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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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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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California’s Drug Cultivation Laws

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Drug cultivation in California is addressed in Health and Safety Code 11379.6HS. The code clearly states that, “every person who manufactures, compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance specified in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058 shall be punished.”

Getting caught manufacturing, growing, or otherwise producing prohibited drugs in the state could result in a sentence that includes 3-7 years in a state prison and a fine as large as $50,000.

In many cases, manufacturing a controlled substance represents only one of the things you’ll be charged with. There are usually several charges filed at once.

Additional charges generally include:

  • Possession
  • Possession with intent to sell
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Transportation of drugs

If the police suspect you of manufacturing or dealing with a controlled substance in California, the last thing you want to do is make the situation worse. It’s in your best interest to cooperate with the police as much as you can, which includes not doing something like trying to resist arrest. The challenge is cooperating with the police but also not saying anything that could potentially incriminate you, which is why you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who has a strong background in cases that involve the manufacturing of controlled substances in California.

Drug cultivation laws involving marijuana can still be a bit confusing to some people. Many mistakenly believed that since marijuana is now a legal recreational drug in California, there are no drug cultivation laws involving marijuana. That’s not the case. At this point, the average person can only legally care for a maximum of six marijuana plants at a time. Only individuals who are over 21 can use it, and you can only legally carry 28.5 grams. Some cities have ordinances that prohibit cultivating marijuana outdoors, though you’re still legally able to do so in the comfort of your own home.


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You’ve Been Arrested for DUI… Again

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Getting arrested and charged for DUI once in California is terrifying and life-altering. The second time you’re arrested for the same thing is even worse.

Like many states, California lawmakers have decided that to take a hard stance on drunk drivers. One of the ways they’ve done this is by creating laws that make a second (and each additional offense) significantly worse than the first. The reason for this is because while a single DUI could be the result of a bad judgment and an honest mistake, additional arrests indicate that you have a habit of driving while under the influence and a menace to society.

DUIs are addressed in California Vehicle Code Section 23152. The second time you’re convicted of a DUI in California, the result will include losing your ability to drive, fines, mandatory enrollment in substance abuse programs, and jail time.

When you’re convicted of a second DUI in California, you will be required to spend at least 96 hours in the county jail. That’s the minimum amount of jail time connected to a second DUI. The maximum amount of time you can serve is 12 months.

You should expect to pay a higher fine than you did for the first offense. Typically, the fine for a second DUI is between $390 and $1,000, but that might not be all you’ll have to pay. Most courts add penalty assessments to the DUI fine. These assessments can multiply the fine to five times the anticipated amount. In some situations, the judge will allow you to choose to extend the amount of time you serve in jail or do a great deal of community service in exchange for paying the fine.

Since January 1, 2019, a guilty conviction of a second DUI in California requires that the judge order an ignition interlock device be attached to your vehicle. This only happens if the two convictions are less than 10 years apart.

The second DUI means you’ll lose your driving privileges. The good news is that the loss of your license probably won’t be permanent. In California, the current license suspension for a second DUI is a 1-year suspension (administrative per se) or a 2-year suspension if you are convicted.

It’s worth noting that in some situations, the judge will grant you a restricted license. This doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to drive wherever you want. By if you’re able to present a compelling case to the judge, they’ll allow you to drive to work and to manage things like transporting your children. If you’re caught driving to places that aren’t specified in the paperwork connected to your suspended license or you’re driving at a time when you’re not supposed to, the restricted driving privileges will be taken away.

The only way you’ll be granted a restricted license is if you didn’t refuse to take a blood or urine test when you were originally arrested for the second DUI.

In addition to dealing with the actual criminal consequences of a second DUI, if you damaged property or injured/killed someone while driving drunk, it’s likely you’ll also find yourself engaged in a civil case as well.

The best way to avoid all of these consequences is making sure you never get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking or using drugs.


consequences of texting and driving

Texting and Driving in California

consequences of texting and driving

It doesn’t matter how many images of horrific wrecks insurance companies and auto agencies put out to warn drivers of the dangers of texting and driving, we still do it. Each of us has this weird impression that surely sending a quick response to the most recent incoming text won’t do anything wrong.

Since the warnings aren’t enough to convince the vast majority of us to stop texting while we’re behind the wheel, California lawmakers have decided to pass laws that they hope will discourage the dangerous habit.

The issue of texting and driving is covered by California’s distracted driving laws. These laws weren’t altered in 2021, but it’s always a good idea to review them. Especially if your budget and driving record can’t take the hit of another ticket.

At this point, the only time you can legally use your cell phone while you’re driving is when you have it set for hands-free mode. If you can’t dictate an outgoing text message or listen to an incoming text message, you will have to ignore your phone until you’re somewhere that you can safely pull over and deal with the issue.

If you’re under eighteen years old, you’re not allowed to use your cell phone, period, while you’re driving. The best way to avoid the temptation is powering the phone off until you reach your destination.

