compton-bail-bonds

Keep Your Car Running Smoothly This Summer

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For many of us, the long days of summer means a chance to take long and scenic road trips. We use the time to drive to beaches, visit out-of-the-way hiking trails, and drive to distant relative’s homes for long weekends. We love the sun and warm weather but seldom stop to think about the toll the heat takes on our vehicles.

The good news is that as long as you follow these summer car maintenance tips, your car will be ready and able to accompany you on all of your summertime adventures.

Check Your Battery’s Attachment

Most people only think that they have to worry about their battery during the winter because the cold weather forces the battery to work harder when starting the car. While the battery doesn’t work as hard during the summer months, the combination of heat and constant vibrations can cause it to steadily break down. The best way to preserve your battery during the summer is to make sure it’s securely attached so that it experiences minimal vibrations.

Another thing to look for is corrosion. Summer heat leads to excessive evaporation which can cause the battery connections to corrode. Routinely checking and cleaning the connections helps keep the battery in perfect operating order.

If your battery is three years old, bring your car to a mechanic so they can check the battery and see if it’s time to replace it.

Get Into the Habit of Checking the Coolant

The warmer it is outside, the harder your car has to work. It’s going to go through more coolant. Each month, take a few minutes to check and top off both the coolant and the oil. Keeping these topped off spares you the headache of being stranded on the side of the highway and will ultimately extend the life of our car. If either the coolant or oil is low each time you check, bring your car in so your mechanic can check for leaks.

Keep an Eye on the Tire Pressure

Asphalt gets extremely hot in the summer which is hard on your tires. In addition to checking the tire pressure about once a week and keeping them properly inflated, you also need to keep an eye on their condition. At the start and end of summer, you should consider getting them rotated and balanced. The more diligent you are about the health of your tires, the better your vehicle’s fuel economy will be this summer.


east-los-angeles-bail-bonds

Leaving Kids in Hot Cars in California

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Kids and hot cars are never a good combination. Everyone knows that, yet there is still an average of 38 children who die each year after they’re locked into a hot car.

In all fairness, nearly all of these cases are an accident. The child is strapped into their car seat in the back of the vehicle and the driver simply forgets that they’re there until it’s too late. There are even situations when the parent accidentally locked the car keys in the vehicle with the child.

While accidents do happen, children overheating in the car something everyone would like to forget. If you’re traveling with a small child who can’t possibly let themselves out of the car, you need to figure out what steps you can take to make sure they aren’t accidentally forgotten. The hotter it gets, the more you’re going to have to worry.

One of the things that might help you remember that your child is in the backseat of your car is understanding that it’s illegal to leave your child there. California passed Kaitlyn’s Law in 2001. The law was created in memory of Kaitlyn Russel, who was only six months old when she died after her babysitter forgot her in a hot car for over two hours.

Kaitlyn’s Law not only makes it illegal to leave an infant in the car, but it also makes it illegal to leave an infant in the care of anyone who isn’t at least 12 years old if the vehicle is running or there are keys in the ignition and if there are unsafe conditions, such as overheating.

Kaitlyn’s Law makes it illegal to leave your unsupervised infant in the car period. So even if there is no danger of them overheating, you still have to bring them into the store or appointment with you.

Leaving a child under the age of six in a vehicle when they have no supervision can result in a $100 fine. It’s not unusual for the judge to waive the fine after you’ve completed a community education program.

In many cases, leaving a young, unsupervised child in the car, especially on a hot day, will result in you being charged with child endangerment. It is one of California’s wobbler offenses. In felony cases, you could face up to six years in prison. In misdemeanor situations, you could be sentenced to a year in county jail. In both situations, the Child Welfare Service will likely become involved and decide if you should retain custody of your child.


lynwood-bail-bonds

Can You Get Into Trouble for Using a Computer That Doesn’t Belong to You?

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We’ve all done it from time to time. Grabbed a friend or family member’s laptop to check our email or update our social media accounts. Most of us ask for permission first. But what if you don’t ask for permission? What happens if you simply boot up someone else’s computer and start using it.

While each situation is different, in legal terms, if you use someone’s computer without getting their permission first, you can be charged with a crime. You’d be charged with violating Penal Code 502 PC. This law states that:

“It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to expand the degree of protection afforded to individuals, businesses, and governmental agencies from tampering, interference, damage, and unauthorized access to lawfully created computer data and computer systems. The Legislature finds and declares that the proliferation of computer technology has resulted in a concomitant proliferation of computer crime and other forms of unauthorized access to computers, computer systems, and computer data.

