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October 2021

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The Unlawful Taking of Pictures and Video Recording

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Thanks to built-in cameras on smartphones, most of us have a camera at our disposal 24/7. We’re able to record everything. We use the phone camera for selfies, points of interest, and to record the actions of others. We’ve grown so accustomed to taking photos and videos of everything that we rarely stop and think about the fact that there are certain times, places, and situations when taking pictures and video recordings is actually against the law.

Learning that there are cases where a person has broken the law with videos or photos they’ve snapped can make you have second thoughts about using your camera. The good news is that the odds are pretty good that you’re not going to record anything that will break the law. Both federal and California laws are written in a manner that allows you to legally take a photo of anything that’s plainly visible. You’ll be pleased to learn that this includes federal buildings and even police officers who are working.

You’re also legally allowed to take photos and videos of things that can be seen from public property. For example, as long as you can do so from the road, you’re allowed to photograph an interesting-looking barn.

If you’re on private property, the property owners get to make rules about what you can and can’t take photos/videos of. For example, if snapping a few shots of the barn requires you to walk across a private hayfield and jump a fence, the property owners could insist that you destroy the images and also file trespassing charges against you. The same is true if you walk up to someone’s house and start snapping pictures or videos through their windows. You’re not legally allowed to take photos or videos of a person (or their belongings) if the property owner had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

If you’re caught taking photos or videos in an area where the property owner had a reasonable expectation of privacy, they can file invasion of privacy charges as well as trespassing charges against you. If you’re convicted of invasion of privacy, the judge could sentence you to up to six months in a county jail and order you to pay a fine of $1,000. If this isn’t the first time you’ve been convicted of invasion of privacy, the sentence could double.

The best way to avoid getting into trouble while you shooting pictures or videos is to make sure you’re feet are always firmly planted on public property.

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Drunk Driving on Halloween

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

We have a tendency of thinking about Halloween as a holiday that is full of good-natured fun. It’s a holiday that allows us to wear crazy costumes, abandon our diets, and really cut loose. The only real risk we usually associate with the holiday is the need to drive carefully during the time frame that trick-or-treaters roam the streets.

What many of us don’t know is that Halloween is a holiday when many drivers overindulge and are legally drunk when they slide behind the wheel. Most of these drunk drivers are leaving Halloween parties.

College students in particular are prone to overdrinking on Halloween. One research project revealed that the average college student usually drinks about 6.3 alcoholic beverages at Halloween parties. That’s about 1.4 more drinks than they would normally consume.

And it isn’t just college kids who drink too much at Halloween functions. According to the American Addiction Centers, Halloween is the fourth booziest holiday of the year. Americans consume less alcohol on Halloween than they do on the Fourth of July but more than they drink during Cinco de Mayo.

If you’re going to a Halloween party and plan on drinking alcohol, you still need to be smart. Assume that you’ll drink too much to safely drive home and create a plan. This plan could involve a designated driver, getting an Uber home, or simply staying at the host’s home until you’ve sobered up.

California patrol officers know how dangerous the streets are on Halloween night. They will be out, and they will be keeping an eagle eye open for any tell-tale signs that you’re driving drunk. It’s even possible that you’ll encounter a sobriety checkpoint on your way home.

If you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving on Halloween, the consequences will have an immediate impact on your life.

If this is your first DUI conviction, you could be sentenced to as much as six months in jail, fined up to $1,000, have your driver’s license suspended for six months, and have a vehicle ignition lock installed on your vehicle for up to a year while your driving privileges are restricted.

The third time you’re convicted of drunk driving in California, you could be sentenced to 120 days through 1 year in jail, pay a fine of $1,800, lose your drivers license for up to 3 years, plus have an ignition lock installed on your vehicle for as long as two years.

If your drunk driving results in property damage, someone getting hurt, or the death of another person, you will face even more serious charges that could include vehicular manslaughter.

All things considered,finding a different way to get home after you’ve been drinking at a Halloween party is a really good idea.

Earthquake Safety Tips

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

There are many great reasons to live in California. There’s also one huge drawback. In exchange for easy access to beaches and year-round wonderful weather, you always have to be prepared for an earthquake.

The good news is that most of the earthquakes California experiences are really small, little more than slight tremors that give people something to chat about. They seldom do more than cause a few things to fall off shelves. However, every once in a while, there is a massive earthquake.

Since no one really knows when a big earthquake will shake California or how bad the earthquake will be, it’s important that everyone who calls California home is up to date on the current earthquake safety tips.

Create a Safety Plan

Everyone who lives in your home should have a plan about how they will handle things if they’re home during a massive earthquake. Not only does this mean knowing the safest point in your house, but also having a system in place that allows you to connect with loved ones to let them know that you’re safe. Keep some survival supplies, including non-perishables, blankets, and bottled water in the earthquake designation zones.

