Do I Have to Report a Traffic Accident?

Do I Have to Report a Traffic Accident?

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Most of us have a weird, knee-jerk reaction to traffic accidents. We like to pretend we don’t know about them and try to put as much distance between ourselves and the traffic accident as we possibly can. This is our reaction whether we’re involved in the accident or if we’ve simply witnessed one.

When a traffic accident occurs, many of us wonder if we actually have to report it to the police.

If you’re driving any of the vehicles involved in a car accident, you are legally required to report the accident to the police.

Technically, you have 24 hours to complete a written report about the incident. All things considered, it’s in your best interest to report the accident as soon as it happens. There are several reasons for this:

  • The responding officer will handle writing the written report for you
  • Filing the insurance claim will be easier
  • The events leading up to the cause of the accident is fresh in everyone’s mind
  • You won’t have to worry about being labeled a hit and run driver

In addition to letting the police know about the accident, you need to let your car insurance company know about the accident as quickly as possible. Not only will this put you in a position to receive your claim money as quickly as possible, but if an investigation is needed, they will be able to talk to everyone involved while the details of the accident remain fresh in everyone’s mind.

But what if you merely witnessed a car accident but weren’t directly involved with it?

It’s in your best interest to make sure that everyone who was involved in the accident doesn’t need any type of medical attention and you should also plan on serving as a witness to the incident.


Is It Illegal To Brake Check?

Is It Illegal To Brake Check?

“Brake check” is a term that refers to the act of someone slamming hard on their brakes while they’re driving in front of another driver, forcing the other driver to either slam on their own brakes or swerve out of the way. It’s often done because the driver of the lead vehicle feels the second car is following too closely, or tailgating, them. The hope is that slamming on the brakes will convince the other driver to back off. It’s important to understand that this isn’t just a light tap of the brakes. During a brake check, the driver exerts enough pressure on the brake pedal to quickly and significantly slow their vehicle. They usually hit the gas pedal equally hard and speed off.

The interesting thing about brake checks is that both the brake checking and the tailgating are considered to be examples of aggressive or reckless driving. In this particular incident, both drivers can be issued a ticket. Both actions can lead to a serious accident.

There are a couple of different reasons people tailgate. The first is because the driver is impatient and hopes that they can encourage the other driver to go faster. In this scenario, the tailgating is a form of road rage and aggressive driving. The second most common reason for tailgating is because the driver isn’t paying attention or doesn’t realize just how close they’re getting to the other car’s back bumper. In this instance, the tailgating is a perfect example of distracted or careless driving.

If a police officer observes you doing a brake check, they can nail you for reckless driving. Don’t assume that it will merely be a ticket and a fine. Depending on the circumstances, your brake check could result in you gaining a criminal record, possibly losing your driver’s license, and even ending up in a jail cell.

If your brake check results in someone getting hurt or killed, the penalties are more severe and could include the suspension of your driver’s license. It’s also likely that the injured party will file a civil case against you.

The next time you get tired of being tailgated, take a deep breath and keep your foot off the brake pedal. Remind yourself that it’s far better to be irritated than to do something that could cost you both your freedom and your means of transportation.


Mug Shots Decorating Social Media Feeds? Not Anymore!

Mug Shots Decorating Social Media Feeds? Not Anymore!

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Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have discovered the importance of social media marketing. It’s a great way to stay in touch with the communities they trust, to gain some extra funding, and even get some important leads on open cases.

Posting mug shots on social media sites is one of the things some law enforcement agencies have done to generate extra social media content. This is a practice that California police departments will not be doing in 2022.

At the start of 2022, a new law went into effect that doesn’t straight up ban police officers from posting mug shots on the department’s social media accounts, but it does significantly limit which mug shots can be posted.

The law that restricts the mug shots police departments can post on social media is AB 1475. Governor Newsom signed it in July 2021. It goes into effect at the start of 2022.

It’s important to understand that the new law doesn’t prohibit officers from turning to social media and posting images of suspects while they are investigating a case. The only thing that changes is the police force can’t post the mug shot they took after arresting someone for a non-violent crime if that person hasn’t yet been convicted.

The reason behind the new law is simple. Some people were concerned that by posting the mug shots of recently arrested suspects who hadn’t yet been convicted of a crime, the police department was creating an environment that was full of presumed guilt. Not only would this presumed guilt make it more complicated to find an impartial jury, but it could also negatively impact the overall quality of someone’s life. All it takes is for friends, family members, and even employers to see the mug shot on social media for them to start thinking that someone is guilty of a crime that they’ve been arrested for but not officially convicted of. This type of situation can cost people valuable relationships and might even lead to them losing their job or having a difficult time finding a home.

