Is There a Difference between These 3 Crimes?

Is There a Difference between These 3 Crimes?

Is There a Difference between These 3 Crimes?

When it comes to legal stuff, there is a lot that the general public doesn’t know, and it’s understandable. Anyone who has ever tried to read a law before has come face to face with the seemingly cryptic language known as legalese. That stuff is not easy to understand and so it’s only natural that people don’t have a perfect understanding of the thousands of laws in existence here in California.

A common misconception is that theft, burglary, and robbery are all the same crime. However, they are not. The law views each one differently. Each crime has specific circumstances tied to it that helps distinguish it from the others.

What Is Theft in California?

Theft is defined under California Penal Code (PC) 484 as the wrongful taking of someone else’s property. This can be done in a number of ways, such as taking an item, or money, when no one is looking or lying to get someone to hand over an item or money.

This crime is broken up into two categories, petty and grand. Which category a person falls into depends on the monetary value of what was stolen. If the monetary value of the stolen goods is under $950, then the thief will be charged with petty theft. If the monetary value is over $950, then the person will face grand theft charges.

The consequences for theft are dependent on which version a person has been accused of. For petty theft, a person faces misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If the person has been charged with grand theft, they can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, a person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • If grand theft is charged as a felony, a person faces:

    • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
    • A max fine of $10,000.
    • What Is Burglary?

      Burglary is defined by PC 459 as entering a structure or vehicle with the intent of committing a crime. As far as this law is concerned, a person is guilty as soon as they enter the building or vehicle, regardless if they actually stole anything after that. All this law is concerned with is entering a place with the intent of committing a crime.

      As with theft, burglary is also broken down into two categories: first- and second-degree burglary. First-degree burglary occurs when a person burglarizes a residence. Second-degree burglary occurs when a person burglarizes a commercial building.

      This law is a wobbler, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How it is charged depends on the facts of the case. First-degree burglary is always charged as a felony and comes with:

      • 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison.
      • A max fine of $10,000.
      • Felony probation.

      Second-degree burglary can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a felony it carries the following consequences:

      • Up to 1 year in jail.
      • A max fine of $1,000.
      • Misdemeanor probation.

      When charged as a felony, the crime comes with:

      • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
      • A max fine of $10,000.
      • Felony probation.

      What Is Robbery?

      In California, the crime of robbery is defined under PC 211 as taking something from someone’s immediate presence against their will through the use of force or fear. Basically, this means that a person took something from someone by force. An example of this crime would be using a gun to take a woman’s purse from them.

      Again, as with the other 2 crimes, robbery can be broken down into two categories: first- and second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery occurs when one of the following is true about the case:

      • The victim was driving some sort of motor vehicle.
      • The crime took place in some sort of residence.
      • The victim had just visited an ATM.

      Second-degree robbery occurs when a robbery doesn’t meet any of the above qualifications.

      First-degree robbery is a felony that comes with:

      • 3, 4, or 6 years in state prison.
      • A max fine of $10,000.
      • Felony probation.

      Second-degree robbery is also a felony, and it comes with:

      • 2, 3, or 5 years in state prison.
      • A max fine of $10,000.
      • Felony probation.

      They Are Different

      When written out in plain English, it is easy to see the differences between these crimes. Theft is stealing something, robbery is forcibly stealing something from a person’s immediate possession, and burglary is entering a structure with the intent of committing a crime. Burglary doesn’t have anything to do with stealing at all.

      The consequences that a person faces depends on which crime the person has been accused of. Theft has much lighter consequences than robbery does due to the nature of the two crimes. Robbery is inherently more violent and threatening. Meanwhile, burglary consequences can be a bit light, but that is likely due to the fact that a person will probably face other charges on top of the burglary charge.

      The bottom line is, even though the general public views these terms as synonymous, they are actually distinctly different.

What Is Criminal Conspiracy?

What Is Criminal Conspiracy?

What Is Criminal Conspiracy?