When You’re Indoors

If you’re inside when a massive earthquake hits get somewhere protected. Ideally, this would be a closet, which has a frame that provides additional protection. If you’re not near a closet, get under a table or desk. The idea is to get some protection from falling debris. Make sure you’re well away from bookcases, windows, and anything heavy that could shift or fall.

Drop low to the ground, preferably on your knees, and stay still until the shaking stops. You should stay indoors for several minutes after the shaking stops. The only exception to staying in place is if you smell gas or smoke. If you smell gas or smoke, get out as quickly as possible while yelling for help.

When You’re Outside

If you’re outside when an earthquake starts, you want to get low to the ground while also moving away from trees, buildings, and power lines. If you’re in a vehicle, stop the car somewhere that there’s little damage of it being hit by a powerline tree, or sliding into a ditch.

Once the earthquake has passed, you need to first take care of yourself and make sure you’re not injured. Once you’re confident you’re in good shape, your next course of action is checking in with your loved ones and helping anyone who was injured during the earthquake.

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Public Intoxication in California

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Many people assume that as long as they don’t get behind the wheel and try driving home they don’t have to worry about how much they drink when they go out. While the decision to never drive after you’ve been drinking is always wise, that doesn’t mean you can get a plastered as you want. There is always a chance that your night of heavy drinking at the bar could result in you getting arrested for public intoxication in California.

The good news is that if you simply have one too many while you’re at the bar, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. California lawmakers have made it obvious that the only time legal concerns and public intoxication combine is when you’re so heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol that you’re unable to keep yourself and others safe.

For example, if you’re so drunk that you aren’t aware of traffic and start walking down the middle of the road, you’ll be arrested and charged with public intoxication. The same is true if you get so drunk while you’re at the bar that your normal mild-mannered nature abandons you and you start making threats or behaving in a lewd manner.

Public intoxication in California is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. In many cases, the individual must perform a specified number of community service hours.

The good news about public intoxication is that it won’t impact your driving record. The bad news is that the charge could hurt your future. It’s possible that the charge will make it harder to qualify for scholarships, land your dream job, and be approved for an apartment rental.

The only way you can be charged with public intoxication in California is if you’re in a public area. That means the best way to avoid the charge is staying home when you decide you want to spend the evening drinking

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Vandalizing a Place of Worship

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California lawmakers don’t care if you were simply bored and decided adding some graffiti to a church wall would make life more interesting, if you were angry and knocked over some headstones in a local cemetery, or if you disagree with a particular religion and took out your frustration on the property. If you knowingly damage a place that’s legally recognized as a place of worship or a cemetery, you violate California Penal Code 594.3 PC.

Penal Code 594.3 PC clearly states that: “Any person who knowingly commits any act of vandalism to a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, building owned and occupied by a religious educational institution, or another place primarily used as a place of worship where religious services are regularly conducted or a cemetery is guilty of a crime.”

It’s important to understand that California lawmakers not only consider churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues to be places of worship but also include both cemeteries/graveyards and any other building that is either knowingly occupied or used by a religious institution to be a place of worship.

Like so many of California’s laws, PC 594.3 is one of the state’s wobbler laws. This means that the details surrounding the case determine whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges. Most of the time the intent behind the vandalism as well as the amount of damage done to the place of worship are the determining factors in how you’re charged.

A guilty conviction of misdemeanor vandalism of a place of worship means a maximum sentence of twelve months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The maximum sentence for a felony PC 594.3 conviction is three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In both misdemeanor and felony cases, the judge will likely order you to make restitution which means you’ll have to reimburse the religious organization for the damage you’ve done.

Vandalizing a place of worship already has severe consequences but things go from bad to worse if the court decides that the act of vandalism was also a hate crime. If you’re convicted of a hate crime the maximum sentence for vandalizing a place of worship includes longer periods of imprisonment, larger fines, and a great deal of public disdain.

The best way to avoid being potentially charged with vandalizing a place of worship in California is to make sure that you’re on your best behavior whenever you’re on or near a religious property.

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How Serious is Road Rage

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The first time the term road rage was officially used was during the 80s when a team of broadcasters decided the term perfectly summed up the cause of a highway shooting. Since that broadcast, road rage has become a regular part of our working vocabulary. At the same time, it has become a serious problem for every single driver.

Road rage is a burst of strong, negative emotion that is triggered by some incident that happens while a person is driving. In most cases, we’re able to clench our jaws, hang onto the steering wheel, and wait for the emotional vortex to pass.

The problem is that some of us aren’t able to ride out a burst of road rage. Some of us are can barely think during this period of emotional upheaval and subsequently, make some incredibly poor driving decisions that can put both our lives and the lives of every other person on the road at risk.
Data collected by Carsurance provides an alarming insight into how common road rage is. The site reports that eight out of every ten drivers will experience bouts of road rage while they’re driving. Even more alarming is how the same report indicates that road rage is the main reason behind a majority of car accidents in the United States.

