while they’re shopping. Those who don’t can’t stop wondering if they can issue a ticket for failing to cover the face.
There were some counties that took a much firmer stance. Not only did they tell their local officers that they should issue citations to anyone who wasn’t wearing a mask, but they also attached a fine to the citation.

Riverside County was one such place that decided that failing to wear a mask while shopping could result in a $1,000 fine.

The sheer number of people who were neglecting to wear a mask while shopping combined with reports of people getting verbally attacked when they asked someone to put a mask on has resulted in Governor Gavin Newsom has tightened up on the issue of masks.

He recently issued this statement. “Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease. California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing.”-Los Angeles Times

Newson’s recent changes. At this point, it’s likely that the police won’t hand out many citations to those who fail to wear a mask while shopping, they feel that their services are needed elsewhere. That could change if the daily number of new COVID-19 cases starts to rapidly increase.

californias-regulations-regarding-car-seats

California’s Regulations Regarding Car Seats

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

All parents know that infants should be contained in a car seat, however not all parents know what California’s laws are regarding car seats.

Infants and Car Seats

Any child that is two or under must be confined to a rear-facing car seat while they are in a vehicle. Failing to have your child properly secured in a car seat will result in a $500 fine and a point getting added to your driving record. Don’t assume that just because your child has passed their second birthday that it’s time to change their car seat. The law also states that the child needs to be at least 40 inches tall and or weigh at least 40 pounds before they graduate to a different type of car seat.

Car Seat for Children who are Between the Ages of 2 and 8

If your child has already celebrated their second birthday and also meets the height and weight requirements, you’re allowed to replace their rear-facing car seat for a front-facing model. California lawmakers won’t prevent you from making this transition, but they do want you to understand that the rear-facing car seats are considered 500% safer than the front-facing models.

The car seat should always be secured in the back seat unless there is a reason the back seat is considered unsafe or isn’t designed in a way that allows the car seat to be safely installed in space.

Transitioning from Car Seat to Booster Seat

There is no set age when your child can officially move out of their car seat and into a booster seat. California’s child car seat laws state that the transition can happen once your child has reached a height or weight that exceeds the limits of your front-facing car seat. In most cases, the child will be about 65 pounds. There are no requirements about the type of booster seat your child uses, though it does have to be a seat that can be safely installed in the car.

Your child is allowed to move out of the booster seat when they turn 8 or when they reach a height of 4’9”.

Make Sure the Car Seat is Properly Installed

An improperly installed car seat is nearly as dangerous as driving around without your child in a car seat. Don’t assume that you know what you’re doing. Whenever you get a new car seat or a new car, it’s in your best interest to take the entire setup to your nearest police station. One of the officers will happily examine the car seat and make sure it’s properly installed.

Rather than moving the car seat from one car to another, you should keep a car seat in each vehicle. Not taking the seat in and out of different vehicles not only extends the life of the car seat but also reduces the risk of it not getting installed properly.

You owe it to your child to stay abreast of the latest California laws pertaining to car seats.

laws-that-minors-can-break-but-adults-cannot

Laws That Minors Can Break but Adults Cannot

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

Everyone knows what crimes are and what would happen if they were to commit one. This is just something that people learn over time. However, there is something about laws and crimes that people know, without ever really considering. What a lot of adults may not consider, is that there are somethings they can do without fear of breaking a law, while a minor would face legal trouble for doing the same.

What Are Status Offenses?

According to the law, there are plenty of things out there that adults can do, but minors cannot. This leads to an interesting section of the law where things are considered illegal, but only for minors. This means these acts can’t be crimes, because adults can do them pretty much any time they want. This is why the term status offense exists.

A status offense is any activity that a minor could get in trouble for doing simply because of their age at the time of the act. It is estimated that 20% of all juvenile arrests are due to status offenses. Some of the most common status offenses that a minor can be charged with include:
Being uncontrollable by parents or guardians.