Everyone knows that there are certain actions out there that they can do that will be considered a crime. A person can’t take someone else’s car, break into a house, or create fake money without getting into trouble with the law. However, there are some crimes out there that people aren’t aware of, but they are still just as illegal.

Something that many people may not be aware of is that it is actually illegal just to plan to commit a crime. Even if the crime is never committed, a person can get into trouble for conspiring to commit the crime in the first place.

What Is Penal Code 182?

Here in California, this crime is defined under Penal Code (PC) 182 as two or more people agreeing to commit a crime and one of those persons committing an act to further the crime. What this means is that if two people talk about robbing a store and then one of them buys ski masks to conceal their identities while robbing the store, they are guilty of criminal conspiracy.

This crime is interesting in that it does not require the people to actually commit the crime to be considered guilty. In the above example, the people are guilty of criminal conspiracy regardless of whether or not they actually rob the store. Even if they thought better of the idea and decided not to rob the store, they still actively conspired to do so.

It is important to note that a person cannot be guilty of this crime if they never actually intended to commit the crime. If they were just joking around, they are not guilty of criminal conspiracy.

The Penalties for Criminal Conspiracy

Criminal conspiracy is what is known as a wobbler offense here in California. This means that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. The penalties that a person faces for committing this crime are dependent on what crime the person conspired to commit. If a person is conspiring to murder someone, then they will face the same penalties as if they had committed the murder.

Basically, if a person conspires to commit a felony, they will face felony charges.

However, the same doesn’t hold true for when a person conspires to commit a misdemeanor. If a person conspires to commit a misdemeanor, they could face either felony or misdemeanor charges. It all depends on the facts of the case.

In addition to facing the actual penalties for conspiring to commit a crime, anyone accused of criminal conspiracy can face charges for the conspiracy and for the actual act if they go through with it. This can drastically increase the jail time and fines that a person will face.

The Difference between a Joke and the Real Deal

Sometimes people joke around about committing crimes like but never intend to actually commit those crimes. Everyone has a good laugh and then moves on with their lives. In these instances, no one is guilty of criminal conspiracy because they never actually intended to commit the crime.

When people are serious about wanting to commit a crime and begin planning it, going so far as to begin prepping for said crime, then they are guilty of criminal conspiracy. That is when they can get into real trouble with the law.

Thieves Are Stealing Parts Off of Cars

Thieves Are Stealing Parts Off of Cars

Thieves Are Stealing Parts Off of Cars

Cars that remained parked for long periods of time, which is pretty common at the moment, offer plenty of opportunities for crooks because they are always looking for easy targets. However, car theft isn’t the only thing to worry about. Some crooks prefer to just take parts off of idle vehicles. These crimes are less noticeable, giving the thief plenty of time to get away and perform the same crime again on another vehicle.

A crime that is seeing a rise is the theft of a particular vehicle part called a catalytic converter. This part helps a vehicle’s exhaust system reduce the amount of harmful emissions the engine creates. It does that by causing chemical reactions between the emissions and certain precious metals such as platinum and palladium. These metals are very valuable, and thieves know that.

Theft in California and Its Penalties

The crime of theft in California can be broken into two categories: Grand theft and petty theft. The difference between these two is the value of whatever was stolen. Grand theft occurs when a person steals something valued at over $950, or a bunch of items whose combined value is over that amount. Petty theft is pretty much the same, except the value of the stolen goods is less than $950.

This begs the question, what is a person who stole a catalytic converter guilty of, Petty theft or grand theft?

The cost of a catalytic converter can fluctuate greatly between vehicles. The cost of this part can range anywhere from $100 to $2,500. Due to California’s strict emission guidelines, cars in the state have to have more advanced catalytic converters installed, which translates to they cost a whole lot more here than they would in most other states.

This means that a person could potentially face charges of grand theft after stealing only one catalytic converter. They could also just face petty theft charges. The more times the person commits the crime though, the worse their consequences will be.

