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September 2021

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The Difference Between a State and Federal Warrant

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Most of us know that the police can’t simply walk into our homes and start searching it unless you’ve given them permission to do so, or if they’ve gone through the correct legal channels and acquired a warrant.

The same is true when it comes to arrests. While there are some exceptions, such as drunk driving, you usually can’t be arrested unless the police have an actual arrest warrant.

What you might not know is that there are both state/local arrest warrants and federal arrest warrants.

The biggest difference between a federal and state/local warrant is the law enforcement agency that is involved in your case.

If a federal warrant has been issued for your arrest, it means that you’re a suspect in a federal crime. To obtain a federal warrant, the agency working on the case must present a federal judge with sufficient evidence that you potentially committed the crime and that the crime is indeed a federal matter.

In some situations, trying to determine if a case is federal or state can be complicated. When this happens, a joint task force that consists of both federal agents and state officers is formed. The joint task force not only allows the different agencies to pool talent and resources but also makes it easier to obtain warrants.

How you should behave if there is a warrant for your arrest depends on how you learn about this information.

If you have heard (or suspect) that an arrest warrant has been issued, but the police haven’t actually knocked on your door, don’t even think about trying to run. Bolting will only make the situation worse.

The first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Tell them what you know and ask for their advice. They will likely encourage you to turn yourself in. By contacting a lawyer before you’re formally arrested, you can keep them by your side throughout the entire process and make sure that none of your civil rights are violated.

Since the police aren’t currently hauling you to the police station, take a little time to get your personal affairs in order. This is a good time to contact a bail bonds agency and alert them that you’ll likely need a bail bond. If you have children or pets, take steps to make sure they’re properly cared for if you have to remain in jail for a few days. Lock up your home, and make your way to the police station.

If the police show up at your home with an arrest warrant, read the warrant and make sure all the information is accurate. If the information is accurate, calmly and quietly go with the officers. Don’t even think about trying to resist the arrest. Don’t answer any questions, take a plea deal, or discuss the case with anyone until your lawyer has arrived.

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Making Social Media Threats in California

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

Social media has had a strange impact on many people. There is a sense of anonymity and protection associated with the internet that makes us feel comfortable saying things via social media that we would never dream of saying in a real-world situation. The good news is that most of us understand that there are certain things we simply shouldn’t say or do, not even online, and we’re able to get through the day without overstepping any boundaries.

The bad news is that there are some people, even some exceptionally mild-mannered individuals who seem to develop an entirely new personality while they’re online. They don’t just become pushy and/or overbearing as they engage in online battles, but they will actually post some extremely vile threats on social media or use social media to bully other people.

In some cases, the situation has gotten out of control.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not okay to use any social media sites to post threats or to become dangerously aggressive. The issue of social media violence has gotten so bad that lawmakers and police officers aren’t just taking notice, they’re taking action.

In California, making social media threats can quickly escalate into cyberbullying. When it does, you could find yourself facing serious charges.

The issue of cyberbullying is dealt with in the California Penal Code 653.2 PC. When you read through the code, you’ll quickly come to realize that you don’t have to actually intend to go through with the threat. The only thing the court system is concerned with is if your victim thinks you intend to mean them harm. If the threat is designed to trigger fear, you could face criminal charges.

At this point, cyberbullying is a misdemeanor, though it’s possible a day could come when it turns into a wobbler offense. It’s also possible that law enforcement will find additional charges they can add to the cyberbullying accusation. If you’re convicted of using social media sites for cyberbullying the maximum sentence is up to a year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine. It’s likely you’ll also be asked to attend anger management classes and maybe have to do some community service.

The next time you’re poised on the brink of threatening a social media associate, remember how much trouble you could get into, and curb the impulse.

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California’s Search and Seizure Laws

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

California lawmakers believe that the common citizen should be as protected from the police as possible. The creation of search and seizure laws is one of the steps lawmakers have taken to make sure that your Fourth Amendment rights are protected. Not only are the search and seizure laws designed to prevent the police from randomly searching an individual’s property, but they also make it impossible for any evidence obtained via an illegal search to be used in a criminal trial.

It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with county police officers, California state troopers, or FBI agents, you’re still protected by California’s search and seizure laws. Because of these laws, you do not have to allow members of law enforcement to search your property unless they have a valid warrant that’s signed by a judge or if the search marks one of the few exceptions to the rules.

When Law Enforcement Doesn’t Need a Warrant

Read More

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Hit and Run Incidents in California

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

The best way to think about hit and run incidents in California is that they are illegal. Fleeing the scene of an accident only makes the situation worse.

