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What to Do If You’ve Been Accused of an Internet Crime

By | Bail Bonds in Kings County

In 2018, the Cyber Security Breaches Survey revealed the shocking news that approximately 43% of all businesses fell for some sort of internet crime. The costs associated with these crimes really added up. It’s estimated that in California alone, businesses collectively lost more than $214 million to internet crimes.

And businesses aren’t the only ones who fall victim to internet crimes. Every single day, there are multiple reports of people who lost thousands as a result of some internet crime.

We get so wrapped up in how victims handle internet crimes that we forget there is someone on the other side of the crime. Even worse, there are routine people who are wrongfully accused of perpetuating an internet crime.

The first thing you should do when you’re accused of committing an internet crime is to follow police instructions. If you’re getting arrested, don’t try to resist. Resisting arrest not only makes you appear guilty, but it can also result in even more charges. When you’re told you’re being arrested for an internet crime, stay calm, cool, and collected.

Don’t say anything to anyone about the alleged internet crimes unless your criminal defense attorney is with you. In addition to making sure both your civil and legal rights are being upheld, your lawyer will stop you from inadvertently saying or doing something that could get you into even more trouble or that could be used to mount an even stronger case against you.

If you’ve been falsely accused of committing an internet crime, don’t fall for the temptation of accepting a plea deal because you’re tired of all the legal drama or have gotten scared because of what the police and the prosecuting attorney are telling you. As soon as you accept a plea deal, you will have a criminal record that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Trust your lawyer to get the charges dropped.

If you have committed an internet crime and are convicted, you should know that the details surrounding your case determine whether you’re convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. If you’re convicted of felony internet crimes, you could be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced to spend up to 20 years in prison. If you’re convicted of misdemeanor internet crimes you’ll only face a fine of about $1,000 (plus court costs.)

In many misdemeanor cases, the judge opts for probation instead of actual jail time, especially if this is the first time you’ve been in trouble with the law.

 

 

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4 Facebook Scams You Should Know About

By | Bail Bonds in Kings County

Most of us spend a surprising amount of time on Facebook. We love posting about the exciting things taking place in our lives, we enjoy looking at the photos loved ones share, and we often treat it like an interesting party line that provides a legal way to spy on the lives of others. We seldom stop and think about how dangerous Facebook can be, even though we routinely hear about friends whose accounts have been hacked or who have encountered a Facebook scam.

While you don’t have to completely stop using Facebook, you’ll get more out of the social media giant if you are aware of the most popular Facebook scams and know how to identify and avoid them.

Phishing

Phishing on Facebook is just like other forms of internet phishing, it just takes place on Facebook. The way it works is someone creates a fictitious Facebook account that suggests they offer a service or own a business. When you express interest in the business/service, the mastermind behind the account steals your information, including your Facebook password, and uses it for personal gain.

The best way to spot a Facebook phishing scheme is by looking at the website you are directed to. If the URL has anything other than facebook.com on it, it’s a scam and you need to exit it and clear your browsing history right away.

Counterfeit Products Promoted on Facebook Marketplace

The Facebook marketplace has become a popular place for people who have cheap products to make a quick buck by promoting them as if the product was name brand or high quality. The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to study the pictures closely and read the seller’s reviews. If the product looks suspicious or there are many bad reviews, move away from that seller and look for something else to purchase.

Bogus Job Scams

Even though Facebook isn’t the first place most people look when they’re hunting for a new job, there are some legit job opportunities posted on social media sites. The problem is that there are also some surprisingly convincing bogus job scams available on Facebook. 

The purpose of the bogus job scams is the same as other scams, the person behind the scam wants to extract specific information from you that they can use for their own gain. The best way to protect yourself from a bogus job scam found on Facebook is to never give away any personal information, change your password each time you message the person responsible for the job listing, and carefully research the company that allegedly posted the job. 

The Scam Involving Gift Cards

The general rule of thumb is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s certainly the case with many of the gift card offers floating around Facebook. One of the reasons so many people are conned by fake gift card scams is that the person behind the scam hacks an account and makes it appear like the offer is coming from a loved one. And the wording is both persuasive and authentic.

The scam is twofold. Since you’re asked to click a link and provide information about yourself, the person behind the scam collects information from you that they can use to help steal your identity. They also ask you to share the post, making it possible for them to connect with your Facebook friends so they can run the gift card scam on other people.

The best way to avoid being scammed by a Facebook scam is to limit your social media actions to dealing with people you know well and always confirm their identity before clicking on any links or secondary accounts.