The Legislature further finds and declares that protection of the integrity of all types and forms of lawfully created computers, computer systems, and computer data is vital to the protection of the privacy of individuals as well as to the well-being of financial institutions, business concerns, governmental agencies, and others within this state that lawfully utilize those computers, computer systems, and data.”

This means that not only are you not allowed to boot up another person’s computer without their permission, you’re also not allowed to use their computer network or any of their software. You should also be aware that in most situations using another person’s cell phone without their permission would also be covered by the same law.

Most of California’s unauthorized use of a computer cases involve additional charges which frequently include fraud, identity theft, and trespassing.

At this point, unauthorized computer access is one of California’s wobbler laws. The exact circumstances of the situation determine if you face misdemeanor or felony charges.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor unauthorized computer use, the maximum sentence is twelve months in county jail and a fine that doesn’t exceed $5,000. Felony convictions can include a three-year stint in state prison and as much as $10,000. Probation is an option in both felony and misdemeanor cases.

While there are defenses you can use in an unauthorized use of a computer case, putting one together isn’t easy. In order to win, you’ll have to prove that you were actually given permission or that you didn’t realize it wasn’t your computer or cell phone.

The best way to avoid an unauthorized use of computer charge is trying to use your own electronics’ as much as possible.


Battery-charges-in-california

Understanding Battery in California

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Assault charges can be confusing, mostly because the law has so many nuances and different stages of things. The simplest way to look at things is to understand that any assault and battery charge involves someone getting into an altercation with another person.

California’s Penal Code sections 240 and 242 deals with assault and battery. The law defines battery \ and battery as, “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”

Don’t assume that simply because the person that you allegedly assaulted wasn’t hurt that the charges will simply go away. The way the law is written, simply grabbing another person’s shirt without their consent can be grounds to file assault and battery charges against you.

Even though assault and battery charges often seem like the same thing. In California, you could potentially be charged with just assault or just battery. The reason for this is because California lawmakers consider assault as an attempt to use physical force to threaten/harm whereas battery happens when you carry through with the threat and genuinely harm the other person.

If convicted of misdemeanor battery, the maximum sentence you’d receive is misdemeanor probation, up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.

If the battery case involves a police officer, a guilty conviction could result in twice as severe consequences.


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Oops, I Opened my Neighbor’s Mail!!

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The postal service isn’t infallible. They’re prone to making human mistakes. One of the most common mistakes the postal service does is occasionally putting your neighbor’s mail in your mailbox.

Most of us don’t really look at the mail before we open it. Since it’s in our mailbox, we automatically assume it’s for us. As a result, occasionally we open a piece of mail that belongs to our neighbor.

This can instantly lead to a sense of panic because most of us know that opening other people’s mail is a federal offense.

If you’ve accidentally opened a piece of mail that isn’t yours, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and relax. Unfortunately, these things happen.

The best way to deal with the situation is to return the mail to the envelope, seal it with a piece of tape, and let your neighbor know what happened. If you don’t see your neighbor, either slide the mail under their front door with a note of explanation or return the mail to the post office.

You want to take a proactive stance on the situation. The quicker you are to admit to the mistake, the less likely your neighbor will be to press charges.

If you got as far as reading whatever was sent to your neighbor, you don’t want to discuss the contents with anyone. Not with your neighbor (unless they bring it up,) not your spouse, and not your friends. Talking about the mail you accidentally opened could be considered an invasion of privacy and may cause your neighbor to consider filing charges against you.

The issue of mail theft is dealt covered by PC 530.5(E). In California, opening someone’s mail is a misdemeanor offense. A guilty conviction could result in being sentenced to a single year in jail. The good news is that to secure a conviction, the prosecution has to prove that you knowingly accepted the mail (or took it out of someone’s mailbox) and opened it. That’s why it’s so important to admit what you’ve done and alert both the post office and the actual owner of the mail to the situation.


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California Laws Ride Share Drivers Need to Understand

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Rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft are a great way for some people to supplement their income. The programs are designed so that you get to choose your hours. In some cities, people have found that they were able to live a respectful living as a rideshare driver.

The problem some people encounter is that they aren’t properly prepared for the reality of becoming part of a rideshare program. There are some legal issues you should review before you pick up your first customer.

As rideshare programs gained popularity, California lawmakers realized that they needed to step in and start regulating the practice. This led to the creation of several state laws. It’s important to understand that these state laws pertain to anyone who is part of a rideshare program, it doesn’t matter if you’re a full-time driver or if you’re picking up your first passenger.