A hit-and-run accident is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the term used to describe someone who hits something (car, dog, human, mailbox, etc.), and rather than waiting and making sure the accident is properly reported, they flee the scene. While it is sometimes plausible that they didn’t know about the accident in most cases, the fleeing driver knows exactly what they are doing.

California lawmakers have zero patience for hit and run drivers and have passed strict laws that lay out exactly what will happen to any driver who causes an accident and then flees.

Vehicle Code 20002 VC covers the issue of misdemeanor hit and run in California. Vehicle Code 20001 VC is all about felony hit-and-run accidents. When you read through the two-vehicle codes you’ll notice that only one thing distinguishes one from the other, and that thing is injuries. Misdemeanor hit and run accidents charges are brought against drivers that cause an accident that only involves property damage, but if someone was hurt or killed as a result of the incident, you’ll be charged with felony hit and run. Since you fled the scene, you won’t even know how serious the charges are until you’re either caught or somehow able to gain access to the incident report.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor hit and run in California, your sentence can include spending six months in jail, being issued a fine of $1,000, and having to make restitution. You will also have 2 points added to your driving record plus face any tickets/charges/fines are connected to whatever dangerous driving habit is triggered the accident.

If you’re convicted of a felony hit and run in California, the VC states that:

    “If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.”

Getting into an accident is always scary. It’s easy to understand how badly you want to flee and pretend the entire situation didn’t happen, but it’s in your best interest to stay put.

What you have to remember is that in this day and age, it’s unlikely that you’ll get away with the hit-and-run accident. Not only have witnesses gotten extremely good at describing vehicles and memorizing license plate numbers, considering how many smartphone cameras, dashboard cameras, and traffic cameras there are, it’s likely that the police will have video footage of the incident and be able to learn your identity before you reach your home.

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California’s Famous Three Strikes Law

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

California’s famous three strikes law was created in 1994 and received voter approval. The murder case of Polly Klaas and Kimber Reynolds was the catalyst for implementing the three-strikes law.

Kimber Reynold’s life was brutally ended in 1992 during an attempted mugging. One of the muggers pulled a gun, placed it against Kimber’s ear, and pulled the trigger before fleeing the scene. Kimber later passed away in the hospital.

A man by the name of Douglas Walker was arrested for his involvement in Kimber’s murder. Walker was able to avoid a life in prison sentence by striking a plea deal. It was quickly revealed that Walker had a history of committing violent felonies. Walker’s violent history prompted Kimber’s dad to start persuing and lobbying for the three-strike law.

In 1994, Polly Klaas was having a great time with friends at a slumber party when she was kidnapped. For two months, the police searched for answers. Polly’s body was eventually found in a shallow grave. She’d been strangled.

Richard Allen Davis was arrested and charged with both the kidnapping and the murder of Klaas. During his trial, it became obvious that Davis also had an extensive history of crime that included assault, attempted sexual assault and kidnapping, abduction, and armed robbery.

Kimber Reynold’s father includes Davis in his lobbying attempt for the three-strikes law. He quickly pointed out that had there been a three-strikes law in effect before the early 1990s, both Kimber and Polly would be alive.

When California’s residents voted on the three-strike law, they were told that if the law passed, it would keep murders, rapists, and others who had a history of violent felonies behind bars. While this has happened, it also turns out that many of the people who have had sentences impacted by the three-strike law aren’t guilty of violent crimes and are actually being forced to serve 25 years in prison for relatively minor offenses.

A common misconception people had with the three-strike law when it was originally enacted is that the person impacted by the law has been convicted of the same crime on three separate occasions but that’s not the case. In many situations, the individual has been convicted of three different crimes. An example of this would be someone who has a felony drug conviction, a felony grand theft conviction, and a felony bribery conviction.

In 2012 California residents decided that the three-strikes law had gone too far and they enacted the Three Strikes Reform Act (also called Proposition 36) which tweaked the original three-strikes act so that nonviolent felons didn’t have to spend the better part of their natural life behind bars.

When the Three-Strikes Reform Act was passed, more than 1,000 prisoners were released. The best news is that of these 1,000 freshly released prisoners, only two percent were later charged with a new felony crime.

The way that the three-strikes rule currently works is that anyone who is convicted for a grand total of three violent felonies sentence will be automatically extended. The extension is anywhere from 25 additional years to life in prison. It’s important to understand that the 25 years is added to the original sentence.

While most people are familiar with the three-strike rule, few realize that there is also a two-strike rule which automatically doubles the sentence of anyone who is convicted of a violent felony crime a second time.

The list of convictions impacted by the three strike law include:

  • Arson
  • Carjacking
  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter
  • Extortion
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping

There have been some cases of a person managing to avoid the three-strike law after their lawyer argued that one of the previous convictions didn’t actually count as a strike.

