Monthly Archives

December 2020


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

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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

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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.

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How To React To Cyberbully

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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.