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What Expunging a Record Means

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To expunge a criminal record is to essentially erase or remove a prior conviction from your record so that others who conduct a background search on you cannot view it. Expunging a criminal record is not only to ease the individual’s mind and conscience, but it also means that they can worry less when a prospective employer or landlord does a background check before making a hiring or rental acceptance decision. In fact, if a record is expunged, the person does not even have to discuss it because an expunged record is like it does not exist.

Defendants may be eligible to apply to have certain misdemeanors or felonies expunged from their criminal record. There are some requirements to meet first, including completing probation for the offense and having not served time in prison. They also must not currently be charged with a criminal offense. Anyone who has been convicted of certain sex crimes involving minors are not eligible to have their record expunged.

To apply for a record expungement, a person will have their case analyzed, and they will need to be updated on the current and relevant law. Paperwork will need to be filed within the proper time frame, and there will be a court hearing to attend. This is when they will learn if the judge grants expungement.

There are benefits to having a record expunged that bring the individual relief. This includes having greater chances at securing employment, being allowed to obtain a professional license, not being impeached by this record as your credibility as a witness, and more. At the same time, there are certain things the expungement will not do for the individual, and this includes restoring gun rights, not having to register as a sex offender, and overturning a suspended license.

If you believe your loved one is eligible to have a criminal record expunged, talk to your lawyer and they will be able to better advise the opportunity.

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Understanding the Miranda Rights

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The right to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer represent you are two rights every arrested person has. These are the Miranda Rights, which the police are required to read to every arrestee.

The Miranda Rights are named after Ernesto Miranda, who was arrested in the 1960s and accused of kidnapping, rape, and robbery. During his trial, it was revealed that the police used intense and intimidating interrogation methods to lead him to confess. The court found this unjust and unfair, so his conviction was overturned. After additional evidence and eyewitnesses, he was eventually found guilty once again.

Miranda’s case, along with another in the 1960s, Escobedo vs. Illinois, brought about the Miranda Rights. The defendants in both cases were unaware of their full rights: the right to remain silent until their lawyer was present, and the right to have a lawyer during interrogation.

If a defendant is unaware of these rights, then they are more likely to offer a confession, whether or not they are truly guilty of the crime they are being accused of. In addition, without a lawyer, the police may use intimidating interrogation methods in order to force a confession. The suspect would give in, for they have no lawyer present to help fight back and protect them.

It is the suspect’s best interest to have a lawyer. If they can afford a private attorney who can specialize in the defendant’s case, they should go with that option. A private attorney will have more time to spend on the defendant’s case. In return however, they can be costly to afford. If the defendant cannot afford a private attorney, the court will appoint one to them. Court-appointed lawyers are neither ill-prepared nor unqualified, but they do tend to have more cases and clients to take care of than a private attorney. Thus, they must split attention and efforts across their multiple clients.

If your loved one has been arrested, the police will read them their Miranda Rights. It is very unlikely the police will neglect or forget to do so but in that small chance it happens, you can use that oversight as leverage. Make sure your loved one is aware of their rights, and from there take it one step at a time to get your loved one home and through trial.

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Punishments for Identity Theft

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Identity theft is a very serious crime to commit because it can cause quite a big problem for the victim in multiple ways. It can take them a lot of time, money, and energy, to get things fixed and straightened out for themselves.

Identity theft is when someone’s personal and sensitive identification information is used by another individual or group. The person, whose identity is stolen, never consented to have their information used to obtain goods, services, and other information.

The most common forms of identity theft are when:

  • Someone uses another person’s credit card information to complete a purchase for themselves.
  • Someone attempts to escape criminal liability by identifying themselves to authorities as another person.
  • Someone intends their victim to suffer financial or emotional loss by taking on their identity.

In California, identity theft can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. If someone is charged with a misdemeanor, then they can be put into jail for up to 1 year and pay a fine of up to $1,000. If they face a felony charge, then they are facing up to 3 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Furthermore, if that person faces federal prosecution, they are looking at up to 30 years in prison and a bigger fine.