 

 

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The Benefits of Using a VPN

By | Bail Bonds in Kings County

A VPN is a virtual private network. The purpose of a VPN is to provide you with a layer of privacy and security while you’re using the internet. VPNs first became popular when people started to go to public places, such as coffee houses and hotels to use the internet, but have since become a crucial tool for people who use the internet to earn a living, including Youtubers, bloggers, and podcasts hosts.

When you are using a VPN, your internet connection is encrypted. This means that no one can use the internet to spy on you while you are doing things like checking online bank balances, updating social media accounts, and working from home.

If you’re not already using a VPN when you log into the internet, there are several reasons why now is the time to start doing so.

The biggest challenge people face when they log into a public wi-fi network while not using a VPN is that they make it possible for cybercriminals to essentially eavesdrop while they’re using the internet. This might not seem like a big deal when you’re simply reading the online version of the local newspaper or watching YouTube videos, but if you’re doing things like chatting with friends via a social media link, depositing funds into your savings account, or using a credit card to complete some online shopping, you’re giving the eavesdroppers valuable information about yourself.

Another thing to consider when using a public network without the benefit of a VPN is that you can’t be one hundred percent certain that you’re using the location’s actual wi-fi. It’s not uncommon for cyber criminals to seek out popular public locations and create a mirror of the location’s wi-fi connection. Instead of connecting to the actual free wi-fi spot, you actually connect to the cybercriminal’s account, providing them with free rein to use the connection to not only see your surfing history but to also get a peek inside your computer files and history.

One of the reasons so many professionals who use the internet to make a living, particularly YouTubers and podcasters rely on VPNs is because the VPN helps protect their actual location. They can use the VPN to make it look like they’re in a different country, which makes it harder for stalkers and crazed fans to determine where they’re located and potentially threaten the individual’s safety.

While the primary reason to use a VPN is security, there’s an added advantage. Not only can you use the VPN to hide your location from cyber criminals, but you can also hide your location from location-based services, such as Netflix and Amazon. This is especially useful when you have a subscription service that you wish to get the maximum value. For example, if you use Netflix, you can alter the VPN so that instead of simply getting access to the movies that are available to U.S. subscribers, you can also watch the movies that are available to the U.K. and other parts of the world.

 

 

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California’s Marijuana Laws

By | Bail Bonds in Kings County

In 2016, registered California voters decided that they were in favor of legalized marijuana and voted yes to Proposition 64. A little over a year later, on January 1, 2018, it became legal for adults to enjoy marijuana throughout the state. What some people failed to realize is that even though it was not legal to use cannabis, there were still some rules regarding when and how marijuana could be enjoyed.

To begin, just because a person is legally an adult, it doesn’t mean they are going to be able to use marijuana. The way the state law is currently written is that you can only legally use marijuana in California if you’ve passed your twenty-first birthday. Just like with alcohol and cigarettes, anyone under the age of 21 who is caught with marijuana will face legal repercussions. Minors who are caught with marijuana in California are charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, they can be fined and ordered to perform community service and be required to participate in a drug counseling program

The next thing to be aware of is that you’re only allowed to have a limited amount of marijuana on you at any given time. The way the law is currently written, you can only have a single ounce of dried marijuana or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis at a time in your possession.

While you are allowed to cultivate marijuana plants in your own home, there is a limit. The state has determined the average person doesn’t need more than six plants.

Failing to pay attention to the laws surrounding the amount of marijuana you’re legally allowed to have has costly repercussions.

If the police discover that you aren’t paying attention to California’s marijuana laws and are exceeding the legal limits of recreational marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted you could be ordered to spend up to six months in jail and/or pay a $500 fine.

While you are allowed to use marijuana in California, you’re not allowed to profit from it. Unless you’ve gone through the process of obtaining a license from both the state and your local government, you’re not allowed to sell marijuana, not even if you’ve discovered that you grew more than you use.

It’s important to understand that while the state has legalized recreational marijuana for personal use, actually using them involves having the property owner’s consent. That means it is perfectly legal for your employer and/or landowner to tell you that you’re not allowed to use marijuana while you’re on their property.

If you’re using recreational marijuana, remember that state law prohibits its use in public places which include sidewalks and public parks. You also aren’t allowed to have an open container of marijuana when you’re out in public.

If you plan on using recreational marijuana, you should check with your local government and see if they have any additional marijuana restrictions.

 

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Different Types of Pleas in California

By | Bail Bonds in Kings County

Shortly after you’ve been formally arrested and charged with a crime, you’ll have an arraignment. The arraignment is your first opportunity to tell a judge how you plead.