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Pickpocketing in California

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

When you think about it, you don’t often hear about pickpocketers these days. It’s not because pickpocketing is no longer a problem, but because crimes involving pickpocketers are either given different names and because they seldom generate any media attention.

According to the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, pickpocketing is still a common occurrence. They reported that on Muni in San Francisco, the number of reported pickpocketing incidents increased by 8 percent in 2018.

Most pickpocketing incidents in California fall into the category of petty theft, which means that the thief’s adventures involved an amount that was less than $400. It’s actually in a pickpocket’s best interest to specifically target people who have less than $400 on them because if the thief is caught and eventually convicted the maximum sentence they ace is six months in a local jail and a fine that won’t exceed $1,000.

Depending on the pickpocket’s criminal history and the exact details surrounding the pickpocketing event, the judge could decide that a sentence of misdemeanor probation is sufficient.

On the other hand, if the pickpocket manages to lift more than $400 from a pocket and is eventually convicted of grand theft, the potential sentence is a maximum of three years in a state prison.

It is worth noting that if a pickpocket accidentally removes a gun rather than a wallet from its target’s pocket, it could be in more serious trouble than they anticipated. The involvement of the gun changes things. It doesn’t matter if the pickpocket knew about the gun or not, the fact that they attempted to steal it automatically means they will face a charge of grand theft in California.

Other factors that can quickly change things for a pickpocket is if they are armed when they picked a pocket if they got into a physical argument during the incident and if they made any verbal threats.

If a gun or knife was on the pickpocket’s person during the incident, the pickpocket will likely be charged with armed robbery. If blows/kicks/bites/etc were exchanged during the incident, assault charges will likely be filed against the pickpocket. If verbal threats were used during the incident, the pickpocket could face intimidation charges.

The best way to avoid pickpocketing charges and accusations is to keep to yourself whenever you find yourself in a crowded situation.

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Obstruction of Justice Laws in California

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A surprising number of people think that obstruction of justice is something the writers of procedural shows made up in order to correct plot holes. While it’s true, obstruction of justice is an overused plot device, it is also a real thing. If you live in California, there are a few things you should know about the state’s obstruction of justice laws.

One of the interesting things about obstruction of justice in California is that the state doesn’t have a specific obstruction of justice crime. Instead, it’s a blanket term that’s used to describe a variety of offenses that are commonly referred to as California’s obstruction of justice laws.

Official offenses that are considered forms of obstruction of justice include:

  • Destruction of evidence
  • Withholding evidence
  • Resisting arrest
  • Preparing false evidence
  • Providing a false statement
  • Hiding a witness/suspect
  • Interfering with an arrest
  • Lying to police officers
  • Failing to report a crime
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Intimidating/threatening a witness

The exact consequences of breaking one of California’s obstruction of justice laws varies from case to case. One of the reasons so many different “crimes” fall under the label of obstruction of justice is so that prosecutors have the option of choosing the one that best matches the exact scenario where justice was obstructed.

For example, if you’re convicted of preparing false evidence, your sentence could include 16 months to three years in prison plus as much as $10,000 in fines. In this particular case, you’ll also likely be convicted of felony forgery.

On the other hand, if you are convicted of destroying evidence, you’ll only be convicted of a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for destroying evidence is six months in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

If you interfere with an arrest which is also called obstructing a police officer, your sentence could be convicted of a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is a year in a county jail and up o a $1,000 fine.

If you’re charged with one of California’s obstruction of justice laws, don’t automatically confess. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution and making their case often isn’t as easy as they make it sound in the interrogation room. Not only do they have to prove that you did something that made it difficult for the prosecution to make a case or for the police to investigate the crime, but the prosecution also has to prove that at the time of your actions, you knew that you were doing something that obstructed the natural course of justice.

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Things You Should Know About Receiving Stolen Property in California

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Don’t assume that just because you didn’t actively participate in a burglary that the items taken during the burglary won’t get you into trouble. They likely will.

It doesn’t really matter if you hold stolen items in your garage while your friend finds a fence, if you’re gifted a stolen television, or if you purchase stolen goods, if those items are found in your possession, you could find yourself facing a charge of receiving stolen property in California.

The topic of receiving stolen property in California is dealt with in PC 496. It states that:

    “Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”

That sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? It also sounds like you could be charged with receiving stolen property in California even if you knew nothing about the crime or the history of the items you’re purchasing or accepting as a gift.

This is one of those situations where reading the law doesn’t really provide you with the full picture. Yes, if you purchase items that were involved in a robbery, you could be charged with receiving stolen goods in California, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted.