In order to best protect yourself against identity theft, keep personal documents with sensitive identification information secured away, such as bank information, passports, and social security cards. Do not provide this information to others through email and over the phone if you are unsure or the service does not require it. It could be someone phishing for your information.

If you believe your identity has been stolen or compromised, contact authorities immediately so they can investigate the matter.

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New Immigration Laws are 1 Step Closer to Passing

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Members of the United States government are one step closer to cracking down on immigration policies, particularly directed at illegal immigrants and the cities who vow to protect them. These cities are known as sanctuary cities.

Across the United States, there are somewhere around 300 cities, towns, and counties that have identified themselves as a sanctuary city, including many in our own backyard like San Francisco, Berkeley, and Malibu. A sanctuary city exercises extra immigrant protection by allowing its law enforcement to not fully comply and enforce federal immigration laws. Additionally, city officials assist immigrants in finding housing, employment, and other social services.

One of the bills that is a getting a step forward, “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” would deny federal grants to cities that have declared themselves as a sanctuary city.

The other bill that has made an advancement is known as “Kate’s Law.” This bill is named after the young woman, Kate Steinle, who was murdered 2 years ago by an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported multiple times and had 7 felony convictions on his record. This bill says that any illegal immigrant who has been deported and attempts to return to the United States will face heightened consequences.

The House of Representatives passed both of these bills. Now, they head to the Senate for consideration.

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Save a Dog from a Hot Vehicle

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In California, it is legal to break into a stranger’s car in order to save a dog that is trapped and suffering, but it is still illegal to do so to save a child. Last year, California implemented a law that protects the individual from civil damages if they save a dog. However, California has yet to figure out and implement laws that would protect the individual if they did this to save a child.

This does not mean that a person can break into a car to save a dog anytime they want. It is only forgiving under certain conditions, and the individual is only protected if they comply with certain rules.

On any given day, the temperature inside a vehicle is higher than the temperature outside. Now, think about conditions if the outside temperature was 85 degrees on a summer day. If a dog is locked inside the vehicle, then a person can consider breaking in to save the dog if it is suffering. The person has to be sure that there is no other way to get the dog out and the owner is nowhere to be seen. In other words, this Good Samaritan has to be sure that they have exhausted all other methods to save the dog.

If they break into the car to save the dog, they will need to alert the cops of the incident and stay at the scene until the cops arrive so they can provide their statement. If the good samaritan does all of this, they will be protected from charges. If they neglect even one thing, especially staying after breaking into the vehicle, they may be charged.

If you are the owner and have a dog or a young child with you on a hot day, and you need to park your car to run a quick errand, it is best to bring your child with you. If the store is pet-friendly, bring the pup, or at least leash him or her outside in the shade. It is illegal to leave a child who is under the age of 7 unattended in a vehicle unless they are being supervised by another who is at least 12 years old.

Hot vehicles become deadly weapons very fast, so it is a very risky to leave a pet or young child in the vehicle without proper safety measures.

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Money-Saving Tips

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Saving money is always a good idea, no matter what you are planning to spend it on. You could be saving for a vacation, a new car, a wedding, or even the future. It never hurts to be prepared. This way, you will not be caught off guard by an ill-timed emergency such as needing to bail your loved one out of jail. Here are some tips to help you save more money.