  • Consuming alcohol
  • Consuming marijuana
  • Consuming tobacco
  • Possessing alcohol
  • Possessing marijuana
  • Possessing tobacco
  • Running away
  • Skipping school
  • Violating curfew

It is easy to see how these kinds of things affect minors, but aren’t a big deal for adults. Most adults don’t have to worry about skipping school or following their parents’ rules anymore

Why Status Offenses Are a Big Deal

When people began to look closer at status offenses, they noticed the alarming trend that minors who committed status offenses were more likely to commit more delinquent acts in the future. This has led to many states, including California, to adopt programs and strategies aimed at achieving the following:

  • Preserving families.
  • Ensuring public safety.
  • Preventing young people from becoming delinquents.

This is one of the many reasons why, when minors get into trouble they receive lighter penalties. The goal of punishing a minor after committing a crime is to teach them that their behavior was wrong and that they don’t want to commit that type of behavior again.

Penalties for Status Offenses

The penalties that a minor will face for a status defense can vary greatly depending on the minor’s record and the status offense they are being charged with. Some of the common penalties that a minor will face for a status offense include:

  • Being required to attend an educational program.
  • Being required to attend counseling.
  • Having their driver’s license suspended.
  • Paying a fine.
  • Paying restitution for any damages.
  • Removing the minor from the care of the minor’s parent or guardian.

This is just a small sample of what a minor can face when charged with a status offense, and some of these consequences are more common than others.

Minors Need Different Rules

It’s a bit of an odd thought to realize that minors can get into trouble for doing things that some adults do daily without having to worry about breaking a law. However, many of these status offenses make sense. Kids should be in school, furthering their education so that they have a better chance once they reach adulthood. It wouldn’t make sense for many of these things to be made into crimes for everyone, which is why they are status offenses that only apply to minors.

laws-to-know-before-you-fly-your-drone

Laws to Know Before You Fly Your Drone

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

As the weather warms up and gets nicer, and people are beginning to venture outside once again, they are looking for something to do. One thing that is a lot of fun, and doesn’t create or need a crowd of people is flying a drone.

Drones give people a bird’s eye view of the area and it can be quite exhilarating to see. Whether it is someplace new, or someplace a person has lived all their life, seeing things from the air is very different from seeing things from the ground.

The thing is, a person needs to be careful when flying a drone, or else they could end up in trouble with the law. There are several laws that a drone pilot has to follow here in California, and the nation as a whole, to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Federal Drone Laws

For starters, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all drones over 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, be registered. All registered drones will be given an identification number that must be displayed on the drone at all times. This number will be valid for 3 years and enables the drone to be identified and linked back to the registered owner.

A person must be 13-years-old or older to register a drone in their name.

A very important law for drones applies to airports. Drones cannot be flown within a 5-mile radius of any airport. This is for safety reasons, to help prevent any aircraft from colliding with a drone. If a person wants to fly a drone within 5 miles from an airport, they need to contact air traffic control or airport management to get permission. When a person does this, they will be asked a couple of questions, such as how long they plan on flying and where they plan on flying.

If a person is flying their drone for work, then they need a special license to do so.

All drones must be flown within the line of sight of the operator.

California Drone Laws

California has some laws specifically related to drones. For starters, there is Civil Code (CC) 43.101. This law makes it so first responders are not held liable for any damages done to a drone that was interfering with their response to an emergency. An example of interference would be flying a drone near a wildfire, as doing so interferes with firefighting officials‘ abilities to combat the blaze from above.

Since the drone is interfering with emergency operations, the pilot could face charges under Penal Code (PC) 402 sightseeing at an emergency situation. This is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

Since most drones these days have video cameras on them, a person also needs to be aware of privacy laws here in California and how they have been updated to include drone footage. Under CC 1708.8, a person is liable for any invasion of privacy that might occur from entering airspace without permission and capturing any footage or audio. In other words, if a drone pilot flies their drone over someone else’s backyard or any other place where a person would reasonably expect privacy and records someone, then they have broken this law

Don’t Break the Law

This is just a small sample of the laws that affect drones and their pilots. A pilot needs to be aware of these laws, and any county or city ordinances that may exist wherever they are choosing to fly their drone this summer. If a pilot fails to take the proper precautions, then they could end up doing something illegal, which could get them into trouble with the law. No drone pilot wants that, they just want to have some fun.