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The Difference Between a State and Federal Warrant

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Most of us know that the police can’t simply walk into our homes and start searching it unless you’ve given them permission to do so, or if they’ve gone through the correct legal channels and acquired a warrant.

The same is true when it comes to arrests. While there are some exceptions, such as drunk driving, you usually can’t be arrested unless the police have an actual arrest warrant.

What you might not know is that there are both state/local arrest warrants and federal arrest warrants.

The biggest difference between a federal and state/local warrant is the law enforcement agency that is involved in your case.

If a federal warrant has been issued for your arrest, it means that you’re a suspect in a federal crime. To obtain a federal warrant, the agency working on the case must present a federal judge with sufficient evidence that you potentially committed the crime and that the crime is indeed a federal matter.

In some situations, trying to determine if a case is federal or state can be complicated. When this happens, a joint task force that consists of both federal agents and state officers is formed. The joint task force not only allows the different agencies to pool talent and resources but also makes it easier to obtain warrants.

How you should behave if there is a warrant for your arrest depends on how you learn about this information.

If you have heard (or suspect) that an arrest warrant has been issued, but the police haven’t actually knocked on your door, don’t even think about trying to run. Bolting will only make the situation worse.

The first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Tell them what you know and ask for their advice. They will likely encourage you to turn yourself in. By contacting a lawyer before you’re formally arrested, you can keep them by your side throughout the entire process and make sure that none of your civil rights are violated.

Since the police aren’t currently hauling you to the police station, take a little time to get your personal affairs in order. This is a good time to contact a bail bonds agency and alert them that you’ll likely need a bail bond. If you have children or pets, take steps to make sure they’re properly cared for if you have to remain in jail for a few days. Lock up your home, and make your way to the police station.

If the police show up at your home with an arrest warrant, read the warrant and make sure all the information is accurate. If the information is accurate, calmly and quietly go with the officers. Don’t even think about trying to resist the arrest. Don’t answer any questions, take a plea deal, or discuss the case with anyone until your lawyer has arrived.


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3 Signs That Your Child is being Victimized by a Bully

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Many of the kids who are returning to school this fall haven’t attended an actual school since March 2020. While this return is good in terms of reconnecting on a social level and regaining some normalcy, it also means that once again, parents are worried about bullies.

A single bully can do an enormous amount of damage to a child. They hit the child’s self-confidence takes can haunt your child for the rest of their life. In addition to psychological trauma, parents also worry about bullying and physical abuse.

Most kids don’t report bullying problems to their parents. Catching the early warning signs and putting together a plan of action takes a great deal of diligence, observation, and communication.

Pay Attention to Your Child’s Appearance Both Before and After School

The first sign that a child is being bullied is often changes to their clothing and overall appearance at the start of the school day versus the end. Yes, kids trade clothing and jewelry. Yes, kids rip, tear, and stain their clothing via innocent actions. However, if your child is consistently coming home looking bedraggled, or is hiding torn clothing, or constantly has items of clothing missing, it could indicate that your child has attracted a bully.

Look for Bruises, Cuts, and Scrapes

Active kids do get banged up while playing, but kids who are being bullied will often also be covered in cuts and bruises which is why you should ask how your child was injured. Not only should you pay attention to how they received the injury, but also to how they tell you about it. If the bruise was sustained while playing sports, your child will likely have an entire adventure regarding the wound. However, if they are quiet about the injury or try to hide it, it could indicate a bullying problem.

Changes in Personality

Kids’ personalities are in a constant state of flux. They go through stages of intense joy, irritation, and resistance. Sometimes these changes happen at a rapid-fire pace. What isn’t normal is for a happy, bubbly kid who likes school to go through a prolonged period of depression where they no longer want to socialize. It’s also unusual for your child to suddenly lose all interest in activities and friends that they have always loved in the past. Sudden and long-term changes often indicate a bullying problem.

If you notice signs that your child’s return to school has resulted in them being bullied, you’ll want to take a proactive stance before the situation leaves your child emotionally or physically scarred.


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Boating While Under the Influence in California

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Everyone knows about the dangers and legal consequences of driving while under the influence, but we have a tendency to get lax when it comes to other situations. For example, while most of us would never dream of getting behind the wheel of our car after we’ve had a few beers, we have no hesitation when it comes to steering a boat as we drink.

