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Can You Go to Jail for Online Scams?

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If you’re wondering if you can go to jail for instigating an online scam, the answer is yes.

If you wondering if you absolutely will go to jail for an online scam you’ve run, the answer isn’t as clear.

The first thing you need to understand is that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re using a dishonest method for getting money out of people, you’re running a scam and that is always illegal. It doesn’t matter if you managed to acquire $20 or $20,000, the scam was still illegal. If the police catch on to what you’re doing and have enough evidence, you will be charged.

The types of internet crimes individuals have been charged with in California include:

Phishing
Online credit card fraud
Romance scams
Ponzi schemes
Greeting card scams
Bank loan scams
Identity theft scams
Craigslist scams
Etc.

The amount of money you collected via the online scam will influence whether you’ll go to jail if you’re convicted and also how long you’ll be imprisoned.

If the scam had minimal financial consequences, it’s likely that you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. While the sentencing could include a year in jail, the judge may decide that you only have to pay a fine or do community service. You could also be placed on probation.

If you acquired a larger sum of money, it’s likely you’ll be charged with a felony. In that case the likelihood of you being sent to jail increases. If you’re convicted, the consequences could include being sentenced to time in a state prison, massive fines, and felony probation. The number of victims involved in the scam as well as your criminal history can also play a huge role in how much time you spend in jail as a result of internet crimes.

A stint in jail will likely be only one of the hardships you face following a guilty conviction for perpetrating an online scam. It’s likely that your victims will decide to file civil suits against you as well.

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What Should You Do if You Hit an Animal on the Road in California?

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Car vs. animal accidents are all too common in the United States. It’s estimated that cars striking animals results in 29,000 injuries to people and 200 human fatalities. Insurance companies payout billions of dollars in animal-related claims every single year. Many of these accidents happen in California.

In most cases, there is nothing you can do to avoid hitting the animal. Dogs, raccoons, rabbits, and deer often dart across the road with no warning at all. While you can hit your brakes, the last thing you want to do is swerve, which can often make a bad situation even worse.

Once you’ve gotten over the shock of striking the animal, you have to decide what to do with it.

The first thing to do is get yourself off the road. Pull well onto the shoulder and quickly assess yourself and your passengers and make sure no one is hurt. If someone was injured, contact 911 right away and arrange for an ambulance to pick up the injured parties.

Next, you want to call the local police department. While it’s okay to get out of the vehicle and see if the animal you accidentally struck is alive, you don’t want to touch them. Animals who have been struck by a vehicle don’t always behave in a sensible manner. They might not understand that you’re trying to help them.

When the police arrive they will help you decide what to do about the animal. In most cases, the best options are taking the animal to an emergency veterinarian or euthanizing the suffering animal. If you’ve struck a pet, the police should be able to help you track down the owner or at least let you know what shelters to alert.

Make sure you get a police report. You’ll need it when you file a claim with your auto i/em>.

In terms of who is financially responsible for the damage done to your vehicle in an animal/vehicle incident, the answer varies depending on what type of animal you struck. In the case of wildlife, it’s usually the state that accepts the blame. In the case of pets and livestock, the animal’s owners are usually to blame because they failed to properly contain the animal.

There are some exceptions to who is to blame for animal/vehicle accidents. If an investigation reveals that you were driving too fast for the conditions, were under the influence, or were looking at your cell phone rather than paying attention to the road, the police report could indicate that you were to blame which could cause the insurance company to deny your claim.

Car/animal accidents are dangerous which is why it’s important to remain alert while driving.

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California’s Most Common Traffic Citations

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There are a lot of different types of traffic citations you can be issued in California, but there are some citations that are seldom given and some that happen all the time. When you look at the types of traffic citations California’s police officers issue, you really start to get an accurate picture of the average Californian’s driving habits.

Speeding Tickets

The most common traffic citation issued in California is for speeding. Going just a few miles over the speed limit is all the justification a police officer needs to pull you over.