California state laws rideshare drivers must familiarize themselves with include:

  • A sticker that identifies you as a rideshare driver has to be prominently displayed on your vehicle. One sticker on the windshield, one on the rear window.
  • You must consent to an annual background check
  • The vehicle you use for rideshares must be inspected every 12 months or every 50,000 miles
  • You must pick up and transport customers who have service dogs
  • Vehicles used for rideshares must adhere to California’s current climate emission levels

Rideshare drivers are impacted by Assembly Bill NO. 5 which went into law on January 1, 2020. The law officially changed your status from that of a freelance contractor who simply provided work for Uber or Lyft to that of an employee.

Issues concerning Assembly Bill NO. 5 resulted in a case appearing in the California Superior Court where a judge ruled that both Uber and Lyft were legally responsible for paying drivers a mandated benefit, over time, business-expenses, and minimum wage.

Personal safety and liability issues have been raised by both drivers and passengers. At this point, there aren’t any laws that require rideshare drivers to install a dashboard camera in their vehicle, which would prevent false claims from being filed against drivers, but it is still a good idea.

The most important thing to remember is that you will have to claim any money you make as a rideshare driver and pay taxes on it. Get into the habit of keeping detailed rideshare financial records so that if you’re ever audited, you won’t have to worry about getting a bill for back taxes and unclaimed income from the IRS.


School zone traffic laws

The Cost of Ignoring School Zone Traffic Laws in California

School zone traffic laws

Kids are finally starting to return to school in California which means it’s time for drivers to reacquaint themselves with school zone traffic laws. It’s extremely important that you not only know that the laws exist but also the consequences of breaking the school zone traffic laws.

School zones are designated areas where there periods of the day where there are multiple kids on foot, parents picking up kids, and school buses present. These things create additional driving hazards. Everyone has to be hypervigilant during these times, particularly if you’re in an area where there a lot of young kids who don’t always remember to look before they dart into traffic.

To keep things as safe as possible, the speed limits are decreased in school zones during key times of the day, usually when people are showing up for school and when they’re leaving.

In most school zones, the speed limit decreases to 25 MPH though there are places where it goes even lower, to 15 mph. Signs in the area not only alert you to the change in speed, but they will also have a note stating that the decreased speed limit goes into effect “when children are present.” Many also have a flashing light attached to the sign which blinks on and off when the police are enforcing the decreased speed limit.

In addition to having these speed limit zones near schools, some cities have also decided to create special speed limit zones near parks and playgrounds.

If you’re entering a school zone, you are expected to be on high alert for slow-moving traffic and lots of unpredictable foot traffic. You should also be prepared for the possibility of cops who have parked in strategic spots while they wait to pull over drivers who fail to obey the decreased speed limit.

If you’re pulled over for speeding in a school zone, don’t expect to talk your way out of the ticket. Patrol officers take the safety of children very seriously and are unlikely to let you off with a warning.

If you get a ticket for speeding in a school zone, you should expect to pay:

  • $25 for 1-15 miles per hour over the limit
  • $50 for 16-25 miles per hour over the limit
  • $100 for 26 miles per hour the limit

It’s important to understand that these fines are the base amount. In most cases, there are additional costs attached to each ticket which will often bring it to over $100. It’s also possible that the officer will decide to attach additional charges to the ticket. These additional charges could include reckless driving, failing to yield, negligence, and even using a cell phone. It’s also possible that they will notice a problem with your insurance or registration.

When all is said and done, it’s best to keep both hands on the wheel, your eyes up, and your foot light on the accelerator while you’re driving through a California school zone. The few extra minutes slowing down adds to your commute will cost you far less than a failure to slow down in a school zone traffic ticket.


California common felonies

3 Common California Felonies

California common felonies

The state and federal law books are full of felonies, but court officers, lawyers, and police officers will quickly tell you that some felonies are common while there are others they’ve never encountered.

Here is a list of the most common felony arrests and convictions.

Felony Drug Crimes

There are so many different drug-related felonies that it’s easier to lump them into one category than to sort them out. It’s worth noting that in many cases if a person is charged with a drug-related crime, it’s likely that they’ve been charged with multiple different drug offenses.

Examples of drug-related felonies include:

  • Possession
  • Possession with intent to sell
  • Distribution and Trafficking
  • Cultivation/Manufacturing

It’s important to note that many of these charges are wobbler offenses, meaning in the right circumstances they could actually be misdemeanor charges. The amount and type of drug involved is what usually determines if the charge is a misdemeanor or felony.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is an extremely common felony. If you’re charged with aggravated assault, it means you either paired the assault with a death threat, or your victim suffered a serious injury during the incident. California Penal Code Section 245 makes it clear that using a firearm or another type of item that could be considered deadly is also aggravated assault.