Petty theft is a misdemeanor crime in California. The penalties for committing petty theft are:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

Grand theft is a wobbler crime in California, meaning that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the facts of the cases. As a misdemeanor, the penalties for grand theft are:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

As a felony, the penalties increase to:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

How to Tell If the Catalytic Converter Was Stolen

Noticing that the catalytic converter on a vehicle has been stolen will be a lot easier than people realize. They might not see anything different as they approach their vehicle, but once they start it, they will hear the difference.

The catalytic converter is a part of a vehicle’s exhaust and muffler system. This system removes the engine exhaust from the vehicle and helps muffle the sound of the engine while it is running. Taking out the catalytic converter puts a hole into this system, which means the car will be much louder while it is running.

In addition, most new cars have electric sensors in the catalytic converter. The vehicle’s computer system will detect that it is not getting any information from those sensors and activate the check engine light. These missing sensors will also affect how well the engine runs since they help it run more efficiently. This means that the car will run, but it won’t be as smooth as it normally is.

How to Keep Your Car Safe

Thieves are always looking for easy targets. They want to find taller vehicles, ones with a lot of room underneath them, which makes accessing the catalytic converter easier. They also want to find vehicles that have been sitting unattended for long periods of time, such as vehicles left at a car park.

The best ways for a person to keep their car safe include always parking in well-lit areas close to buildings. This way, more people will be looking at the car making it a less-than-ideal target for thieves. A person should always try to park their car in their garage and keep the garage door shut so no one can just waltz right on in.

Some more advanced precautions include getting the catalytic converter welded to the frame of the vehicle thereby making it harder to steal. Also, try engraving the vehicle identification number (VIN) onto the catalytic converter so that it can be identified if stolen.

Sadly, just because a part is attached to a vehicle doesn’t mean that it is safe from theft. There are plenty of thieves out there who are more than willing to unbolt or even cut a part off of an unattended vehicle. If people follow the above tips, they should be able to avoid getting into any trouble.

US Counterfeiting Laws

US Counterfeiting Laws

US Counterfeiting Laws

Money is a very precious resource that everyone spends a lot of time trying to get. After all, this is why everyone goes to work five days a week. It is safe to assume that if people weren’t getting paid, then they wouldn’t go to work. That being said, money isn’t easy to get, but everyone needs it to pay bills, purchase food, and hopefully have some leftover for something fun.

Since money can be so difficult to earn, some people try to take shortcuts in order to get more for themselves. One particular way that they do this is by making their own money. This seems like such a simple thing, a person printing their own money, but as many correctly assumed, it is very illegal.

Why Counterfeiting Is Bad

The idea of simply making more money so everyone can have enough sounds like a simple solution to poverty, however, it is not that simple. Basic economics shows that the more of something there is, the less valuable it is. This is why dirt is considered worthless, because it is available everywhere, while diamonds are so valuable.

The same holds true for money. The more bills that the US Treasury prints, the less valuable they become. This devaluing is why the US Treasury only prints so much money. This is also why it is illegal for someone other than the US Treasury to print US money.

US Law On Counterfeiting

The crime of money counterfeiting is made illegal under 18 US Code § 471. This law states that anyone who intentionally makes, forges, counterfeits, or alters any obligation or security of the United States is guilty of counterfeiting. In this description, security is used to mean money. It, combined with obligation, also has the added benefit of including other valuable pieces of paper, including:

  • Treasury bills,
  • Federal Reserve notes,
  • Bonds,
  • Other financial instruments issued by the federal government.

This law makes it illegal to not only make counterfeit money but to knowingly use counterfeit money as well. If a person gets a counterfeit bill and tries to use it to purchase something or make a deposit in a bank, they can be charged with counterfeiting.

It is important to note that a person is only guilty of counterfeiting when trying to use a counterfeit bill if they know it is counterfeit. If a person unknowingly used the bill to try and but something because they themselves, thought it was real, they are not guilty. This is due to the fact that they did not intentionally try to defraud anyone.

The Penalties for Counterfeiting Money

Counterfeiting money is a very big deal and as such, the crime comes with some harsh consequences. Counterfeiting is a felony offense under federal law. If a person is charged with counterfeiting, they will face:

  • Up to 25 years in federal prison.
  • A max fine of $250,000.