California has speed limits. Exceeding the limits can result in a ticket. The absolute speeds limits in California are:

✨ 55 miles per hour on all of California’s two-lane, undivided highways
✨ 65 miles per hour on freeways and other highways

If the road has a higher posted speed limit, you’re allowed to drive that fast. An example of this is the freeways that are posted at 70 miles per hour.
It’s important to remember that if driving conditions are less than desirable, a police officer can pull you over and issue you a speeding citation even if you’re going the posted speed. The reason for this is because you’re supposed to adjust your speed for the road conditions. That means, if there’s dense fog and your driving 55 on a two-lane undivided highway, a police officer could issue you a speeding ticket and claim that you were driving too fast for the current conditions.

Using a Cell Phone While Driving

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking, taking a picture, or sending a quick text, if a California police officer sees you using your cell phone while you’re driving, they will likely issue you a citation. The only way you can use your phone while driving is if it’s set up in a way that doesn’t require you to use your hands at the same time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers using a cell phone while you’re behind the wheel the leading cause of distracted driving incidents. Considering that 3,142 people lost their lives in distracted driving incidents in 2019 it’s not surprising that California has created expensive cell phones and driving tickets.

The first time you’re ticketed for driving and using a cell phone, the ticket will cost you $148. Each ticket you get for the same violation after that will cost $256.

While adults are allowed to use a hands-free cell phone system while driving, teenage drivers aren’t. Any driver under the age of 18 is not allowed to use a cell phone in any way while they are behind the wheel.

Failure to Stop

It seems like a pretty simple concept. When the traffic light turns red or you come to a stop sign, you stop the vehicle. Yet, failure to stop at lights and stop signs is one of the most commonly issued traffic citations in California.

What gets most drivers into trouble isn’t that they totally ignore the stop, but rather that instead of coming to a complete halt, they do what is called a rolling stop and then go through the intersection as soon as they see that there aren’t any cars coming. Many drivers don’t even realize that they haven’t stopped completely.

The best way to avoid getting a failure to come to a complete stop ticket is by making sure you remain at the stop sign for a full five seconds before continuing your journey.

Tailgating Other Drivers

Tailgating other drivers is a major problem in California, in large part because there is so much traffic. Tailgating is driving directly behind the car in front of you without giving yourself an adequate amount of space to avoid trouble if the lead car suddenly breaks.

The problem with tailgating is that not only does it increase the odds of you getting into an accident, but it can also make the driver of the car your tailgating nervous, causing them to make a mistake that leads to an accident.

If you’re pulled over for tailgating, the ticket and associated court costs will come to $238.00.

Reckless Driving

In all fairness, reckless driving is a catchall phrase that covers a variety of issues. Most police officers will issue a reckless driving ticket whenever they feel you’ve done something that could have created an accident.

Not only are the fines connected to all of these California traffic citations steep, but you could also see your car insurance premiums increase after you’ve been issued a ticket. The good news is that as long as you drive defensively and use good judgment, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting ticketed.

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Health Care Fraud in California

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Health care fraud is an issue that has been getting a great deal of attention lately. Since there are so many different aspects of health care fraud, it’s difficult to know exactly how big an issue it really is.

Health care fraud is a blanket term that’s used to describe businesses, organizations, and even individuals who do something to misrepresent their health care situation. Examples of health care fraud could include a business that charges for services that aren’t actually rendered, or someone who claims to have a medical condition but doesn’t, or deliberate coding problems that are designed to change claims/bills.

California’s Department of Health and Care Services is aware that health care fraud is a major problem and would like to stop it in its tracks. They are particularly concerned about Medi-Cal fraud and urge anyone who suspects they are being used in a fraudulent claim to contact DHCS Medi-Cal Fraud Hotline at 1-800-822-6222.

The DHCS has created a task force that is trained to handle all health care fraud allegations. The task force looks at all the tips they receive through different sources and identifies the ones they feel are the most concerning. These are the first cases they’ll investigate.