It’s important to realize that the way AB 1475 was written still allows police departments to use social media and to post information and mug shots of fugitives, suspects the department believes to be a risk to society, and anyone who is suspected and has been arrested for committing a violent crime.

It will be interesting to see if any more laws that dictate how the police can and can’t use social media are created in the future.


Different Types of Domestic Violence

Different Types of Domestic Violence

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Most of us are familiar with the concept of domestic violence. What many of us don’t realize is that there is different types of domestic violence charges.

There is both misdemeanor and felony domestic violence. The exact circumstances surrounding the domestic violence incident determine which of those charges you face.

When the prosecutor is trying to decide if a specific case represents felony or misdemeanor domestic violence there are a few factors they consider. These factors include:

  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • How serious the victim’s injuries were
  • Criminal history

It’s also possible that witness statements and medical records will play a role in determining how the charges will be handled.

In misdemeanor cases, a guilty verdict can result in a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail as well as possible fines. In felony domestic abuse cases the sentence can be 2,3, or 4 years in a state prison, mandatory counseling, a fine that could be as high as $6,000.

Felony domestic violence is a crime that often has sentencing enhancement added. The circumstances surrounding the case will often determine if the enhancements are added. If the newly convicted person already had a record that includes previous domestic violence convictions that occurred within the last seven years an additional $10,000 in fines as well as 2,4, or 5 years can be attached to the sentence.

If the domestic violence incident that’s currently on the table involved a great bodily injury, the judge has the option of using a sentence enhancement that adds 3,4, or 5 years to the sentence.

A single domestic violence charge can have a massive negative impact on your life. It can cause loved ones to turn their back on you, hurt your chances of securing houses, and make it significantly more difficult to find a romantic partner. The best way to prevent a domestic violence conviction from ruining your life is thinking before you act and removing yourself from the situation when you feel that you’re losing your temper.


California’s Child Safety Seat Laws Keep Kids Safe

California’s Child Safety Seat Laws Keep Kids Safe

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All of us know that young kids have to be strapped into a safety seat whenever they’re in a vehicle. The reason for this is because those safety seats save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that properly installed car seats reduce the number of infant fatalities suffered during car accidents by 54 percent and lower the number of serious injuries sustained during car accidents by 71 percent.

Like other states, California has strict child safety seat laws. Lawmakers used data collected during accidents that involved seriously injured children and accidents that involved a child fatality to decide how they could make it safer for parents to transport their children.

If you’re driving with children who are two years old or younger, the child must be securely strapped into a rear-facing car seat. The child will have to use this seat until they are either 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. The seat the child uses much comply with all the manufacturer’s height and weight restrictions.

Don’t assume that because your child is older or bigger that they no longer need special seating in the car. Children who are under eight years old can only ride in the back seat of the car and they must be in a car seat or a booster seat that’s designed to handle their weight and height. State law mandates that your child use the seat until they’ve passed their eighth birthday or until they are at least 4’9” inches tall.

It’s not enough to have your child secured in the car seat. The seat must also be properly installed. It is in your best interest to visit your local police or fire station. Someone who is on duty will have the training and time to make sure your car seat is properly installed. You are free to get help each time you purchase a different car seat or need to use a different vehicle.

Failing to make sure your child is properly secured in a safely installed child car seat is an infraction. You won’t go to jail if your child isn’t properly strapped into their car seat but you’ll get a ticket. The first time you get a ticket for not having a child in a car seat it’s a $100 fine. Each child’s car seat violation ticket after the first is a $250 ticket.

No matter how big a hurry you’re in when you leave your home, always take a few seconds to make sure your child is properly secured in their car seat before you pull out of your driveway.


Staying Safe While Online Dating

Staying Safe While Online Dating

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It doesn’t look like online dating is going anywhere.

This is often the time of year when people start to think about online dating. Some do this because they think the start of a new year is the perfect time to start a new relationship. Others because they realize that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Others decide that it’s a great time to create a new online dating profile because they hated being single during the holidays.

Whether you’re an online dating veteran or you’re just dipping your toe into the world of online dating, it’s always a good time to review safe online dating practices.

The first thing to remember is that you don’t really have any idea about who you’re talking to. Online dating is a great way to meet people, but it’s also a format that attracts a lot of predators. Choose a dating site that is upfront about its policy for keeping everyone involved safe.