If someone else, other than the person accused of counterfeiting, gains or loses money, then the defendant will face harsher consequences. This can include fines that are up to double the amount of financial gain or loss.

Don’t Print Your Own Money

Even though the thought of a person printing their own money may seem harmless, it is very illegal due to how it can devalue the money already in circulation. The US Treasury is in charge of printing all US money in order to help control its value. Anyone who tries to cheat their way into getting more money through counterfeiting is just causing problems.

Anyone caught printing counterfeit bills, or any other forms of US securities or obligations will face harsh criminal charges.

Transporting Marijuana in California

Transporting Marijuana in California

Transporting Marijuana in California

Nearly four years ago, Californians voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. That law went into effect in 2018 and as such, there is still some confusion about what is and isn’t legal when it comes to marijuana in the state of California. People are still unsure about what can and cannot get them into trouble when it comes to the drug.

While the drug is legalized for recreational use, it is heavily regulated. If a person doesn’t follow the rules and laws, then they can find themselves in some serious trouble even though they thought they were doing something legal. A big thing that people need to worry about when dealing with marijuana is transporting it.

Transporting and DUI

A big issue with transporting marijuana is the potential for DUI. A person is guilty of DUI if they drive a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in their system. This does include driving while high on marijuana.

As such, legal marijuana is subject to the same types of laws as alcohol. This means a driver cannot have an open container of marijuana in their vehicle. Marijuana also needs to be transported in the storage compartment of the vehicle, just like alcohol. Basically, if a person couldn’t expect to do something with alcohol in a vehicle, then they can’t do it with marijuana either.

A person caught driving high will face standard DUI charges.

Marijuana Possession and Transport Laws

When it comes to transporting the drug or someone keeping it on their person, they need to be careful. A person is only allowed to have so much marijuana in their possession at a time. If they have more than that legal amount, then they could face simple possession charges.

As far as California law is concerned, a person over the age of 21 can only have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, or up to 4 grams of concentrated cannabis, on them at a time. A person having any more than that in their possession at one time is illegal here in California. Having possession of the substance doesn’t just include the person holding the item. It can also include:

  • Being in a person’s home.
  • Being in a person’s car.

The person doesn’t have to actively be holding something to have possession of it, they just need to have the marijuana in a place where they have control. Under this definition, a person can get into trouble with the law if they legally buy more than 28.5 grams of marijuana from a licensed dispensary.

The only time a person can carry or transport more than the personal legal limit is when they are intending to sell it. The only time a person can legally sell marijuana in the state of California is when they have a license to do so.

Penalties for Having Too Much Marijuana

When a person possesses more than the legal amount of marijuana, they can face possession charges under Health and Safety Code (HS) 11357. This law dictates how much marijuana a person can have in their possession at any given time and where they are allowed to have.

Breaking this law is typically a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

The charges are reduced to infractions if the person is under the age of 18.

Transporting marijuana with the intent to sell it without a license is illegal under HS 11360. The consequences for breaking this law are typically misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

The charges can be upped to felony charges if a person has certain prior convictions that include:

  • Certain serious violent felonies.
  • More than 2 prior convictions of HS 11360.
  • The defendant knowingly attempted to sell marijuana to a minor.
  • Defendants who transported more than the personal legal limit of marijuana into California.

Transporting Marijuana across State Lines

As far as federal law is concerned, marijuana is still a schedule 1 hallucinogenic drug, making it very illegal. This means that even if a person follows all of the rules and regulations presented by the California government, they could still get into trouble at the federal level.

Transporting even legal amounts of marijuana can become a problem when a person tries to cross state lines or get onto a plane. As far as airports are concerned, once a person goes through TSA security checkpoints, they are on federal grounds. Federal law takes precedent over state law, which means a person can get into trouble for having any amount of marijuana on them. People should leave their marijuana at home if they plan on flying anywhere.

