The Truth About Doxing

The Truth About Doxing

The Truth About Doxing

While it’s possible you’ve never heard the term doxing, you’ve likely seen examples of it.

Doxing, which is a shortened version of dropping dox, refers to starting an online attack. It goes further than simply getting into a virtual argument with someone. If you’ve been involved in doxing personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, or personal documents were posted online.

While doxing is commonly associated with the internet, it actually predates the World Wide Web. The term was originally used in the early ‘90s. It was during this time that hackers learned how to use computers and personal information to steal identities and infiltrate businesses.

When doxing became a problem online, the big issue was that the doxers would reveal our real names on the websites where we’d created an anonymous identity. Even though most of us use our real names on our social media accounts, there is still quite a bit of information we don’t want to be revealed online. This is exactly the information doxers want to exploit.

What Type of Information is Considered Doxing

Doxers look for very specific information that they can use for their benefit, including:

✦ Bank account information
✦ Employment information
✦ Criminal history
✦ Home addresses
✦ Private correspondence
✦ Telephone numbers
✦ Personal photos (not the ones that we typically post online, but rather the ones we prefer to remain private)
✦ Social Security numbers
✦ Embarrassing personal details
✦ Credit card numbers

Is Doxing Illegal?

There’s no getting around the fact that doxing is immoral, but deciding whether it’s illegal is a tougher matter.

In 2017, federal lawmakers attempted to make doxing a federal crime, but the legislation failed to pass. In December 2020, the issue was once again raised. After a large number of state and federal lawmakers were threatened, some GOPs decided it was time to take another look at doxing. They proposed that it be included in the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017.

In California, there aren’t any laws that directly name doxing, but depending on the type of information that’s released, authorities could choose to pursue internet harassment charges.

Californians aren’t allowed to use electronic devices to:

✦ Intentionally make another person worry about their safety
✦ Share personal information in a harassing manner

If you’re convicted, you could be sentenced to one year in jail and/or charged up to a $1,000 fine.

If you know personal information about another person, it’s in your best interest to contact the person privately rather than post it on your Facebook page.

3 Common California Felonies

3 Common California Felonies

3 Common California Felonies

The state and federal law books are full of felonies, but court officers, lawyers, and police officers will quickly tell you that some felonies are common while there are others they’ve never encountered.

Here is a list of the most common felony arrests and convictions.

Felony Drug Crimes

There are so many different drug-related felonies that it’s easier to lump them into one category than to sort them out. It’s worth noting that in many cases if a person is charged with a drug-related crime, it’s likely that they’ve been charged with multiple different drug offenses.

Examples of drug-related felonies include:

✨ Possession
✨ Possession with intent to sell
✨ Distribution and Trafficking
✨ Cultivation/Manufacturing

It’s important to note that many of these charges are wobbler offenses, meaning in the right circumstances they could actually be misdemeanor charges. The amount and type of drug involved is what usually determines if the charge is a misdemeanor or felony.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is an extremely common felony. If you’re charged with aggravated assault, it means you either paired the assault with a death threat, or your victim suffered a serious injury during the incident. California Penal Code Section 245 makes it clear that using a firearm or another type of item that could be considered deadly is also aggravated assault.

A guilty conviction for felony aggravated assault can mean:

✨ Spending time in a state prison
✨ Probation
✨ Community service
✨ Losing the weapon you had during the assault
✨ A fine of up to $10,000
✨ Retribution

Aggravated assault is one of California’s three-strikes felonies.

✨ Up to $10,000 in fines
✨ Restitution
✨ Confiscation of the weapon (if it is owned by the convicted individual)
✨ Possible community service and/or a mandatory Anger Management course.

Arson

Arson is a surprising addition to the list. It simply doesn’t seem like it would be that common. However, a large bulk of arson cases are less about setting a fire and more about insurance fraud.

In California, arson is covered under California Penal Code Section 451 PC and California Penal Code Section 452 PC.

California law enforcement agencies have special task forces that deal with arson cases. These teams look at the fire and all of the circumstances surrounding the arson case. The process is often slow, prompting some people to think they got away with the fire, only to be charged years after the event.

If you’re convicted of an arson-related felony, the amount of time you serve in a state prison depends on where the fire happened, if anyone was hurt/killed, if the fire involved a knowingly inhabited structure.

Streaking in California

Streaking in California

Streaking in California

Streaking is one of those things that happens sometimes. It most commonly takes place at sporting events, but will sometimes also happen at political rallies, school graduations, and even completely randomly.

Streaking involves someone stripping off their clothing and, usually running, past a group of people. Most people consider it funny and will share stories and even pictures all over social media.

There is one group of people who don’t think that streaking is funny: California’s lawmakers. They prefer that everyone remain fully clothed while in public. If you’re caught streaking, the police will arrest you and charge you with indecent exposure. That is when the incident stops seeming like a fun prank and becomes an issue that could have a seriously negative impact on your future.