If you make a match, take some time to get to know the person online before you arrange an in-person meeting. Whenever possible try to keep the conversation going through whatever means the online dating site has provided. This makes it easier to report any abuse or suspicious behavior.

Do not meet in a private or secluded area. Arrange to meet in a public place. Before going on your first date, let people know where you are going, who you are going with, and arrange for a time that you’ll check in with them and let them know that you’re okay.

Do not tell the person you’ve connected with online where you live. Make sure you eliminate any geographically identifiable items (such as your house) from the pictures you post on your profile.

If you start to feel at all uncomfortable with the other person, be it while you’re chatting on the dating site or while you’re on a real-time date with your online match, sever the connection and move on. Your safety and mental health are far more important than the few minutes of embarrassment you’ll feel while dashing away from the date.

Do not invite your online love connection to your home until you’re one hundred percent positive that they’re a good person and someone you can trust. If you have any reservations at all, keep the dates to public places. The same is true about getting into a car with them. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving or they’re driving, always travel in separate vehicles until you are confident about who you are with.

The most important thing to remember when you’re dating online is to trust your instincts. You really do know best so if something feels a little funny or unsafe it’s in your best interest to block that person and search for the next promising candidate.


Things You Should Know Before Contacting a Bail Bonds Agency

Things You Should Know Before Contacting a Bail Bonds Agency

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One of your loved ones has recently been arrested. You decide you want to help them out with bail, but you don’t have the full amount of bail that they require in your bank. When this happens, you are allowed to contact a bail bonds agency on your loved one’s behalf, but before you do so, there are a few things you should know.

The information we’ll need before we can really do anything to help you out is your loved one’s:

  • Full name (including their legal middle name)
  • What jail they’re being held at
  • Their birthdate

As long as you can provide us with this basic information, we can use our own connections and learn your loved one’s booking number and how much bail they require.

The second thing you need to decide before you contact us is if you’re just going on an information-gathering expedition for your loved one or if you’re going to help them come up with the bail money. If you’re helping out, we do require a fee that is 10% of the required bail. You will not get this fee back so before signing a contract with us, you and your loved one will need to decide if and when they will pay you back.

The good news is that you don’t need a prepared speech when you contact us nor do you need to understand how the bail bond process works. Our goal is that by the end of the consultation you’ll know everything you need to about the bail bond process and be confident in your decision to either help or refuse to help your friend.

When you contact us, you’ll enjoy:

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Honest answers to all your questions
  • Free consultations
  • A speedy response
  • Phone/online approvals
  • Discrete service
  • Payment plans
  • No hidden fees
  • No collateral required for working signers

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we’ll be able to free your loved one from jail. Phone and online consultations are available! Call (323)357-0575 or click Chat With Us link.


Smoking in Your Car

Smoking in Your Car

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Strictly speaking, you’re not prohibited from smoking cigarettes or vaping tobacco in your car. That doesn’t mean it’s a great idea.

The biggest issue connected to smoking while driving is the risk of you having a distracted moment. Even though it probably only takes you a split second to light your cigarette, that’s a second when your attention isn’t focused on your driving. A whole lot of things could go wrong during that moment of inattention.

Another issue is the knee-jerk reaction you may have if you drop your cigarette, particularly if the lit cigarette falls on bare skin. If you jerk your leg or arm in pain, you could slam on the brakes, shoot unexpectedly forward into the car ahead of you, or even swerve into oncoming traffic. If any of these things happen, you could get a ticket for distracted driving.

If you have a minor in the car, you’re prohibited from smoking in the vehicle. It doesn’t matter if that vehicle is moving or parked, you can’t smoke while the minor is sharing your car.

If you plan on smoking pot while in your vehicle, you should know that it’s not a good idea. Yes, you’re legally allowed to use pot for recreational purposes but the rules pertaining to pot and driving are very similar to alcohol and driving.

Current California law makes it illegal to get behind the wheel after you’ve been smoking pot. You’re also not allowed to smoke it while you’re driving. One of the interesting side effects of Proposition 64 was that it allocated more funding that went directly to the California Highway Patrol who used it to help deal with what they call “drugged drivers.”

Just like a DUI, a drugged driving offense can have a huge negative impact on your life. If you’re convicted of drugged driving in California, your sentence can include anywhere from 96 hours to 6 months in jail. You can also be fined from $390-$1000 plus court costs. You’ll be required to take a DUI prevention course and will likely have your license suspended for 6 months. That’s for your first offense.