It’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of the fatal accidents that occur in the United States are linked to road rage.

Road rage incidents are quite common in California, mainly because the state is home to many of the environmental triggers that lead to road rage. These triggers include crowded driving conditions, slow-moving traffic, frequent stops, and starts. About the only thing California doesn’t have that triggers road rage is inclement weather.

When California lawmakers realized just how serious a problem road rage was, they created Vehicle Code 13210 CVC. This law makes it possible for the California DMV to suspend the driving privileges of any driver who is caught engaging in behavior that indicates they are suffering from road rage. The first time the driver is caught engaging in road rage-like behavior, they will lose their driving privileges for six months. Any additional offenses will result in their driver’s license being suspended for a full year.

In addition to the suspension of their driver’s license, the driver will likely also receive tickets for moving violations which could include reckless driving, speeding, improper passing, etc. If the person has a firearm in their car, and/or uses the firearm during the road rage incident they could face serious legal charges.

Considering the potential consequences of a single road rage outburst, it’s in your best interest to explore techniques that will help you keep your cool while you’re behind the wheel.

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Trick-or-Treat Safety

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Finally! Halloween is here. Not only does that mean cooler weather, pumpkin spice coffee, and an excuse to snuggle up with a good book rather than going out, kids will tell you that it’s time for free candy.

While kids love trick-or-treating, parents often have mixed feelings about the popular activity. Yes, it’s great to see how excited your kids get each year. The problem is that each year, parents worry about how they will keep their children safe while they go from one house to another.

The good news is that there are things you can do to ensure trick-or-treat safety while also allowing your children free rein to enjoy the holiday.

Make sure your children are visible, even if they’re out after dark. This isn’t complicated. Simply arm your child with a flashlight, and incorporate some flashing lights and reflective strips into their costume.

Remind your child about the rules of the road. Kids are so excited about being dressed up and obtaining as much free candy as possible, that they can easily forget things like watching for traffic. Before they head out to trick-or-treat it’s really important to remind them that they have to be respectful of motorists who are driving along the streets.

Trick-or-treat as either a family or friend unit. Instead of sending your child out on their own to trick-or-treat, make this an opportunity to make some excellent family memories and go out with your children. If work or life makes it impossible for you to join in the trick-or-treating fun, arrange for your child to go out with friends or other family members. Your child is far safer in a group than they are by themselves. Make sure a responsible adult will be watching over your children the entire time they are trick-or-treating.

Your children will want to eat their candy right away, but encourage them to wait until you get home. Waiting gives you an opportunity to inspect their candy and make sure it hasn’t been tampered with, plus it means your child isn’t potentially stopping in the middle of intersections in order to snatch a sugary treat.

Covid-19 is still a concern so make sure you keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on you and frequently apply it to your child’s hands. Remind them not to touch their face until they’re home and able to thoroughly wash their hands

What steps are you taking to keep your child safe while trick-or-treating this holiday season?

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Using Stolen Credit and Debit Cards in California

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Unless you have the card owner’s permission, it’s illegal to use a credit or debit card that doesn’t belong to you. It doesn’t matter if you found the card lying in the middle of a parking lot, have the card that belongs to someone who has recently passed away, or once had permission to use the card but no longer do. If you use a credit or debit card that doesn’t belong to you, you’ll violate California’s Penal Code 484(e)PC.

According to Penal Code 484 (e) PC, using stolen credit or debit cards in California is considered an act of grand theft.

While many cases of credit/debit card fraud in California are felonies, the issue is one of California’s wobbler crimes. The deciding factor between being charged as a felony or misdemeanor is the amount of money obtained via the stolen credit/debit card. Anything with a value of $950 is considered petty theft and a misdemeanor. If you used a stolen debit/credit card to steal more than $950 you will be charged with grand theft which is a felony.

It’s important to note that you can’t simply go to multiple ATMs and withdraw a sum of less than $900 each time and expect that you’ll only get charged with petty theft. If the total amount you withdrew exceeds $950, you’ll be charged with grand theft.

It’s important to note that even if you never actually run the stolen debit/credit card through an ATM or at a store cash register. You can also be charged for violating Penal Code 484e if you use the stolen card to transfer money from one account to another or if you are holding onto the card intending to eventually use it for your own purposes.

You can also be charged with violating Penal Code 484e if you fail to retain the permission of the cardholder before holding onto information related to their credit or debit card. The assumption is that the only reason you would continue to have the credit/debit card information is that you plan on eventually using it for your purposes.

When you’re convicted of credit/debit card theft in California, the judge will look at a few different things while they decide how to sentence you. The biggest factors they’ll consider are the circumstances surrounding your use of the credit/debit card and your criminal record, particularly any prior convictions you’ve had for grand and petty theft.

In felony cases, you could be sentenced to as much as three years in jail and serve felony probation.