In California, streaking and indecent exposure is dealt with in California Penal Code 314 PC. It’s a misdemeanor charge which doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that in addition to a six-month jail sentence, a guilty conviction will result in your name being placed on the sex-offender registration for a full ten years. You’ll be registered as a Tier-One offender. Having your name on the sex offender list, even for something as harmless as streaking, can have a severely negative impact on your ability to find a job, secure housing, and participate in community events. You can also be charged up to $1,000 in fines.

Getting caught streaking once is bad. Getting caught a second time is far worse. The second time you’re charged with indecent exposure, you’ll face felony charges.

If your second streaking episode results in a felony indecent exposure conviction, the penalties are steep. They include:

✨ Spending up to three years in a state prison
✨ Lifelong registration on the sex offender list
✨ Being required to pay up to $10,000 in fines

Before you decide to go streaking, consider that there aren’t all that many good defenses you can use in indecent exposure cases. The two best defenses are that you didn’t intend to expose yourself to anyone, a difficult argument to make when after a streaking episode. The second most plausible defense is that it’s a case of mistaken identity, which will be a tricky argument if half the crowd you streaked in front of used their cell phone cameras to catch the event.

Considering the potential fall out from a single streaking episode, it’s in your best interest to stay fully dressed and let someone else do the streaking.

California’s Take on Arson

California’s Take on Arson

California’s Take on Arson

Many people are surprised by how many arson cases occur in California during a single year. It’s one of the state’s most common felonies.

It’s likely that the main reason so many people are surprised by the high number of arson cases the California courts deal with each year is that they tend to think of arson as something that’s committed by firebugs, or people who start fires because they like watching things burn. The truth is that many arson fires are actually tangled up with insurance fraud cases and are started by the same person who owns the now burned structure.

Investigating Arson Cases

Investigating arson is a time consuming and complicated process. Most law enforcement agencies have a dedicated team of arson experts who deal with arson cases. It’s not unusual for this to be a cross-agency team that includes police detectives and fire investigators.

One of the ways that arson cases differ from other types of crimes is that it usually doesn’t take long to investigate other types of felonies. Charges are often filed within weeks, sometimes even days, of the incident. Arson takes a long time to investigate. Not only does the arson team have to go over the scene with a fine-tooth comb, but they also spend a great deal of time investigating every single person involved in the case. It can take years before the case is closed and charges are filed.

The Consequences of an Arson Conviction in California

In order to be convicted of arson in California, the prosecution must prove that you acted maliciously when the fire was allegedly set. Proving their case involves the prosecution:

✦ Proving that the fire was deliberately set
✦ That you either started the fire yourself, or helped someone set the fire, or arranged for someone to set the fire

Malicious Arson in California

If the prosecution believes that you are guilty of malicious arson, you face a felony conviction. Malicious arson in California involves:

✦ Someone getting hurt as a direct result of the arson (this could include the fire crew who responded to the reports of a fire)
✦ If the burned building was a dwelling
✦ If a non-inhabited building/forest was deliberately set on fire
✦ If someone else’s property unintentionally caught on fire as a result of the arson

A guilty conviction for any of these charges will result in serving time in a state prison.

Disorderly Conduct in California

Disorderly Conduct in California

Disorderly Conduct in California

One of the problems with California’s legal system is that sometimes it’s difficult to know that you’re breaking the law. In many disorderly conduct cases, people think they’re just having a good time or being opinionated until the police show up. Sometimes people don’t even know what they’ve done until they hear the charges as the booking officer works through the paperwork.

What is considered disorderly conduct can vary from one state to another? Some cities even have different rules regarding what is and isn’t disorderly conduct.

In California, disorderly conduct is generally considered behavior that irritates, stresses, or alarms those around you. That doesn’t mean your little sister can file disorderly conduct charges against you each time you annoy her while you’re at home. However, if the pair of you are at a bar and you start shouting at her, the other bar patrons will likely call the police and you could be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Most disorderly conduct cases in California involve at least one person who is publicly intoxicated.

In addition to getting too wild while at the bar, California considers the following activities to be forms of disorderly conduct:

✨ Lewd/lascivious acts
✨ Soliciting
✨ Engaging in Prostitution
✨ Loud public arguments
✨ Invasion of privacy
✨ “Peeping”

Sometimes loitering can be an instance of disorderly conduct.

The Consequences of Disorderly Conduct in California

Disorderly conduct in California is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted and it’s a first offense, you could be sentenced to six months in jail and/or be charged a $1,000 fine. If you already have disorderly conduct charges on your record, the punishment could be more severe.

In some cases, disorderly conduct can be connected with additional charges, such as:

Simple assault
✨ Trespassing
Public Intoxication

Disorderly Conduct Defenses in California

Putting together a good defense case in California when you’re dealing with a disorderly conduct charge isn’t always easy. Some defenses that have been successfully used in the past include:

✨ Invoking Freedom of Speech
✨ That you were acting in self-defense
✨ That you were falsely accused
✨ That it was a domestic dispute (this is a tricky defense if you were in a public building at the time)

If you know that you tend to get loud and do rash things when you’re having a good time and drinking, it’s in your best interest to either stay home or make sure you go out with someone who can stop your behavior and help you regain control before anyone calls the police.