When crossing state borders, it is important to remember that not all states have legalized marijuana. Many still have the same rules and restrictions as set forth by the federal government. This means that getting caught bringing drugs into another state could have very disastrous consequences depending on the state.

Don’t Get Into Trouble with Marijuana

There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the recreational use of marijuana here in California. Part of this is due to the relative newness of the laws. Another part is due to the varying views on the drug across the country.

When looking at marijuana, a person is better off treating it the same way they would alcohol and cigarettes since it faces many of the same restrictions. It is also better to keep the marijuana here in California and not try to take it across state lines or into federally controlled areas, such as airports. As long as a person can do those things, they shouldn’t run into any trouble with the law.

What Happens If a Person Misses a Bail Payment?

What Happens If a Person Misses a Bail Payment?

What Happens If a Person Misses a Bail Payment?

Most people have a lot of questions and concerns when it comes to dealing with bail. This is largely because most people don’t know a whole lot about bail in the first place. After all, they never expected to need bail. Still, that doesn’t mean that someone they know will never get arrested. In California alone, thousands of people are arrested every single day.

One of the big concerns that people have when dealing with bail, is what happens when they miss a payment or miss a court date? Everyone understands that missing either one of those would not be good, but they aren’t sure exactly how bad it is. Does it lead to harsh consequences, or does the person just receive a slap on the wrist?

There Is a Contract

When a person posts bail with a bail bond, they sign an agreement with the bail agent. By signing the contract, the person is promising to go to all of their court dates. They are also agreeing to pay off the money they owe for the bail bond. Breaking a contract does have repercussions.

Just like with any other contract, once a person has signed it, they are expected to keep to their word. This means that there can be very harsh consequences if a person misses a payment or a court date. However, before anyone starts to panic, things aren’t always horrible if a person truly misses a payment or court date.

Was It an Accident?

The consequences of missing either a payment or a court date are largely dependent on why they were missed. For instance, at Porterville Bail Bonds, if it was a genuine accident that led to something being missed, and the client responsibly contacts their bail agent as soon as they realize the mistake, then things don’t have to be so severe.

At Porterville Bail Bonds, we understand that life is messy and things that were once certain can become uncertain very quickly. Maybe something happened that made the once manageable payments difficult. When it comes to missed payments, we can work with clients to re-evaluate their payment plan.

If a person missed their court date because they were held up in traffic, or they forgot, they need to talk to their bail agent right away. When someone misses their court date, the court can consider the bail forfeit and the bail agent will begin trying to get into touch with the person. As long as the agent can get in touch with the person, they can help them set up a new court date.

Both of these outcomes are only available if the person talks with their bail agent immediately.

The Person Ran

If the person purposefully missed a payment or court date because they are running, then things will proceed differently. First, whenever something is missed, the bail agent will immediately begin trying to talk to their client. This includes trying all known phone numbers for the person, as well as contacting friends and family members to try and get the person’s whereabouts.

If agents cannot get ahold of the person, then the worst will be assumed and investigators will be called in to begin searching for the person. The investigators sometimes referred to as bounty hunters, will track down the person and bring them into the proper authorities to be arrested. The chances of them being granted bail again will be a whole lot slimmer.

The expenses for tracking the person down will be charged to whoever ran. If they cannot pay it, then whoever signed for the bail bond will have to pay for those expenses.

Sometimes Things Happen

Missing a payment or a court date while out on bail can be a very big deal. The immediate thought is that the person ran away, however that isn’t always the case. More often than not it was a mistake or accident and the person is still trying to follow the rules.

If that is the case, Porterville Bail Bonds is more than willing to work with our clients. We know that sometimes things happen. As long as our clients talk with us, we will help them deal with their bail.

If people try to run from the court while out on bail, they can expect to be tracked down. Someone will find them and bring them back into custody. Running just delays the inevitable and makes the whole situation worse. Sooner or later, everyone gets caught and has to face what they did.

What Are Protester’s Rights?

What Are Protester’s Rights?

What Are Protester’s Rights?

