Is It Illegal To Brake Check?

Is It Illegal To Brake Check?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mug Shots Decorating Social Media Feeds? Not Anymore!

Mug Shots Decorating Social Media Feeds? Not Anymore!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Smoking in Your Car

Smoking in Your Car

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Social Media and Your Mental Health

Social Media and Your Mental Health

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

The positive side of social media is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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