Public Intoxication Laws in California

Public Intoxication Laws in California

Public Intoxication Laws in California

Everyone knows that if you get behind the wheel and drive your car after you’ve had too much to drink that you’ll be arrested and have to deal with some serious legal consequences. What you might not know is that alcohol can get you into trouble even if you don’t plan on driving.

If you’re severely drunk (or under the influence of drugs) while in public, you could be charged with public intoxication in California.

The good news is that the police probably won’t arrest you just because you’ve had one too many and are walking home. However, if you’re the type of person who makes strange choices when you’re drunk, you’re night out could end with you getting locked in a jail cell.

In California, the police can arrest you if you for public intoxication if you’re in public and behaving in a way that could harm either yourself or others. Examples of this include darting into traffic, thinking you can use the side of a bridge as a balance beam, are standing in front of your ex’s place, and shouting.

In many cases, a public intoxication charge is paired with a disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct charges.

Public intoxication in California is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you could be sentenced to six months in a county jail and/or charged up to $1,000 in fines. If you did any damage while you were publicly intoxicated, you’ll have to pay for the damages.

Everyone responds differently to alcohol. If you’re the type of person who handles it well and doesn’t get crazy after a night of drinking you probably don’t have to worry about getting arrested for public intoxication. However, if you do make poor choices after drinking, you should stay at home when you’re drinking or you should make sure you only go out with people who stay level-headed and will get you home before you get into too much trouble.

When Does a Prank Go too Far?

When Does a Prank Go too Far?

When Does a Prank Go too Far?

Most of us have been involved in pranks, both as the person pulling the prank on another and as someone who has been pranked. In most cases, the pranks are fun and no one is emotionally or physically hurt, but there is always an exception.

The best indicator that a prank has gone too far is that the police have gotten involved. In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter if you were pulling a prank or if you deliberately set about to hurt someone. If a law was broken, you could end up in jail.

Most pranks attract legal attention because someone has gotten seriously hurt or property was damaged during the prank.

Here is a small sample of the type of pranks that could potentially get you into hot legal water.

Making Prank Calls

Prank calls seem harmless. You make a simple phone call, you confuse the person on the other end of the line, you have a good laugh. You can’t possibly get into trouble, right?

Wrong. Making a prank phone call to a friend or family member usually isn’t a big deal, but if you start calling strangers, you could quickly learn that not everyone thinks your funny. Depending on what you say or how many times you call, the person on the other end of the line might decide to contact the police and report that you’re harassing them. If the person pranking is tired of your antics, you could be charged with everything from disorderly conduct to harassment.

Wet Willies

Given that we’re currently in the middle of a pandemic, you should realize that most people don’t have much of a sense of humor when it comes to bodily fluid, or even being touched, so you should already know that giving someone a wet willie, which involves sticking your saliva covered finger in their ear is a bad idea. What you probably didn’t realize is that it will remain a bad idea even after the pandemic ends. If the person whose ear you insert your finger into objects to the act, they can contact the police and file assault charges against you.

Trespassing

Sneaking across a buddy’s yard and playing a prank on them might seem like big fun, but make sure anyone else who lives in the house won’t mind your prank. If they don’t know it’s coming or they fail to be amused, they can file trespassing charges against you.

If you’re planning on pulling a prank, it’s in your best interest and consider all the potential consequences of your actions and determine if the risk is still worthwhile.

Understanding Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Understanding Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Understanding Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon is basically what it sounds like. It means you are accused of assaulting someone and at the time you had something that could have been considered a deadly weapon. Like most legal issues, assault with a deadly weapon isn’t as simple as we would like it to be.

What is a Deadly Weapon?

The first issue that comes up during assault with deadly weapon trials is if the object was deadly. Most of us hear deadly weapons and we instantly think of things like guns and knives. We don’t usually realize that many of the things that are simply laying around your house could be considered a deadly weapon in the right situation. In the heat of the moment, a shoe, pen, heavy beer bottle, or dog leash could become a deadly weapon. There have even been situations when a person bit or clawed an opponent and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon due to the sheer amount of damage their teeth and nails did to the victim.

Why it’s Important to Understand What a Deadly Weapon is

Assault with a deadly weapon isn’t a simple thing in California, in large part because it’s one of the state’s wobbler laws. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

If you’re convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon you could spend the next four years in a state prison and be hit with up to $10,000 in fines. You’ll also probably have to go through a felony probation period.

If a gun is involved, the situation becomes even more complicated. If you have a simple handgun during the assault, the DA has the option of charging you with a misdemeanor. However, if the gun was a machine gun, an assault weapon, a semi-automatic, or a .50 BMG rifle you’re automatically hit with felony charges. If you’re found guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon that included one of the listed firearms, you could be sentenced to twelve years in prison.

Potential Defenses in Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Just because you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, that doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted. There are several, legal defenses you can use, including:

✨ Someone was mistaken and you weren’t in possession of a deadly weapon at the time of the assault
✨ You didn’t intend to use the weapon
✨ You acted in self-defense

Because assault with a deadly weapon in California is complicated, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced defense attorney as soon as you hear the charges.