One of the great things about living here in the United States is that people can always speak their mind. The First Amendment to the Constitution grants every US citizen the right to freedom of speech and peacefully protest. This way, if someone doesn’t like something that is going on in the world, they can speak out against it and try to make a change.

While this law is a great one, there is often a bit of confusion around it. Sometimes people find themselves being arrested for what they believe to have been them exercising their First Amendment Rights. This is especially common during protests. The problem is that some people don’t understand what is and isn’t protected, and so they may overstep and do something they think is protected when, in fact, it is considered illegal.

The First Amendment to the Constitution

The US Constitution is what gives us citizens our many rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution grants citizens freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the freedom of religion, and the right to assemble/petition. This is the amendment that gives people the right to protest when they are upset about something.

The Amendment was a part of the Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It was adopted into law in 1791 to protect the civil liberties of US citizens.

Where People Run Into Trouble

The problem that most people run into while protesting is that they start to break laws even though they think they are just exercising their right to free speech.

True, everyone has the right to free speech. However, no one is allowed to threaten the safety of others or to lie or slander other people. Threatening to hurt or kill people is never acceptable and is not protected under the First Amendment. Doing this will get a person arrested, and rightfully so. No one should ever be made to feel like their life is in danger. A protester is also not allowed to say things that could start a riot or other dangerous behavior.

People are allowed to gather and protest, as long as they do so safely and in designated public areas. Some acceptable places to protest include parks, sidewalks, public streets, public auditoriums, the steps of city hall, in front of government buildings, and on private property with the property owner’s permission. A person can protest in any of these locations without fear of arrest, so long as they are not exhibiting any unsafe behavior, such as blocking traffic.

Protesters still have to listen to orders given by peace officers whose jobs it is to protect people’s safety. Police officers are meant to keep people safe. If they are telling someone to stop acting in a dangerous manner, which can include disrupting traffic, disturbing the peace, or risking public health, the person needs to listen or they will be arrested.

A protester is allowed to peacefully express their opinions as long as they continue to follow other established laws. If they don’t do that, then they could be arrested for breaking those laws.

Laws Protesters Can Be Charged with in California

A person can get arrested while protesting if they start breaking laws. Some of the laws that are most commonly broken by protesters include:

  • Penal Code (PC) 148: Resisting arrest. A person breaks this law when they resist arrest or obstruct an officer from arresting someone else.
  • PC 403: Disturbing a public meeting. A person breaks this law when they willfully disturb or break up a lawful public meeting.
  • PC 409: Failing to disperse. A person breaks this law when they stay at a riot or other unlawful assembly after being told to leave by a police officer.
  • PC 415: Disturbing the peace. A person breaks this law when they play excessively loud music, start a fight with someone, or use offensive language meant to start a fight.
  • PC 602: Trespassing. A person breaks this law when they enter or remain on private property when they don’t have permission to be there.

Everyone Has Rights

Here in the US, is a person doesn’t like something, they have the right to say so. They have the right to try and peacefully convince others of their idea. However, they do not have the right to do whatever they want while protesting.

While a person is protesting, they must remember other peoples’ rights as well. People have the right to go about their daily lives peacefully, they have the right to not be threatened with violence, and everyone has the right to speak their mind, even if their opinion is different.

Is Street Racing Legal in California?

Is Street Racing Legal in California?

Is Street Racing Legal in California?

urrently, California roads are clearer than they have ever been in a very long time. After all, roads in California, especially those in Southern California, are notorious for being filled to the brim with bumper to bumper traffic. With so many people staying home, driving on state roads has been a lot more pleasant for those few instances when people have to go somewhere important.

Unfortunately, something this nice can’t exist without some people taking advantage of this. Some people are viewing these extra clear roads as chances to push the pedal to the metal. Unfortunately for these people, speeding and racing other vehicles on highways is still very much illegal in California. With less traffic on the roads, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers are ready and waiting to pull people over.

California’s Speed Contest Laws

Here in the state of California, street racing is considered an illegal act. A person who is caught street racing will face two different charges for the act.