To secure a conviction the prosecutor has to prove two things. The first two are usually relatively easy for them to prove. They have to show that:

  • The items involved in your case really were stolen
  • That you received the stolen items in some manner

The third thing is more challenging. The final thing the prosecutor has to prove to convict you is that you knew the items were stolen and that you still accepted them.
If you genuinely didn’t know that you were accepting stolen property and that you had no reason to suspect that the items had a dark past, you should be okay.

If you did know the property was stolen, the repercussions will be serious. If you’re convicted of misdemeanor receipt of stolen property in California, the maximum sentence is a year in a county jail, a $1,000 fine, misdemeanor probation. The only way you’ll be charged with misdemeanor receipt of stolen property in California is if the property in question is less than $950. If it exceeds that amount, you’ll face felony charges. The sentence for felony receipt of stolen goods could include as long as three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, felony probation.

The best way to make sure you never face receiving stolen property in California charges is by always getting a detailed history on any item you purchase from places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay.

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California Ear Bud Laws

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

Earbuds are awesome. They provide you with a way to tune out all the noise connected to the world and lose yourself in music, white noise, audiobooks, and podcasts. The earbuds fit snugly into your ear so that you don’t have to worry about anyone being disturbed by what you’re listening to.

What you might not know is that California has earbud laws that could impact you.

Cars and Earbuds

The first is you aren’t allowed to drive with earbuds in your ears. Not even if you’re using them to use your cell phone. The reason driving with earbuds in both of your ears is strictly prohibited in California is because lawmakers believe that the noise-canceling features of earbuds make it difficult to identify and react to outside stimuli that could prevent you from getting into an accident. It’s also possible that having the sound pumped directly into your ears, rather than coming from your radio speakers serves as a distraction.

There is some wiggle room. The law reads that you can’t restrict both ears, but doesn’t say anything about having an earbud in a single ear.

It’s worth noting that even if you don’t have anything pumping through the earbuds, you still can’t drive with two earbuds.

If you are caught driving while wearing earbuds, the experience will cost you. The traffic violation will cost $160 plus court costs, plus any other violations the traffic officer is able to cite you with.

California Bikes and Earbuds

Don’t assume that just because you’re on a bike, you can get away with wearing earbuds. The same law that applies to drivers also applies to bikers. You can have an earbud in one ear, but not in both. If you’re caught with both ears covered, you will be ticketed.

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Consequences of High-Speed Chases in California

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High-speed car chases happen all over the country, yet whenever people hear about a high-speed chase, they automatically assume it took place in California. That’s because California, and more specifically, Los Angeles, is considered the Car Chase Capital of the World.

There are a few reasons that California and high-speed chases go together. The first is that there are a lot of people in California and an extensive highway system. That combination means more opportunity. In 2002, there were over 700 car chases just in Los Angeles.

The second is that there is more media coverage, specifically helicopter film coverage, in the L.A. area, which means that rather than being a single paragraph buried in the bottom of an online newspaper column, the California high-speed chase makes it onto television and attracts a lot of attention.

The problem with high-speed car chases is that while they look fun on television, they are actually extremely dangerous, and often it’s the bystanders who get hurt and even killed as a result of the car chase.

It doesn’t matter how good a driver you think you are, you will never be able to outrun the police, who will use radios to stay on top of your exact location. Engaging in a high-speed car chase will simply get you in even more legal trouble than you faced prior to trying to flee the police. Even worse, there will be elements of the chase you simply can’t control.

A recent California car chase illustrated just how badly things can go when you attempt to flee the police. In June, a driver in a flatbed truck attempted to evade the police. At one point he was driving on the wrong side of the road. He lost control of his vehicle when the police deployed a spike strip and crashed his vehicle. The wreck was so severe the 10 Freeway was shut down while debris was removed.

California lawmakers call fleeing the police reckless evasion, a wobbler offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Reckless evasion is addressed in the California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor reckless evasion, you could be sentenced to:

  • Up to one year in jail Fined $1,000

If you’re convicted of felony reckless evasion, the sentence can include:

  • Up to 3 years in prison
  • A fine that’s as large as $10,000
  • The judge could order that the vehicle you used to flee from the police be impounded for thirty days, which will make you responsible for impound fees as well as towing.

In order to convict you of reckless evasion, the prosecution has to prove that:

  • You intentionally evaded the police
  • That it was clear both the vehicle the officer was in and the officer was a member of the police force

It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about getting a ticket or if you’re about to be arrested for a serious crime, trying to evade the police and leading them on a high-speed chase will only make the situation much worse. Not only will the evasion lead to additional charges, but if your actions lead to property damage or if someone gets hurt, you could also find yourself as the defendant in a costly civil lawsuit.