If the case merits additional investigation, the case is turned over to the Audits and Investigations offices. The investigation is detailed and methodical. Records are analyzed, witnesses give statements, data searches are initiated, and many claims undergo intensive scrutiny.

If the investigation uncovers enough evidence of health care fraud, the case will be turned over to the California Department of Justice who will determine if charges will be filed.

The exact consequences connected to health care fraud vary are as varied as the actual cases.

Businesses are often issued a court order that requires them to repay all of the money they collected by overbilling providers. If the business is allowed to retain its operating license, they will likely be required to submit to pre-payment reviews for an indefinite period of time. Most businesses will be required to appear before California’s licensing boards and could potentially lose their operating license.

It’s not uncommon for businesses that are convicted of health care fraud to be court-ordered to not only repay the money acquired via the fraud but to also be required to pay up to three times the financial amount of the money owed to the fraud victims.

Most businesses/individuals who are found guilty of health care fraud in California will be required to pay court-ordered legal fees and will also likely face civil charges and fees as well.

In many cases, individuals who perpetrate a health care fraud scam and who are convicted of health care fraud face imprisonment.

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Resisting Arrest charges In California

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Resisting arrest is one of those strange charges that people often think is unfair, in large part because it’s a discretionary charge that can make the police appear inconsistent.

What is Resisting Arrest?

If you think that bolting and running when the police pull out the handcuffs and start reciting the Miranda Rights is an example of resisting arrest, you’re absolutely right. What you might not know is that there are other, far more subtle, things you can do that could result in you being charged with resisting arrest.

Different things the police can consider to be grounds for a resisting arrest charge include:

✦ Refusing to put your hands behind your back when they’re ready to cuff you
✦ Providing false information that’s designed to conceal your identity when you’re questioned by the police
✦ Going limp when the police officers ask you to get into the car
✦ Pretending you don’t hear a request made by a police officer
✦ Getting into a verbal or physical argument with the officer when they’re preparing to arrest you
✦ Shutting the door in a police officer’s face when they’re attempting to arrest/question you

Basically, if a police officer feels that you’ve done something that makes their job more difficult, they can decide to charge you with resisting arrest.

Can You Still be Charged with Resisting Arrest After the Original Charges are Dropped?

One of the strange things about resisting arrest charges is that they don’t depend on additional charges. A resisting arrest charge is completely separate from whatever the original charge/crime that originally directed the police’s attention to you. This means that even if all of the other charges are dropped, you can still be charged with resisting arrest.

How Serious is a Resisting Arrest Charge?

The California legal system considers resisting arrest to be a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, the maximum sentence you can receive is a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. It’s not unusual for judges to simply sentence you to summary probation following a resisting arrest conviction.

Individuals who have a history of resisting arrest are far more likely to receive the maximum sentence than individuals who have never before been charged with resisting arrest.

Can you Fight a Resisting Arrest Charge in California?

A resisting arrest charge isn’t something you simply have to accept. You can fight the charge.

The first step in fighting a resisting arrest in California charge is acquiring the services of a good criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will look at your case and determine what the best possible defense is.

Commonly used defenses include:

✦ The police used excessive force during the arrest and what they interpreted as resisting was really self-defense on your part
✦ That no one was harmed as a result of your actions,
✦ That the original reason for the arrest was unlawful or unsubstantiated

When all is said and done, the only thing resisting arrest does is make your current legal situation even more complicated, so it really is in your best interest to stay calm, cool, and collected and simply follow the police officer’s instructions when they’re questioning and about to arrest you.

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Criminal Trespassing in California

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When you read through California Penal Code Section 602 you’ll learn that it’s illegal to come onto someone’s property without the owner’s permission. While this doesn’t mean you’ll face criminal charges each time you have to use someone’s driveway to turn around or when you stop in at a neighbor’s home to inquire about a lost pet, it does give the property owner the right to tell you that you’re not welcome on the property.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if you’re on someone else’s property and they request that you leave, failing to do so right away gives the property owner the right to call the police and file trespassing charges against you.