At a California arraignment, there are three different ways you can plea:

  • Guilty
  • Not guilty
  • No-contest

Guilty

A plea of guilty should be self-explanatory. When you tell the judge that you’re guilty, you admit that you committed the crimes for which you’ve been charged and that you’re ready to face the consequences. While everyone has their own reasons for pleading guilty at the arraignment, one of the main reasons they do so is because they’re hoping that by admitting to their guilt right away, they will get a smaller sentence than if the case went to trial

Not Guilty

When you plead not guilty, you’re telling the judge that you’re taking no credit for the crimes you’ve been charged with. When you plead not guilty at the arraignment, the case progresses to the next stage and often ends with a jury trial. Many people plead not guilty because they want an opportunity to negotiate with the prosecution and potentially reach a plea agreement that would result in a lesser charge or less severe sentence.

No-Contest

No-contest pleas are a bit confusing. When you plead no contest, you’re telling the judge that you are willing to accept the consequences of the criminal charge. In California, a no-contest plea is handled the same way as a guilty plea. When you plea no-contest, your case will go directly from the arraignment phase to the sentencing phase.

The main reason people decide to plea no-contest in California is that they are worried about civil lawsuits. While it’s true that the California criminal court views a no-contest plea as a guilty plea, the same isn’t true in civil courts. When you plea no-contest, the plaintiff in a civil case can’t say that you ever openly admitted your guilt.

The way you plea at an arraignment has a long-lasting impact on your life, especially if you’re facing felony charges. Considering how serious the situation is, you should never enter any plea without first consulting with a defense attorney.

 

 

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Consequences of Violating Court Order California

By | Bail Bonds in Kings County, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia

When the court issues an order, you have no choice but to follow it. Failing to adhere to the court order will only make an already bad situation even worse.

While you might consider violating a court order to be an act of rebellion, California lawmakers don’t. As for as California lawmakers are concerned, anyone who intentionally and purposefully engages in an action that goes directly against a current court order is guilty of a crime and will be charged.

The legal issues surrounding the violation of a court order are found in California Penal Code Section 166 PC. It states that:

    “(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), a person guilty of any of the following contempt of court is guilty of a misdemeanor:
    (1) Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior committed during the sitting of a court of justice, in the immediate view and presence of the court, and directly tending to interrupt its proceedings or to impair the respect due to its authority.
    (2) Behavior specified in paragraph (1) that is committed in the presence of a referee, while actually engaged in a trial or hearing, pursuant to the order of a court, or in the presence of a jury while actually sitting for the trial of a cause, or upon an inquest or other proceeding authorized by law.
    (3) A breach of the peace, noise, or other disturbance directly tending to interrupt the proceedings of the court.
    (4) Willful disobedience of the terms, as written, of a process or court order or out-of-state court order, lawfully issued by a court, including orders pending trial.
    (5) Resistance willfully offered by a person to the lawful order or process of a court.
    (6) The contumacious and unlawful refusal of a person to be sworn as a witness or, when so sworn, the like refusal to answer a material question.
    (7) The publication of a false or grossly inaccurate report of the proceedings of a court.
    (8) Presenting to a court having the power to pass sentence upon a prisoner under conviction, or to a member of the court, an affidavit, testimony, or representation of any kind, verbal or written, in aggravation or mitigation of the punishment to be imposed upon the prisoner, except as provided in this code.
    (9) Willful disobedience of the terms of an injunction that restrains the activities of a criminal street gang or any of its members, lawfully issued by a court, including an order pending trial.”

It is important to note that a few things must happen before you can be convicted of violating a court order.

The first thing the prosecution must prove is that you knew you were violating a court order. If the terms of the court order weren’t explained to you, or if for some reason you were unaware of the court order, you can’t be convicted.

The other thing the prosecution must prove is that you willfully violated the court order. This type of thing comes up the most frequently when dealing with a court order that includes personal protection orders or instructions to avoid certain people. While the court order prohibits you from connecting with specific people, if that person happens to casually encounter you while you’re both running errands, you haven’t actually violated anything, especially if you make a genuine effort to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.

If you’re convicted of violating a California court order, your sentence could include

  • Six months in a county jail
  • Probation
  • $1,000 in fines
  • .

The best way to avoid violating a court order charge is to sit down with a good criminal attorney and have them explain exactly how the court order impacts your life.

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Obstruction of Justice Laws 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

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

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

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

By | Bail Bond Blog, Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bond News, 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

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.