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.


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.


Preventing Porch Piracy

Preventing Porch Piracy

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You may not be familiar with the term “porch pirates” but it’s a pretty good bet that either you or someone you are close to has been a victim of one.

A porch pirate is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a term that refers to someone who spots a delivery package on your porch or near your front door. Rather than ignore the recent delivery, they walk up to your front door and take it for themselves. Once they’re safely away from your home, they’ll open the package, if it’s something valuable they’ll either keep the item or sell it. If it’s not something they’re interested in, they’ll throw it away. Either way, you’re the one who loses out.

The increasing dependency on online shopping and delivery services has driven porch piracy incidents to all-time highs. According to Finder, 14% of Americans are victims of porch piracy during a twelve-month period. That means 35.5 million people have a package snatched from their homes. The estimated value of each incident is $156.82.

The good news is that you can take some steps to prevent yourself from being a local porch pirate’s next victim.

Take Advantage of Tracking Notifications

Most online businesses provide free online tracking for your packages. You’ll want to utilize these. You can often set the system up so you a text is sent directly to your phone. In some cases, you’ll see approximately what time the package is scheduled to arrive and even how many stops before the driver is at your door.

If you’re home, you can use this information to meet the delivery at your door. If you’re not home, you can see if a neighbor, or another trusted person, can pick up your package before it’s noticed by a passing porch pirate.

Have the Package Held at a Different Location

If you’re concerned about a package being stolen, see if the delivery service has an option that lets you have the package delivered to a local drop-off point. More shipping companies have started doing this in an effort to limit liability and cost issues connected to porch piracy. In most cases, a local business serves as a drop-off point. They hold the package until you’re able to fetch it.

Consider a Lockbox

A lockbox is a great way to deter porch pirates. You can install the mailbox in an area that’s easily accessed by delivery drivers. They deposit the package into the lockbox which hides the delivery until you get home.

Security Cameras

Security cameras and doorbell security cameras are becoming increasingly more affordable for the average person. They are also a great way to deter porch pirates. If someone does try to sneak on your porch and steal one of your packages, you can turn the footage of the porch pirate to the police who may be able to identify the person so you can press charges. Even if the police can’t get an identity from the video footage, they will learn the approximate time that the porch pirate operates in your area and may be able to arrange to have a patrol car in the area so they can arrest the thief red-handed.

What steps have you taken to deter porch pirates?


Understanding Your Responsibility as a Bail Cosigner

Understanding Your Responsibility as a Bail Cosigner

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Co-signing a bail bond is a huge responsibility and liability. You’re essentially assuming the consequences if the defendant does not make his or her payments, skips court, or possibly violate other terms of release that are dependent on the bail bond. We know you desperately just want to co-sign the bail bond because you’re sympathetic for your very close friend or relative, but you should really weigh certain things before signing off:

  • It is the cosigner’s duty to ensure the defendant appears in court and meets all other terms and conditions.
  • It is the cosigner’s duty to ensure the defendant does not violate any terms of his or her bail and release.
  • The cosigner may have to pledge collateral for the bond. This is most often property, electronics, jewelry, and vehicles. The bail agency only keeps collateral if the defendant does not show in court. Otherwise, it will be returned at the conclusion.
  • The cosigner should notify the bail agency of the whereabouts (if known) of the defendant if the defendant tries to flee. Otherwise, the cosigner will have consequences (such as collateral taken).
  • The cosigner may request the defendant undergo certain programs and evaluations (like drug tests, mental health evaluations) before agreeing to cosign the bail bond.

Luckily, cosigners can request to have their name taken off the bail bond if he or she begins to feel uncomfortable with the defendant. Then the bail bond is retracted, and the defendant will be taken into custody. So, if the accused commits another crime, or the cosigner believes the accused will not go to court, the cosigner has the right to cut ties with the situation to ensure their own safety.

If you are in need of a bail bond for your loved one, please call Lynwood Bail Bonds at (323)357-0575. We can discuss how you might be a cosigner. We protect the rights of the accused but also of the cosigners we are on both of your sides because we work to achieve the best possible outcome for all.


Using Marijuana While Driving

Using Marijuana While Driving

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Yes, you can legally use marijuana for recreational purposes in California, but that doesn’t mean you can use it wherever you feel like it. California lawmakers treat recreational marijuana the same way they treat alcohol. It’s a substance that you’re free to use provided you’re able to do so without potentially hurting other people.