A guilty conviction for felony aggravated assault can mean:

  • Spending time in a state prison
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Losing the weapon you had during the assault
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Retribution

Aggravated assault is one of California’s three-strikes felonies.

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Restitution
  • Confiscation of the weapon (if it is owned by the convicted individual)
  • Possible community service and/or a mandatory Anger Management course.

Arson

Arson is a surprising addition to the list. It simply doesn’t seem like it would be that common. However, a large bulk of arson cases are less about setting a fire and more about insurance fraud.

In California, arson is covered under California Penal Code Section 451 and California Penal Code Section 452 .

California law enforcement agencies have special task forces that deal with arson cases. These teams look at the fire and all of the circumstances surrounding the arson case. The process is often slow, prompting some people to think they got away with the fire, only to be charged years after the event.

If you’re convicted of an arson-related felony, the amount of time you serve in a state prison depends on where the fire happened, if anyone was hurt/killed, if the fire involved a knowingly inhabited structure.


public decency laws

Avoid Inappropriate Public Display Of Affection This Valentines Day

public decency laws

One of the great things about Valentine’s Day is it provides you with an opportunity to look at your current relationship. Many people use the holiday as an excuse to try to inject some added spice into a relationship that has fallen into a comfortable rut. For some couples, this involves experimenting with public sex.

Here’s the thing about public sex. It can be exciting. It can make your relationship feel new and risky (in a fun way.) A little round of public Valentine’s Day sex is just the kind of thing you and your partner will reminisce about for years.

In books and movies, public sex is always hot and romantic. If the couple gets caught, they’re generally either embarrassed or laugh it off. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a romance novel. Here in the real world, a round of public Valentine’s Day sex (or public sex on any other day) can get you tossed in jail.

The issue of public sex is addressed in California’s Penal Code 647. The code clearly states that “An individual who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view,” violates the law.

In California, you can’t have sex in any public area, or even on private property if there is a reasonable chance of innocent passersby viewing you.

If you’re found guilty of Valentine’s Day public sex, you’ll be convicted of lewd or dissolute conduct. It’s a misdemeanor.

The sentence can include:

  • Six months in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

The one good thing is that as long as the charges don’t include indecent exposure, you won’t have to register as a sex offender.

A possible defense to a Valentine’s Day public sex charge is that you had reasonable expectations that no one would see you.


prank calling

What Happens If I Make A Fake or Prank 911 Call

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Making a fake or prank phone call to 911 might seem like good fun but it’s not something you want to follow through with. Neither law enforcement offices nor court officials have a sense of humor.

To put it simply, making fake or prank 911 calls is illegal. In some situations, that single phone call could even result in felony charges.

The best way to learn just how much trouble making a fake or prank 911 call can land you in is by setting aside a few minutes to read California’s Penal Code 148.3. When you do, you’ll learn that you can’t:

  • Call 911 and make a fake report of a crime/injury/accident
  • You can’t make a 911 call that results in the dispatcher or a law enforcement offer making a 911 report
  • You can’t use 911 to report a fictional emergency
  • You can’t call 911 and make a report that you know is false

Law enforcement can choose to file charges against you if your fake/prank 911 call results:

  • In the deployment of emergency vehicles
  • A building/area is evacuated in response to your call
  • The call prompts the 911 dispatcher to activate the state or local Emergency Alert System

The law very clearly states that anyone who makes a fake/prank 911 call can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. What is less clear is how the decision to pursue a misdemeanor or felony case is made. The general rule of thumb is that if someone is hurt, the prosecutor will push for felony charges.

Making a single prank/fake 911 call in California can have a seriously negative impact on your budget. If you’re found guilty, you could be:

  • Spend a full year in a county jail
  • Be fined up to $1,000

The cost doesn’t stop with the court fines. Depending on how much effort local agencies made to respond to your 911 prank call, the emergency response team that was involved will likely send you a bill that includes all the expenses they incurred as a result of your call.

Fake/prank 911 calls officially became illegal in California in 2013. Local lawmakers choose to crack down on these types of calls because they were tired of the calls tying up local resources and making it impossible to respond to valid emergencies.

In Los Angeles, fake/prank 911are sometimes referred to as swatters because of the number of times a fake 911 call resulted in a swat team getting deployed to a celebrity’s house.

Considering how much a fake/prank 911 call in California could cost you, it’s in your best interest to avoid using the number for anything that isn’t a genuine emergency.