Refusing to leave a hotel or restaurant is another way trespassing charges can be filed against you.

Don’t assume that just because a person’s property is a business, that you can’t potentially be charged with trespassing. There have been cases of people who have gotten into a dispute with business owners/employees/other customers being arrested for trespassing after they entered the business and did things like harass people or refused to leave.

The majority of the trespassing cases that make their way through the California court system or considered misdemeanors. The maximum sentence for a guilty conviction is six months in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

It’s important to understand that it’s not uncommon for trespassing to be added to a list of additional charges that can include violating a personal protection order, property damage, assault, etc. When a judge looks at the additional charges they could decide to hand out a maximum sentence. If the trespassing charges look relatively minor and nothing indicates that you’re a habitual offender, the sentence could be minimal.

Aggravated Trespassing in California

Aggravated trespassing is an exception to the idea that all California trespassing cases are misdemeanors. Aggravated trespassing in California is one of California’s wobbler crimes.

According to Penal Code Section 602, aggravated trespassing in California takes place when a trespasser, “makes a credible threat to cause serious bodily injury to someone else with intent to place them in reasonable fear of their own safety or safety of their family, and who within 30 days of the threat, unlawfully enters their residence, property, or workplace with the intent to carry out the threat.”

If you’re convicted of felony aggravated trespassing, the sentence could include 16-21 months in prison, felony probation, and a $10,000 fine.

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The Dangers of Distracted Driving in California

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Everyone always talks about how horrible drunk driving is but far less is mentioned about the dangers and repercussions of distracted driving, which is as dangerous and even more common than drunk driving.

Distracted driving in California isn’t a new thing. For as long as people have been getting behind the wheel of automobiles, there have been distracted drivers. Examples of distracted driving include:

✽ Daydreaming
✽ Arguing with passengers
✽ Rubbernecking
✽ Trying to pick up a candy bar you’ve dropped
✽ Changing radio stations
✽ Using your cell phone

Distracted driving can result in a number of things going wrong. A single second of distracted driving can result in:

✽ Weaving in and out of your lane
✽ Striking another car/pedestrian
✽ Missing a road sign
✽ Running a red light
✽ Etc.

Over the past twenty years or so, distracted driving has become a much bigger problem. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association indicates that distracted driving results in approximately 1,000 injuries every single day and approximately 9 deaths a day. Many of these distracted driving accidents involved a cell phone.

In California, when someone is pulled over for distracted driving and issued a citation, the ticket usually doesn’t say distracted driving, even though that’s usually the cause of the incident. The ticket usually states the effect. For example, if you were playing with your dog who was in the shotgun seat and run a red light, the ticket will likely state reckless driving or failure to yield rather than distracted driving.

If your distracted driving results in an injury or death to another person, the citation may be the least of your worries. When someone is hurt or killed as a result of a distracted driving episode, you could find yourself acting as the defendant in a civil case.

In an effort to lower the number of distracted driving incidents in California, the state has introduced the Just Drive campaign. The idea of the Just Drive campaign is to educate/remind drivers about the dangers of using a cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. Everybody involved in the campaign hopes that the program will remind drivers about how deadly answering a single text or taking a long call can be.

California’s “Just Drive” campaign is quite similar to earlier efforts to reduce the number of drivers who use their cell phones while they’re behind the wheel, but this campaign is geared specifically towards younger drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 24.

In California, you’re not allowed to have your cell phone in your hand while you’re driving. While everyone would prefer it if you simply didn’t use your cell phone at all during your commute, you are allowed to use it provided it’s set to hands-free mode, mounted on your dash or windshield, and can be turned on and off by a single finger touch.

The best way to avoid being the cause of a distracted driving incident is to keep your eyes and mind on the road.

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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
✨ Etc.

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 no a legal recreational drug in California, there are no drug cultivation laws involving marijuana in California. 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.