The first charge a person will face comes under Vehicle Code (VC) 23109, speed contests. This law makes it illegal for anyone to willfully engage in a speed contest by driving a motor vehicle on any given highway. A speed contest is described as any instance where a driver is racing another vehicle or a clock.

Before anyone gets too excited, the term highway in this instance refers to any type of public street or property that is open to the public. This includes freeways, surface streets, and parking lots. The only places where people can legally race their vehicles have to be privately owned lands where the racers have permission to be.

The other law that street racers can get charged with is VC 23103. This is the state’s reckless driving law. Under this law, it is illegal for any individual to drive a motor vehicle with wanton disregard for the safety of people and property. In other words, it is illegal to drive a vehicle in a reckless way that could easily hurt someone or damage something. Driving at excessive speeds on roads not meant for racing is a perfect example of reckless driving.

What Are the Penalties for Street Racing?

The exact penalties that a person will face for street racing depend on what charges they face. Engaging in a speed contest is a misdemeanor offense here in California. If a person is charged with just VC 23109, then they will face the following for a first-time conviction:

  • Up to 90 days in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If a person has been convicted of speed contests before, then they will face harsher consequences:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • v A 6-month driver’s license suspension.

If a person is convicted of reckless driving under VC 23103, then they will face misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • 90 days in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If reckless driving caused a minor injury, then the person will face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If the reckless driving caused a serious injury to anyone other than the driver, then they can face felony charges that come with:

  • Up to 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

It is not uncommon for someone who is charged with VC 23109 to be charged with VC 23103 as well since speeding can be considered a form of reckless driving. If that is the case, then a person will face the combined effects of both charges.

Don’t Speed

Speeding and racing are both very dangerous acts. Just because the roads are suddenly clear does not mean that people can go out and start racing on them. There are still other people out on the road who could end up getting hurt because someone did something stupid.

Driving a car is a very big responsibility and people need to be aware of that. A driver’s decisions behind the wheel affect not only themselves but the other drivers and pedestrians around them. Making one bad decision could have disastrous consequences, and that is before the person is even arrested.

What Happens If You Steal a Trailer in California?

What Happens If You Steal a Trailer in California?

What Happens If You Steal a Trailer in California?

As the world battles the pandemic, most people are doing their very best to hunker down and avoid going out in public. This has led to some very interesting, and kind of creepy, scenes in cities. The usually bustling streets have become barren. Most people take that as a sign that they shouldn’t be out there. A select few see it as an opportunity.

Some places are seeing rises in theft as people remain locked down. Some crooks are taking the deserted streets as chances to commit crimes without being detected. Take for instance the recent theft of a Salvation Army trailer that was recently stolen in Houston, Texas.

Stealing from the Needy

Normally, the theft of a trailer is never a good thing. However, this one is particularly heinous in that the trailer was being used to provide aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trailer belonged to the Salvation Army of Greater Houston. They used the trailer to store food and disaster supplies and it would accompany their mobile kitchen while assisting in the local areas.

The trailer was reported missing on March 29th and has yet to be located. It is hard to believe that someone would steal something so important and needed during a time like this. Not only does this theft affect the Salvation Army, but it also affects everyone in Houston that the organization helps.

There are millions of people out there who are struggling to get a good meal during this pandemic and this trailer could have helped thousands of people.

The Difference between Grand Theft and Grand Theft Auto

Trailers fall into this weird gray area when they are stolen. They are licensed entities that are registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but they are not motor vehicles. This begs the question, is stealing a trailer grand theft auto?

According to California Penal Code (PC) 487(d)(1), Grand Theft Auto is defined as someone taking possession of someone else’s vehicle, valued at more than $950, to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle or deprive the owner of the vehicle for some time. The assumption with most auto theft is that the vehicle is worth more than the $950 threshold to qualify for grand theft.

Grand theft is simply defined as the act of taking something, valued at over $950, from someone else without their permission. This is explained under PC 487. The difference between grand theft and petty theft is simply the value of the items stolen. If the value is less than $950, then the charges will be petty theft. If they are above that limit then the charges will be grand theft.