One of the reasons we don’t give boating under the influence a second thought is because very little is ever said about the legal repercussions of doing so. The truth is, that if you’re caught driving a boat while intoxicated, your immediate future could be ruined.

The issue of boating under the influence in California is dealt discussed in Harbors & Navigation Code 655. The law states that:

(b) No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.

(c) No person shall operate any recreational vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more in his or her blood.

(d) No person shall operate any vessel other than a recreational vessel if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more in his or her blood.

(e) No person shall operate any vessel, or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device who is addicted to the use of any drug. This subdivision does not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

(f) No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, and while so operating, do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in the use of the vessel, water skis, aquaplane, or similar device, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than himself or herself.

Getting caught boating under the influence isn’t a joke. You will be charged and face legal consequences. The exact consequences will depend on if it’s your first offense and exactly which aspect of Harbors & Navigation Code 655 was violated.

In most situations, boating under the influence in California is a misdemeanor offense. The maximum sentence for a first-time offense is six months to one year in jail and/or a potential fine of up to $1,000. It’s also possible that the judge will include substance abuse counseling and community service into the sentence.

In the right circumstances, a boating under the influence charge can become a felony offense. This usually happens if your actions resulted in someone getting hurt or if you caused a boating accident that created substantial property damage. If convicted of felony boating under the influence in California, your sentence could include 16 months to three years in jail.

The best way to make sure you don’t have to deal with the hassle of a boating under the influence charge in California is making sure that a designated captain who agrees to not to drink is the only person who piolet the boat.

Your boating adventures should be handled the same way you handle nights out with friends.


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The Legal Ins and Outs of Street Racing in California

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Street racing is fun. It’s exciting. It might even seem like a good idea. It’s also the type of fun that can land you in a great deal of legal trouble.

California lawmakers believe that street racing is reckless and dangerous behavior which is why they’ve created strict laws. The hope is that the laws are enough to convince you to give street racing a pass and look for a different, legal way, to get your kicks.

It’s important to understand that California lawmakers are cracking down on all types of street racing. You aren’t allowed to drag race, drift, or engage in a straight-up speed race while you’re on a public road. If you want to race, find a private racetrack.

At this point, street racing is a misdemeanor in California. Don’t assume that just because it’s a misdemeanor that you’ll get away with a reprimand.

The potential consequences of first-time offense for street racing in California include:

  • 40 hours of required community service
  • Losing your driver’s license for between 90 days and 6 months
  • Serving between 1 day and 90 days in county jail
  • A fine that ranges from $355-$1000
  • Potentially having your vehicle impounded for 30 days (which means 30 days of impound fees)

You probably already guess, the consequences are worse after the first time you’re convicted of street racing in California.

If less than 5 years have passed since your first street racing conviction, the consequences can include:

  • A mandatory 6-month suspension of your driver’s license
  • Serving 4 days to 6 months in the county jail
  • Paying fines that could range from $500-$1000
  • High impound fees

Many street racers are caught because someone is hurt during the race which means medical personal and police arrive on the scene. Not only do the injuries bring law enforcement, but the injury also means significantly worse consequences to everyone who was busted on the street racing scene.

Street racers who are caught in a race that resulted in minor injuries can be sentenced to 30 days up to 6 months, have their license suspended, be required to do a significant amount of community services, and be issued fines of $500 to $1,000.

When a person is seriously injured as a result of a street race in California, you could be sentenced to 16 months to 3 years in jail, lose your driving privileges for a long time, and be required to pay as much as $10,000 in fines. It’s also likely that you’ll be named as the defendant in a civil lawsuit.

If someone passes away because of injuries sustained in a street race, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Additional charges that are frequently added to the street racing charges include:

  • Reckless endangerment
  • Reckless driving
  • Evading the police
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield

When you consider the potential consequences of street racing, it really is in your best interest to take the time to find a private race track where you can legally race to your heart’s content.


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Distracted Walking in California

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Everyone is familiar with distracted driving, but few of us have ever heard of distracted walking laws. If you’re wondering if that’s even a real thing you’re not alone.

Rest assured, not only is distracted walking a viable concern, but one California city, Montclair, has already passed a distracted walking law. In April 2018, the city’s distracted walking law officially went into effect. Once that happened, anyone caught using their cell phone while walking across the street was subjected to a $100.