The potential to hurt yourself or someone else is why you’re not allowed to use marijuana while you’re driving.

While most people assume that California’s Vehicle Code 23221 VC only pertains to alcohol, if you take the time to read through it, you’ll discover that marijuana is also addressed. The code states that:

  • A driver shall not drink any alcoholic beverage or smoke or ingest marijuana or any marijuana product while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway.
  • A passenger shall not drink any alcoholic beverage or smoke or ingest marijuana or any marijuana product while in a motor vehicle being driven upon a highway.
  • A violation of this section shall be punished as an infraction.

The fact that using marijuana while driving is considered an infraction is a good thing. It means you don’t have to worry about being sentenced to jail time though you will be fined $250 plus any other costs connected to the infraction.

Don’t assume that because using marijuana while driving is only an infraction you don’t have to worry about getting into too much trouble. The fact that marijuana is involved means the officer who pulls you will likely write additional things you were also doing while driving, such as weaving within your lane or failing to come to a complete stop.

If you’re enjoying marijuana while driving and do get into an accident, the very fact that you were using marijuana at the time, something California lawmakers have forbidden, increases the likelihood of anyone else who was involved in the accident launching a successful civil case against you.

No matter how long your commute is, it really is in your best interest to resist having a relaxing puff of marijuana until you’re safely inside your own house.


When Minors Use a Fake ID

When Minors Use a Fake ID

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Having a fake id is almost considered a right of passage. There are movies, books, and even songs that feature all sorts of adventures a young man or woman can get into once they’ve managed to acquire a fake id. Most of these adventures involve illegally purchasing alcohol or cigarettes.

Most of these stories don’t show the ugly truth about what would have happened if the main character had been caught using their fake id. The reality is that if you are using a fake id and the police find out about it, there will be some very real, very scary legal consequences.

Business and Professions Code 25661 BPC is the law that covers what happens to minors who possess a fake id. The law clearly states that in California, using an ID that isn’t their own for the purchase of items such as cigarettes, vapes, and alcohol is a legal offense.

While having a fake ID is against the law, minors who are caught using a fake id to purchase items that they aren’t legally old enough to use won’t face felony charges. Presenting a false ID is a misdemeanor in California.

If you’re a minor, don’t assume that just because using a fake ID is a misdemeanor that getting caught with one isn’t a big deal. You will still go through the trauma and embarrassment of being arrested. You will still have a criminal record. You will still face some pretty serious legal consequences.

The first time a minor is convicted of using a fake ID, the maximum sentence they will face is a fine that’s no larger than $250 and up to 32 hours of community service. If the same minor is caught and convicted a second time, the maximum sentence is a $500 fine and up to 48 hours of community service.

In most cases, using a fake ID is just one of the charges young adult faces after they’ve been caught. Most of these cases usually involve additional charges such as minor in possession of alcohol/tobacco and DUI. It’s even possible that the owner of the store where the minor attempted to use a fake ID will decide to pursue a civil case against the minor.

When all is said and done, it’s in everyone’s best interest to obey the letter of the law and not purchase alcohol and tobacco until you’re legally able to do so.


Failure to Pay Legal Child Support Obligations in California

Failure to Pay Legal Child Support Obligations in California

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Child support is always a touchy issue. There are a variety of reasons people use for failing to pay legal child support obligations in California. These reasons include:

  • That the amount is more than they can afford and they don’t have enough money left to live on
  • They don’t think their ex (or kids) are entitled to the money
  • They spent the money on other things
  • They paid the money but it has gotten lost in the system

The first thing you have to understand is that once the court has ordered a specific amount of child support to be paid, that is it. You are expected to make the complete payments and the payments should be made on time. Failing to do so is breaking the law.

If you can’t afford to pay the child support or if situations have changed and you no longer feel that the amount you’re paying is fair, you need to contact the court immediately and arrange to have your case reviewed. Until the review happens and the child support order is formally changed, you still have to make the current payments. Failing to keep up with the payments, even when the matter is being discussed, will result in legal action.

Don’t assume that just because you spent the money on something else and no longer have access to the funds, that you won’t have to worry about any legal actions. Not having the money available is not considered a valid reason to fall behind on your child support payments.

If you no longer have the money because of an employment change, medical emergency, or another kind of emergency, it’s in your best interest to alert the court system immediately so they can evaluate your case. Taking a proactive stance is the best way to avoid legal trouble.