Things are much worse the second time you’re convicted of drugged driving in California. The sentence for drugged driving a second time in California is 90 days to one year in jail. You’ll lose your license for 2 years and likely be fined about $1000.

The third and subsequent times you’re convicted are really bad. The maximum jail time you can serve stays at a single year and you’ll be fined up to $1000, but you’ll lose your license for three years.

All things considered, it’s best to wait until you have no reason to get behind the wheel before indulging in recreational marijuana.


Social Media and Your Mental Health

Social Media and Your Mental Health

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Social media is a bit of a double-edged sword. For some people, it’s a great resource that allows them to stay connected to loved ones while also breaking up the tedium of a day. Others find social media stressful and even claim that it’s causing mental health problems.

The positive side of social media is:

  • It’s something you can do on your own schedule which increases the odds of actually connecting with people you care about but who live too far away or have too different a lifestyle to make traditional connections possible
  • It can make you feel less alone in the world
  • Social media allows you to connect with people who share your passions and interests, no matter how obscure your tastes might be
  • You can make great friends through social media connections
  • Social media can sometimes push you to take on new challenges

Not everyone has a positive experience when it comes to social media. Many of the downsides people have encountered while using social media include:

  • Feeling insecure because friends are always sharing their triumphs (but rarely post about the struggles they had before finally succeeding)
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Finding that they are becoming increasingly combative when they encounter someone who has a different opinion
  • Getting bullied
  • Losing track of time because they were on social media
  • Discovering that social media is consuming their life

Most experts agree that it doesn’t matter if your experiences with social media are good or bad, it’s in your best interest to set limits and not spend all of your free time on various social media platforms. Make sure you put down your phone or step away from your computer. Messages, posts, and comments will all be there when you log back in.

Taking time away from social media channels gives you a chance to remember that there is a great deal more to life than staying in touch with people via social media. Use this time to enjoy some face-to-face time with your loved ones. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Read a book or simply spend an hour vegged out in front of the television. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel after spending some time away from the constant drama of social media.

If you are the type of person who loses track of time when you are online, set an alarm and log off your social media accounts each time it goes off. If you can’t simply ignore the allure of social media, remove the apps from your phone so that you can only log into your accounts when you’re on your computer or tablet.

In addition to limiting the amount of time you’re on social media during the day, schedule a few days a month where you don’t go near your social media accounts. You can use these social media free periods to access your mental and emotional health and really decide if social media is making your life better or slowly harming your mental health.


Can I do Anything I Want While I’m Out on Bail?

Can I do Anything I Want While I’m Out on Bail?

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We frequently run into clients who mistakenly assume that they are free to do whatever they want while they are out on a bail bond.

While it’s true that the bail bond does give you more freedom than you’d enjoy if you’re locked in a jail cell, there are some rules connected to your bail bond that might put a cramp in your lifestyle.

If you’re a naturally quiet person who rarely does anything wrong, it’s unlikely that being out on a bail bond will have much of an impact on your life. However, if you’re someone who frequently crosses the law or that enjoys a wild and rowdy lifestyle, following the rules connected to your bail bond might take some serious life adjustments.

One of the big things that all people are told when they are released on a bail bond is that they have to obey every single law. Violating anything will likely result in you being arrested again. When you’re out on bail, you need to commit yourself to being a perfect upstanding citizen. Even being spotted at the scene of a crime is enough to convince the judge to revoke your bail.

Avoid drugs and alcohol while you’re out on a bail bond. Depending on the charges filed against you, it’s possible that the judge will make random drug testing and alcohol testing a condition of your release. If one of these tests comes back positive for drug or alcohol use, you’ll be arrested and possibly held without bail.

Even if nothing is said about random testing, commit yourself to staying sober until the resolution of your case. Taking drugs or consuming alcohol impairs your judgment and impulse control. The last thing you need right now is to get into any type of drug or alcohol-related trouble.

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only things you’ll have to avoid while you’re out on a bail bond. You won’t be able to associate with anyone who is connected to the case, especially if they are someone the prosecution wants to call as a witness. In some situations, this might mean that you’ll have to find somewhere else to live while you wait for your case’s resolution. In addition to anyone connected to the case, you aren’t allowed to associate with known criminal elements while you’re out on bail.

It’s highly likely that you’ll be restricted to a limited geographical area while you’re out on bail. You also might be required to follow a strict curfew.

For more information regarding the bail bond program call (323)357-0575.