It seems like a silly rule, but if you take a few minutes watching people walking on the sidewalk and you can see why distracted walking is a concern. These days, people are completely glued to their phones and often unaware of what is happening around them. Some don’t even look up when they start crossing the street. This type of behavior has prompted more cities to explore the concept of distracted walking laws.

A team of researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark revealed that the number of medical emergencies that included head and neck injuries has substantially increased in the past 20 years.

Legally, drivers are supposed to be aware of pedestrians and do everything in their power to avoid hitting them with their vehicle. The problem that arises is how are drivers supposed to predict when a pedestrian who is texting will suddenly step into the path of oncoming traffic. What makes the issue even more challenging is that many of these pedestrians don’t even realize that they are now in the middle of the road and don’t behave rationally.

Do you think more cities should have distracted walking laws? If distracted laws became common and patrol cops started issuing tickets and fines, would you be more inclined to leave your phone in your pocket, or would you continue to talk and text?


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Safety Tips for College Students

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It’s the time of year when many young adults are preparing for their first semester of college. In most cases, this is the first time they have lived without the supervision and guidance of their parents. One of the things collegebound students should already be reviewing is how they can make sure that they have fun and manage to stay safe during their freshman year.

Always Be Mindful of Your Safety

The great thing about living in a dorm is that the close living quarters means forming a tight bond with many of the people living on your floor. The downside to living in a dorm is that the sense of family and friendship can cause you to become lax when it comes to your safety. The biggest problem many students encounter while living in the dorm is that they become so comfortable that they start neglecting to lock their doors.

From day one, get into the habit of locking your door and double-checking the lock each time you enter and leave your dorm room.

Establish the Buddy System

While staying in your dorm and only going to classes will keep you safe, it’s not much fun. Rather than locking yourself away, get into the habit of creating a buddy program when you go out. Make a deal with a few different friends that no one goes home without the others and to keep an eye on one another the entire time you’re out and having a good time.

Keep Your Phone Charged

Each time you leave your dorm room make sure your phone is fully charged and that it’s easily accessible. It’s your first line of defense if you get into trouble while you’re out.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

When you’re out and about, pay attention to your surroundings. Stay in brightly lit areas. Stick to areas that are populated and heavily patrolled by campus security. Keep your eyes on the environment rather than on your phone.

Get Your Own Drinks

It doesn’t matter if you’re at a party, relaxing in your own room, or at a local pizza place, always get your own drinks. You should also never leave your drink unattended. If for some reason you do have to walk away from your drink, discard the unfinished portion and get yourself a new one.

Don’t be Afraid to Contact Campus Security

If your friends leave without you, it’s better to contact campus security and have them give you a ride back to your dorm than to try to walk home alone. Remember, that they’re paid to protect you.

Following these safety tips and using common sense provides you with the tools needed to stay safe while also enjoying your first year of college life.

Establish Patterns for Contacting Loved Ones

While you don’t necessarily want to always use the same route for going to classes and parties, you do want to establish good patterns when it comes to checking in with friends and family. Checking in on a specific day of the week and close to the same time each time is a good warning system if something goes wrong. If you don’t check-in, they know that they should contact the authorities and have someone do a physical check on you.


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Criminal Trespassing in California

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When you read through California Penal Code Section 602 you’ll learn that it’s illegal to come onto someone’s property without the owner’s permission. While this doesn’t mean you’ll face criminal charges each time you have to use someone’s driveway to turn around or when you stop in at a neighbor’s home to inquire about a lost pet, it does give the property owner the right to tell you that you’re not welcome on the property.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if you’re on someone else’s property and they request that you leave, failing to do so right away gives the property owner the right to call the police and file trespassing charges against you.

Refusing to leave a hotel or restaurant is another way trespassing charges can be filed against you.

Don’t assume that just because a person’s property is a business, that you can’t potentially be charged with trespassing. There have been cases of people who have gotten into a dispute with business owners/employees/other customers being arrested for trespassing after they entered the business and did things like harass people or refused to leave.