  • You probably already split each paycheck into: needs, personal, and savings. Needs are for necessary payments such as rent and groceries. Personal is for things like going out for happy hour with friends and making a trip to the mall. Savings is self-explanatory, a percentage of your paycheck that goes into the bank that you do not touch. Cut even just 1 or 2% more from personal spending and put it towards your savings.
  • Check out other banking options that you are not currently using. You may find one that offers better perks and a better interest rate. If so, move your bank account over there.
  • Cut out fast food. Although one happy meal seems like such a steal, each happy meal you purchase adds up.
  • Eat out less, overall. Instead, make a grocery list every week and stick to that list when you are at the store. This helps ensure you do not over-purchase and buy items that were not originally on your list, such as a box of cookies.
    Meal-prepping for a week is helpful for your wallet, and your diet! A plate of pasta can cost you $10+ at a restaurant, but 1-pound of pasta noodles and a jar of pasta sauce can cost you less than $5 at the grocery store and feeds 4 people.
  • Cancel unused and under-used memberships and subscriptions where you are not getting your money’s worth. This includes the gym, streaming services, magazines, and more.
  • Stop purchasing the most expensive item and brand name at the store. Go for a generic brand instead. This goes for food, medicine (unless your doctor insists on a name brand), and even clothing. Why spend $120 on jeans when you can spend only $30?
  • Go through your personal items and gather up everything you no longer wear, use, watch, read, and everything else that is still in good condition, but just collecting dust. Hold a yard sale to get rid of your clutter and make some money. Whatever does not sell can be taken to Goodwill, which can be written off on your taxes.
  • Saving money does not mean you need to live an uneventful life. Go out and look for events that are more affordable or better yet, free to attend! There are plenty of community events that do not have an entrance fee, from concerts and museums to parks and beaches, there is plenty to do.
  • Throw spare change into a jar. Once it is full, take it to the bank to deposit – you might be surprised at how much you saved up by spare coins alone.
  • Monitor your spending and your bank accounts. First see how much you spend each week, on average. Then try to reasonably reduce that cost, even if it is by $10 per week. Make sure to save your receipts so you can cross check that payment with what shows up on your bank statement.

There are plenty more tips to saving money that you can find online but the last one we will leave you with is to not give up. Just like people who are trying to lose weight are told not to weigh themselves daily, but rather weekly or monthly, you should avoid counting your savings daily and instead, do it weekly and monthly. You will see that your small daily savings add up big time.

Hopefully you can save this money for pleasurable spending in your future. If you do end up needing it for immediate emergencies, at least it is available for you so you do not have to stress.

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Crime Rates Could Rise In California

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At the start of 2017, the state of New Jersey implemented a new bail reform policy. The policy is very similar to one California lawmakers are trying to implement with SB10. The stated goal is to reduce the number of inmates being held in prison. The proposed law accomplishes this by releasing arrested individuals without requiring them to pay bail.

The proposed system removes the incentive for defendants to return to court. It also removes the consequences for committing crimes.

Defendants are released from jail immediately following their arraignment. This gets rid of any sort of punishment for committing a crime, since the defendant will usually be out of jail within an hour or two. Unfortunately, many lawmakers do not believe this is the case.

That is why a Democratic New Jersey Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, recently sent a letter to Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the California State Assembly, warning of the dangers of this type of bail reform. The letter outlines how misinformed the New Jersey politicians were regarding the cost of the reform program, and its inherent dangers.

The cost of the new system has been shifted from the offenders to the taxpayers. Before the reform in New Jersey, offenders who were out on bail were under the supervision of their bail agents. In New Jersey, the task of monitoring released offenders and tracking them down if they decide to run is the responsibility of law enforcement. New Jersey does not have the resources to pay for that.

In his letter, Andrzejczak states: “Now we are making taxpayers pay to release criminals back into their neighborhoods, and with no accountability.”

As many of the opposition of the bail reform law have stated, and the Assemblyman Andrzejczak now confirms, crime rates increased rather than decreased under the new system.

New Jersey’s crime rates have increased at least13% since the start of the year. That is only 6 months. This is all because dangerous criminals are no longer detained upon arrest. They are simply released into the neighborhood they just victimized.

The risk assessment system that was implemented with the bail reform, does not work. In the letter, Andrzejczak tells of a convicted child predator who was arrested for attempting to lure a twelve-year-old girl to his house. The risk assessment determined he posed no threat. The pedophile was released into the very same neighborhood where the girl lived. All police could do was post a warning about the man on Facebook.

California’s proposed bail reform removes the punishment from crime and punishment. When criminals are no longer held accountable for their acts, there is nothing stopping them from repeating their crimes.