The issue of texting while you’re driving is covered in California Vehicle Code, Division 11: Rules of the Road, Chapter 12: Public Offenses, Article 1: Driving Offenses; Sections 23123 to 23125.

The first time you’re caught texting while driving in California, you’ll be issued a $20 fine. Each time you get a similar ticket after that first offense, the fine goes up to $50. Most drivers quickly learn that while that’s the base of a driving while texting ticket, there are also assessments that can be added to the ticket that typically drive the cost up until you’re looking at having to pay $15-250 for the infraction. If you were doing something else, such as speeding, the price will be even higher.

Starting July 1, 2021, you’ll get more than a simple fine when you’re caught driving and texting in California. On that date, the DMV will also add a single point for each infraction. The point will remain on your driving record for a full thirty-six months.

So, the next time you slide behind the wheel, be smart and set-up your phone’s hands-free system.


bad behavior on flights

Planning a Flight? Make Sure You’re on Your Best Behavior!

bad behavior on flights

Most of us have been on a flight where at least one passenger seemed to go out of their way to be difficult. They were loud, overly active, got sassy with the flight attendants, etc. In some cases, the passenger’s bad behavior was amusing. In other situations, it was irritating. Sometimes it even becomes concerning.

The airlines have decided that enough is enough and they are no longer going to tolerate unruly passengers on flights.

Federal safety officials recently announced that they are no longer tolerating bad behavior on flights. The decision was made after multiple airline workers reported that they’d had confrontations with individuals and groups who were flying into Washington D.C. with the intention of joining the protests/riots that shook the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, flights throughout the country experienced, “a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”

This is not the first time this issue has come up. Bad behavior on flights has been an ongoing concern since passenger flights first became popular. In 2001, the issue was finally addressed following the 9/11 attacks. Since then, the FAA has continuously explored different methods for identifying and quelling disruptive issues that occur both while in the air and in the actual airport.

Just a few examples of this include a couple who were arrested after they got into an altercation about a bag dispute in the Detroit Metro Airport. Another famous incident involved Alec Baldwin who refused to power off his electronics, despite being asked to do so by a flight attendant.

Stephen Dickson who serves as the administrator for the FAA listened to recent complaints about unruly behavior on flights and signed what is basically a zero-tolerance policy. It’s a one-strike and you’re out policy. If you are accused of being unruly and disturbing the peace while you’re on an airplane, you’ll face serious legal consequences. These extend well beyond being asked to get off the plane.

If you behave badly while in flight, it’s likely you’ll be arrested right after the plane lands. You could be charged up to $35,000 in fines and even serve jail time.

At this point, the FAA considers assaulting or threatening your fellow passengers or the staff who is serving on the plane a disruption of peace. At this point, the order is in effect through March 30. It’s unclear if the FAA will move to extend the order following that date.

If you intend on flying in the next few months, it’s in your best interest to be quiet and on your best behavior until your reach your destination.


Consequences of brake checking

The Ins and Outs of Brake Checking in California

Consequences of brake checking

It has happened to all of us. You’re driving along at what you think is a perfectly acceptable speed when you notice a car behind you. Under most circumstances, the other car wouldn’t bother you, but this driver has decided you’re not going fast enough so they proceed to get as close to your bumper as they possibly can with the hopes that it will encourage you to step on the gas.

Some of us can ignore this behavior. Other drivers will speed up. Then there are those of us who decide this is the perfect time for a brake check.

What is a Brake Check?

A brake check is stepping on your brakes, hard, for no reason other than to startle the driver behind you into backing off.

Are Brake Checks Legal?

While the idea of brake checking the driver behind you seems appealing, you should stop and consider the consequences before you do so. California’s highway patrol is quick to point out that drivers who brake check are quite possibly breaking vehicle code 2209. That means you could be the person who gets the ticket.

The problem with brake checking is that most of these instances tend to involve two aggressive drivers. The driver in the lead is irritated that they’re being pushed. The driver that’s tailgating is irritated that they’re not traveling faster. Too often what starts off as tailgating and brake checking leads to a nasty road rage incident.

How you should Respond if Someone is Tailgating you

Rather than brake checking the driver who is tailgating you, you should employ one of two methods designed to get them off your bumper.

The first is to simply ignore them. If they don’t want to pass, simply keep driving until they finally give in and either slow down or work their way around you. If you decide to do this, don’t slow down, which the other driver could perceive as an aggressive move.

The second thing you can do is pull over and let the other driver go around you. Only do this when you’re in a location where you can safely do so.

If the situation doesn’t get better or you feel that the other driver poses a threat, you can call the police and report the situation. Make sure you give them your location, the direction your traveling, and a description of the car that’s tailgating you.


consequences of family fighting

What Should I Do if My Family Fights?

consequences of family fighting

Families fight. Some just happen to fight more than others. The trick to weathering family fights is recognizing the signs that the fight is starting to escalate into something that won’t simply blow over and taking steps to diffuse the situation.

