porterville-bail-bonds6

What is a Bench Warrant?

porterville-bail-bonds6

California has three different types of warrants. Each one serves a different purpose. Search warrants and arrest warrants are the ones that most people are familiar with, mostly because they play huge roles in various procedural shows. The third type of warrant is called a bench warrant.

The majority of the warrants currently active in California are bench warrants.

While a bench warrant means you can be arrested if the police find you, they aren’t the same as an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant typically means you’re suspected of committing a crime or wanted for questioning in regard to a crime.

Bench warrants are typically issued because you failed to do something you were supposed to take care of. Common reasons bench warrants are sworn out include:

✽ You failed to report to a court date (a bench warrant can be issued even if you were supposed to be on the jury or serve as a witness)
✽ Failed to pay a court fine/traffic ticket
✽ Fell behind on court-ordered child support
✽ Failed to follow an order that demanded you vacate a property
✽ Broke the terms of your probation
✽ Etc.

Once a bench warrant has been sworn out for you, the police can choose to go to the last address they have on file for you. If you’re home, they can arrest you.

While there are instances where the police will show up at a person’s front door with a bench warrant in hand, a surprising number of bench warrant arrests happen because of traffic stops. When the police run a background check on the driver, information about the bench warrant pops up, and the police take the driver directly to jail.

It’s important to note that there’s no expiration date on bench warrants. They remain in effect until the person named on the warrant is arrested or they die.

In the long run, it’s in your best interest to deal with the bench warrant and the legal matter it involves on your time rather than waiting until you get arrested. The first step is finding out if a bench warrant has been issued for you.

Different ways to learn if you’ve been named on a bench warrant include:

✽Checking the sheriff’s or court’s website in the county where you think the warrant would have been issued
✽ Checking the Superior Court of California’s website
✽ Running a criminal background check on yourself
✽ Using the California Arrests Website

If a bench warrant has been sworn out for you, it’s in your best interest to contact a good lawyer and have them guide you through the process of dealing with the legal matter that led to the issuing of the bench warrant.

porterville-bail-bonds7

Penalties of Stealing Pets and Holding Them for Ransom

porterville-bail-bonds7

You love your pets and would do anything for them. Unfortunately, the world is full of people who know how much you value your pets and they want to benefit from your devotion. This isn’t about pet stores charging ridiculously high prices for toys, or breeders selling badly bred animals, or even dog clubs raising their training fees. This is about people who have no reservations about stealing a pet and holding them for ransom.

The issue recently came to light following the dognapping of Lady Gaga’s pet dogs. There is speculation that the dogs were deliberately targeted and that the end goal was to use them for ransom. It’s likely that thieves think that the police aren’t likely to become involved in these types of cases and that people will pay a great deal to have their pets returned.

It’s even likely that dognappers don’t plan on demanding a ransom. In most cases, the distraught owners promptly offer a sizeable reward for the return of their pets. In Lady Gaga’s case, she is offering a $500,000 reward in an effort to get her dogs back. While most dog owners can’t afford to offer that type of reward, a reward of a few hundred dollars can still be enough to convince someone that grabbing an unattended dog is worthwhile.

While you might think of your dog as a child, California’s legal system doesn’t. If your dog is stolen, and the dog is value exceeds $950, it’s considered Grand Theft.

According to Cal. Penal Code § 487e, 487f, 487g, 491, felony grand theft animal involves, “a person who feloniously steals, takes, or carries away a dog of another where the dog’s value exceeds $950.”

It goes on to state that, “If a person steals or maliciously takes an animal for purposes of sale, medical research, slaughter, or other commercial use, he or she commits a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 1 year or in a state prison.”

If the stolen dog isn’t worth at least $950, the individual who stole the animal can be charged with petty theft. A guilty conviction can include a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your pets healthy and safe. This includes taking steps to make them less appealing to thieves. Ways of doing this includes never leaving them outside unattended, not walking the same route each time you take them out, and getting them microchipped. As soon as your pet goes missing, you need to contact local vets, animal shelters, and the police.

At this point, there aren’t any clear penalties that would be associated with holding a pet for ransom.

porterville-bail-bonds

Domestic Violence in California

porterville-bail-bonds

Domestic violence is a complex crime so it shouldn’t come as surprise to learn that the laws dealing with domestic violence are equally complicated.

The first step in unraveling this complex system is knowing exactly what domestic violence is. California defines domestic violence as actions that either harm or threaten to harm an intimate partner.

It’s important to understand that there are sub-categories of domestic violence which include:

Domestic battery (actual physical abuse)
Domestic assault (the use of words or actions to threaten physical abuse)

It’s not unusual for domestic violence cases to involve both domestic battery and domestic assault.

California law is written in such a way that only a limited number of people can file domestic violence charges. At this point, domestic violence charges can only be filed by:

✦ Spouses
✦ Registered domestic partners
✦ Live-in lovers (also considered a cohabitant)
✦ Someone who shares a child with the accused
✦ Fiancées
✦ Someone who has been in a steady romantic relationship with the accused.

California law states that both current and former domestic partners can file domestic violence charges.

Many people are surprised to learn that domestic violence is one of California’s wobbler crimes. That means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. When the prosecutor is looking at the case, they consider many variables when deciding if they want to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges.

Considerations include:

✦ Circumstances surrounding the incident
✦ How badly the victim was injured
✦ The accused’s criminal past
✦ The couple’s history (have there been numerous reports of domestic violence)

If convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault, the accused could spend a year in county jail. If convicted of felony domestic assault, they could be sentenced to four years in prison.

The punishment for misdemeanor domestic battery includes a year in county jail and a $2,000 fine.

porterville-bail-bonds2

Documenting a Car Accident

porterville-bail-bonds2

If you haven’t been in a car accident yet, you should consider yourself lucky. Considering how much time we spend behind the wheel, the odds are good that sooner or later you’ll be involved in one. Because of the likelihood of getting into a car accident, it’s important to know what the proper protocol is during an accident.

The first thing you need to do is make sure neither you nor anyone else is hurt. If there are injuries, call for medical help and do as much first aid as possible. During this, you should also contact the police.

When there are injuries, dealing with those should always be your first priority. Let the police handle writing up the details of the accident.

If there aren’t any injuries, you should still call the police, but while you’re waiting for them to arrive on the scene, take some time to create your own documentation of the accident. Thanks to the installed camera inside your smartphone this is easier than ever. All you have to do is whip it out and start snapping photos.

Having clear accident scene photos is extremely important. Unlike a police report that can be dismissed by a judge as hearsay, the photos you snap at the accident can be used during a civil trial. Your insurance company might even use them as they try to determine how the accident happened and who is at fault. The photos also help provide proof of who actually witnessed the accident.

When you’re snapping photos, you’ll want to take pictures of both vehicles, anyone who is standing nearby, and the local landscape. Make sure you include shots of road signs, objects that could have helped cause the accidents, intersections, and traffic lights.

As soon as you can, sit down and write your own account of what happened in the moments leading up to the car accident. You should do this even if you believe the accident was your fault. Once you’ve completed writing your own report, save it and the photos you snapped somewhere safe. It’s really in your best interest to store copies in multiple places, such as one set in a cloud storage unit, a few more saved to various email locations, and maybe a hard copy in your filing cabinet.

You need to keep the photos and your account of the accident for a full two years. After two years, California’s statute of limitations for car accidents kicks in and you’ll no longer have to worry about a civil lawsuit.