New Jersey Assemblyman Andrzejczak was a supporter of the bail reform bill in his state. He helped get it enacted, and now he is trying to fix what he refers to as a mistake. Andrzejczak regrets the bill’s enactment in New Jersey, and is actively trying to prevent it from happening in any other state.

It is hoped the representatives in Sacramento take heed of Andrezejczak’s warning. Otherwise, the state of California could be facing a similar problem.

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What Is My Monthly Payment?

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Once people figure out what the initial cost of their loved one’s bail bond will be, they want to know how much the monthly payments will cost. Unfortunately, much like figuring out the initial cost of the bail bond, figuring out monthly payments requires a lot of information. This makes it hard to give people a real answer without having any case information.

There are different factors that play into the size of the monthly payments.

  • Size of the bail bond
  • Size of the initial payment
  • Length of the payment plan

These variables all factor into determining how much the monthly payments for the bail bond will be. If more money is paid up front, the monthly payments will be less, and vice versa. Larger bail bonds tend to have bigger monthly payments since more money needs to be paid. If the payment plan is meant for 2 years, it will have larger payments than a plan for the same bond meant for 4 years.

It is important to beware of bail bond companies that say they will give you a payment plan that costs $49 a month. Think about it, if you are going to try to pay off a bail bond at that price, you will be working at it for a decade or longer. On top of that, bail bond companies that offer this may make up for the smaller monthly payments by requiring a larger initial payment.

At Lynwood Bail Bond Store, we wish we could give our clients a better answer for the size of their monthly payments without having any information, but there are too many variables. For a more definitive answer, fell free to talk to one of our bail agents. They will be more than happy to talk to you about monthly payment plans.

For a free consultation, call 323-357-0575 or click Chat With Us now.

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How to Handle a Warrant

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If you are like most people, then you have probably never needed to deal with a warrant. Unfortunately, there may come a time when you have to do just that. As much as many people would prefer to never think of something like this happening to them, they should. It helps to be prepared after all.

When you find out that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, the mature responsible thing to do is to turn yourself in to the authorities. This can easily be done by walking into the local law enforcement agency, and talking to one of the officers there.

However, before you turn yourself in, be sure to contact the professionals here at Lynwood Bail Bond Store. We can work with you to get a bail bond ready to go. We will fill out as much of the paperwork as we can beforehand. This way, you can be bailed out of jail as soon as the booking process is complete.

If you think that there might be a warrant out for your arrest, but are unsure, you can talk to Lynwood Bail Bond Store as well. We provide warrant checks for anyone that needs one. We will help you to the best of our abilities. We can check for warrants in several California counties. Unfortunately, we cannot check in all counties. This is due to the fact that some counties require warrant checks to be done in person.

Even if we cannot check for a warrant in the county where you think the warrant was issued, we can still help you. We can tell you how to check for yourself, and try to get a bail bond ready to go in case there is a warrant for your arrest.

If you have any questions about warrants, feel free to call 323-357-0575 or click Chat With Us now. Consultations are free, so there is no reason not to talk to an agent.

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No More Suspended Licenses for Californians

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Normally, when a driver amounts enough unpaid traffic and parking tickets, a judge will suspend that person’s license. If this person continues to drive while their license is suspended and has a run in with any law enforcement, he or she will be in big trouble. Driving on a suspended license can carry some hefty penalties. The severity of the penalty varies depending on the reasons for the suspension, but usually includes paying fines and possible jail time.

However, that is all about to change in California, at least for some people. Starting in August, California drivers will no longer face a suspended license for failing to pay traffic and parking tickets.

This new law was championed by Senator Bob Hertzberg and Governor Jerry Brown. After a little bit of research, Governor Brown determined that the punishment of the suspended license does not help the state collect unpaid fines. He goes on to argue that the punishment only worsens the load on low-income families by preventing the person from being able to go to their job. The idea of the law is to prevent the state from punishing someone for being poor.

While this new law will prevent judges from suspending a driver’s license for too many unpaid parking or traffic tickets, it will not completely remove suspended licenses. Judges will still be able to suspend a person’s license for failing to appear to court and other reasons as well.