Remove Yourself From the Situation

When a fight is starting to get too loud or you sense comments are about to be made that can’t be taken back, removing yourself from the situation is one of the best things you can do. Go for a walk, take a drive, disappear into your bedroom. Take at least a half-hour which gives everyone a chance to cool down. If you’re in a situation where you can’t walk away, you need to do the next best thing which is taking a deep breath, counting backward from ten, and work to mentally calm yourself down. Even this short mini-break gives you a chance to clear your head and reassess the situation. Don’t assume the family member you’re arguing with will be the person who backs down. When it comes to diffusing family fights, you need to be proactive.

Remove Your Emotions from the Drama

You can’t hope to diffuse a family fight if you let your emotions get the best of you. The better you are at staying cool, calm, and collected during the fight, the sooner the situation will resolve itself. Don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment. Count to three before you respond to each comment. Consider two or three different responses and choose the one that is least likely to infuriate the family member you’re arguing with. Removing your emotions during a family fight accomplishes two things. One, it prevents the fight from escalating. It also lays the groundwork for an honest discussion that clears the air and generates results.

Look for a Compromise

Most family fights break out because one person is irritated by something another did. It could be something simple, like leaving dirty socks on the floor, or something major, like failing to pay the electric bill. The best way to diffuse a family fight that revolves around an irritating habit is by looking for a compromise. Once you learn the true issue behind the fight, take a deep breath, acknowledge the issue, and look for a solution that makes both you and the family member you’re arguing with happy. Make sure you honor the agreement. Once everything has calmed down and you’re by yourself, take some time and review the fight as well as what led up to it. Doing this helps you identify the early warning signs of a family fight and will help you nip the problem in the bud the next time you’re in a similar situation.

When the Situation Got Out of Control

It’s the phone call you never want to get: a friend or family member has been arrested and taken to jail. While this can be an emotional time, it’s crucial to stay clear-headed while you figure out your first steps. Of course, your priority is getting the individual released from jail as quickly as possible; however, several things must take place before that can happen. It is extremely important for everyone to remain calm collected during these moments.

Stay Calm and Don’t Divulge Information

First, remind both yourself and the arrested individual to stay calm. It’s important to think clearly as you proceed with next steps. If your loved one is speaking to you by phone, remind them not to say anything incriminating. The phone call is most likely being monitored and/or recorded and can be used against them later. They have the right to remain silent, and they should not divulge any unnecessary information before speaking with a lawyer. You can find out where the person is being held and what the charges are, but don’t ask for details.

Contact Us Immediately

If someone you love has been arrested and you need help now, contact us to determine how to proceed. We’ll work with you to ensure your loved one is released as quickly and painlessly as possible. Family helps family, and that is what you get when you come to us for help. We are a family-owned company and we understand the importance of family. Our bail agents will treat you like one of the family, and provide you with the best bail help available in the state of California. We will work quickly, and do our very best to make the bail bond affordable for you. After all, we want to help you and your family get through this stressful time as quickly and easily as possible.


Rioting consequences in california

Legal Consequences of Rioting

Rioting consequences in california

These days, it seems like every time you turn on the news, you encounter a story about a riot. Major cities throughout the United States are dealing with the fallout from riots. While everyone knows that riots are frightening and illegal, few of us understand what the legal ramifications are of getting caught in the middle of a riot.

If you’re upset about something, you have the right to start and/or participate in a protest. The catch is that for the protest to remain legal it has to be peaceful. You aren’t allowed to do anything that could be perceived as violent nor are you allowed to encourage others to participate in committing violence. The moment you do either of those things, you’re violating the law.

If you incite a riot in California you’re breaking California Penal Code 404.6 PC. You’ll violate this law whenever you:

  • Are actively engaged in a riot
  • Engage in acts of violence or force during a riot
  • Commit an act that results in property damage or results in burned property

It’s important to note that even if you didn’t attend the riot or you left before the police appear on the scene, you can still be charged. If the police learn that you knowingly engaged in behavior that inspired others to riot, you’ll be charged.

If you are convicted of rioting in California, you can be sentenced to a full year in county jail and be required to pay a $1,000 fine.

If you’re arrested for rioting, inciting a riot charges will likely be only one of the things you’ll have to worry about. In most cases, additional charges will be filed. These often include:

  • Property damage charges
  • Resisting arrest charges
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Refusal to disperse charges
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Unlawful assembly
  • Participation in a riot
  • Assault

If someone is killed during the riot, you could find yourself facing manslaughter, murder, and/or accessory to murder charges.

In addition to legal charges, you’ll likely be named as the defendant in any civil property damage case that makes it to court. Even if the property owner doesn’t file a lawsuit, their insurance company likely will.

If you’re attending or organizing a protest, pay careful attention to the overall mood of the participants. If you sense things are getting heated, do whatever you can to calm the situation. If you’re unable to stop the situation from escalating, at least make an effort to work with any law enforcement officers who are present. Your cooperation could be the ticket to proving that you never intended for things to get out of control.