The simple truth is that sometimes the system doesn’t work and child support payments become lost. This is why it’s so important to document everything so that you can prove the missing payments weren’t your fault, but rather a clerical error. Don’t assume that because the child support payments you made were lost that you can stop making payments. You still have to submit your child support payment on time until the missing payments are found and reimbursements are made.

The legal consequences of failing to pay child support are quite severe. The state could decide to suspend not only your driver’s license but also any professional business licenses you might rely on to make a living. In severe cases, the state could decide that your failure to pay the court-ordered child support is a contempt of court, which could result in serving jail time.

When all is said and done, it’s in your best interest to make every single child support payment on time and in full. If you’re unable to do so, notify the courts immediately.


Probation and Parole. What's the Difference?

Probation and Parole. What’s the Difference?

Probation and Parole. What's the Difference?

If you’re confused about the difference between probation and parole, you’re not alone. Most people don’t really know what the difference is between the two until they get into trouble with the law.

While you’re on probation, you’re still technically in police custody, but you have a great deal more freedom than you’d enjoy if you were in jail. There will be some rules attached to your probation, breaking any of these rules will result in you losing your probation status and being locked in a cell. One of the big things you’ll have to do is routinely meet with your probation officer who will insist that you prove you’re following the rules.

Many people are put on probation without ever seeing the inside of a jail cell.

Parole is both similar to probation and different. The best way to think about parole is that it is kind of like is a kind of parental supervision. It’s sort of like that stage where sorta living on your own but still relying on your parents. When you’re granted parole, the parole board is saying that while you no longer have to be in jail, you’re also not ready for total independence.

Legally speaking, parole is a conditional release from prison. It is a way of getting out of prison even though you still have some time left to serve. Other than the fact that you have spent time in prison, parole and probation are very similar. Though the rules of parole are sometimes stricter and you sometimes have to work harder to prove that you should be granted parole. One of the big issues connected to parole is admitting your guilt and showing that you understand why your actions were wrong.

It isn’t unusual for restrictions and requirements to be attached to both parole and probation, though those restrictions vary from one case to the next. In most cases, people who are serving both parole and probation will have their travel restricted, will have to submit to drug (and sometimes alcohol) testing, are sometimes required to attend counseling sessions, are sometimes required to be at home during specific times of the day/night, and will sometimes be electronically monitored.

If you are serving either probation or parole, it’s important to remember that you haven’t been given a get out of jail free card. A single misstep, even a little one, could result in your being incarcerated.


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Are you Being Stalked?

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Stalking is a major problem in the United States. Every single year there are about 6 million people who find themselves in a position of having to report stalking-related incidents.

While most stalking victims are women, that’s not always the case. Each year men, who often assume that they don’t have to worry about stalkers, find themselves being followed. Some female stalkers have even murdered their victims.

The sooner you recognize the early warning signs of a stalker, the safer you will ultimately be.

When stalking victims look back on their history with their stalker, they usually notice that things started getting weird when they continually ran into the person in various locations. In the beginning, things usually don’t seem strange because it’s someone they know and because sometimes people do share the same space at the same time.

However, if the “causally running into one another” becomes a daily occurrence or the encounters happen in increasingly strange places, it’s time to start considering that a stalking situation could be developing.

Unexpected Gifts

The only thing better than getting a present is getting a present when it’s totally unexpected. The problem with unexpected presents is that they can also be a sign of unwanted attention. If someone is continually giving you things, even seemingly innocent things such as candy bars, it could be that they are developing an unhealthy obsession.

Ignoring Boundaries

Once you started getting unwanted gifts you likely started putting up some boundaries. If a person is ignoring these boundaries and continues to lavish unwanted gifts on you and is constantly entering into your personal space, it’s a sign that they have developed a potentially unhealthy attachment to you.

Property Damage

Property damage is often a tell-tale sign that a person has started to develop a stalking tendency. This is especially true if you’ve done something such as gone out with someone else or rebuffed your stalker’s advances. The property damage is a sign that it’s time to get the police involved.

It’s not uncommon for stalking behavior to escalate until it is ruining both your’s and the stalker’s lives. Ignoring the behavior doesn’t do anyone any favors. As the stalking behavior escalates, it’s important to involve the authorities. Not only will they take action to protect you, reaching this point could be what your stalker needs to realize that they’re engaging in dangerous behavior and that they need to seek professional help.