Knowing both of these definitions, it is safe to say that the stealing of a trailer will be grand theft since chances are the trailer has a value of over $950. The crime, however, will likely not be charged as grand theft auto since that crime applies when a motor vehicle is stolen and trailers don’t have motors.

The Penalties of Grand Theft

Grand theft is a wobbler crime here in California. This means that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal record. When charged as a misdemeanor, a person will face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

When grand theft is charged as a felony, a person will face:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

If the crime was charged as grand theft auto, the person would face the same charges. However, if the person has been convicted of auto theft in the past, then they could face enhanced sentences for the crime.

Don’t Steal from Anyone

Stealing something is never a nice thing to do. More often than not, the victim of the crime will miss the stolen item greatly. In this instance, the theft of the trailer is so much worse. The Salvation Army used that trailer to provide needed food and aid to people in the community struggling from the effects of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown.

As the world faces this pandemic together, everyone should be aware of how they are affecting the community. This is a time where people need to stick together and help one another out, not hurt each other.

California’s Laws on Possession of Controlled Substances

California’s Laws on Possession of Controlled Substances

California’s Laws on Possession of Controlled Substances

For years now, schools have and other government agencies have been working hard to send the message to kids that drugs are bad. Drugs can mess with a person’s body and mind in all sorts of harmful or damaging ways. The worst drugs are either flat out illegal or limited to only be used when a person has a prescription.

Drugs that are restricted by the government are referred to as controlled substances. These substances can be restricted for any number of reasons. If a person is found to have one of these substances on them without a prescription, then they could end up in trouble.

Possession of Controlled Substances in California

Here in the state of California, Health and Safety Code (HS) 11350 makes it illegal for a person to have a controlled substance in their possession without a prescription.

Some of the substances regulated under this law include:

  • Cocaine.
  • Heroine.
  • LSD.
  • Vicodin.
  • OxyContin.
  • Codeine.

If a person has any of these, or certain other drugs, in their possession without a prescription then they are probably guilty of breaking this law.

As far as the law is concerned, a person has possession of a substance when they have control of it. The item does not have to be on them at the moment of discovery. For instance, if the substance is in the person’s car trunk or their closet, they still technically are in possession of it. This is because the person has control of that space. This also makes it possible for two or more people to possess a substance at the same time.

Another important aspect of this crime is that the person had to know of it. This means that the person had to have knowledge of the substance being in their possession and that the substance was some kind of drug or controlled substance.

What Are the Penalties for HS 11350?

HS 11350 is a misdemeanor offense here in California. This means that a person who is accused of this crime can face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Possible enrollment in a drug treatment program.

Under certain conditions, a person may face felony charges for breaking HS 11350. For instance, if the accused has a prior conviction for a sex crime or serious felony, then they could face felony charges. If they do, they are sentenced to up to 3 years in county jail.

Other Laws to Consider

HS 11350 is only concerned with a person possessing a controlled substance. If they use the substance, try to transport it, or to sell it, they could face additional charges under the following laws:

  • HS 11351 makes it illegal for a person to possess a controlled substance with the intent of selling it. This offense is a felony that can earn a person anywhere from 2 to 4 years in county jail and a $20,000 fine.
  • HS11352makes it illegal for a person to sell or transport a controlled substance. This is a felony offense that comes with anywhere from 3 to 9 years in county jail and a max fine of $20,000.
  • HS 11550 makes it illegal for a person to be willfully under the influence of a controlled substance or narcotic. This offense is a misdemeanor that comes with up to 1 year in county jail.

Don’t Use These Drugs

When it comes to controlled substances, there is usually a reason for their restriction. Many of these drugs can harm a person both mentally and physically if they are not used with caution. The fact that many of these drugs can also be addictive makes them even worse. This is why lawmakers made it illegal to use these substances unless they were necessary for a medical reason. Even then, when they are legally used, the usage is closely monitored.

These kinds of drugs can easily ruin a person’s life once a person becomes addicted. These laws exist to prevent that.