The majority of the trespassing cases that make their way through the California court system or considered misdemeanors. The maximum sentence for a guilty conviction is six months in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

It’s important to understand that it’s not uncommon for trespassing to be added to a list of additional charges that can include violating a personal protection order, property damage, assault, etc. When a judge looks at the additional charges they could decide to hand out a maximum sentence. If the trespassing charges look relatively minor and nothing indicates that you’re a habitual offender, the sentence could be minimal.

Aggravated Trespassing in California

Aggravated trespassing is an exception to the idea that all California trespassing cases are misdemeanors. Aggravated trespassing in California is one of California’s wobbler crimes.

According to Penal Code Section 602, aggravated trespassing in California takes place when a trespasser, “makes a credible threat to cause serious bodily injury to someone else with intent to place them in reasonable fear of their own safety or safety of their family, and who within 30 days of the threat, unlawfully enters their residence, property, or workplace with the intent to carry out the threat.”

If you’re convicted of felony aggravated trespassing, the sentence could include 16-21 months in prison, felony probation, and a $10,000 fine.


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California Stalking Laws

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In California, you can be convicted of stalking even if you have never engaged in actively pursuing a victim as they went about their daily activities. It’s even possible to be found guilty of California’s stalking laws if you’ve never had a face-to-face encounter with the victim. The reason for this is because California lawmakers have written the state’s stalking laws in such a way that they encompass a variety of acts that include harassment, even if that harassment only takes place in the form of letters, social media posts, or phone calls.

The issue of stalking in California is addressed in Penal Code 646.9 PC. The laws states, “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.”

The interesting thing about California’s stalking laws is that contacting someone via social media posts, making phone calls, and following them around isn’t always considered stalking. While these things may result in a police report getting filed, to convict you of stalking, the prosecution must prove that your actions/words threatened the victim so that they feared for either their life or their safety.

One of the interesting things about California’s stalking laws is that they are wobbler offenses. That means you could be charged with misdemeanor or felony stalking. There have even been instances where a person was charged with both misdemeanor and felony stalking. The bulk of stalking convictions in California are misdemeanors.

If you’re convicted of one count of misdemeanor stalking in California, the judge can sentence you to a full year in county jail, fine you up to $1,000, and misdemeanor probation. If convicted of felony stalking, your sentence can include up to five years in a state prison, felony probation, and a fine.

While stalking charges involve threatening a victim, if that victim is hurt as a result of your actions, you’ll likely be charged with assault and intimidation in addition to stalking.

Criminal charges could represent one of the problems you face following a California stalking case. Many stalking victims also decide to file a civil case against their stalker. The purpose of the civil case is to gain financial compensation for the mental anguish they suffered as a result of the stalking episode.


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Drinking on California’s Beaches

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Summer is finally here. For many of us, that means long, lazy weekends and evenings at our favorite beaches. We can’t get enough sun, sand, and surf. The big question is, can you bring a cooler full of beer to your favorite California beach?

The answer varies depending on which beach you’re going to.

If you’re in San Diego, the answer is no. The beaches have a strict, no-alcohol policy. Many state park beaches also prohibit alcohol, though some will allow you to pop a top.

The California state beaches where you can drink are:

  • Carmel Beach, Monterey County
  • Descanso Beach Club
  • Doheny State Beach, Orange County
  • Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County
  • Paradise Cove, Malibu, Los Angeles County

If you are going to one of those beaches and plan on bringing your favorite alcoholic beverages along, double-check the beach rules. Some have specific times when alcohol is prohibited.

Even on beaches where alcohol is allowed, you need to use extreme caution and make sure you don’t overindulge. If you get drunk and the police come by, you could be charged with public intoxication or even disturbing the peace.

You also need to be mindful of how much you drink before you go swimming, diving, or surfing. Getting into the water after you have been drinking slows your reflexes and dulls your judgment, increasing the likelihood of you getting hurt and drowning. The unspoken rule of thumb is that if you plan to go into the water at all, you should do so before you start drinking.

You should also expect the police to be patrolling the roads that lead to and from the beach, so you’ll want to make sure you’re sober before you slide behind the wheel. Before heading home, make sure that any remaining alcohol is properly stored in your cooler so that you don’t get caught with an open container in the car.

The other thing to keep in mind when you head to the beach is that littering is a crime. In addition to picking up all of your trash, make sure you collect your bottle tops, empty cans, and other alcohol-related paraphernalia before you leave.

Have fun and stay safe!


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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.