Could the Three Strike Law Change?

Could the Three Strike Law Change?

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California’s three-strikes law has been around for a long time. Since its inception, the law has been hotly contested.

Fans of the three-strike law point out that it’s an excellent way to keep dangerous criminals off the streets. The same experts are also quick to point out that the individuals who run afoul of the three strike law know about the law and are also allowed to change their ways long before the three strike law comes into play.

Opponents feel that the law isn’t fair and that it could use a more arbitrary approach.

California’s three-strike law was initiated in 1994. At the time, the law was written in such a way that anyone who was convicted of a third felony had an instant 25 years to life sentence enhancement attached to their conviction.

The problem with the original three-strike law was that it meant some people who were only guilty of some pretty minor felonies were basically forced to spend the rest of their lives in prison. Not only did this not seem entirely fair, but it also put an enormous strain on both California’s prison system and the state’s budget.

Proposition 36 was introduced in 2012. The proposition made some significant changes to the original three-strike law. The first thing that happened was the idea that any third felony arrest should result in a lengthy prison sentence was changed to individuals who’d been convicted of “serious or violent” felonies.

The second thing Proposition 36 did was enable the justice system to take another look at a felon’s situation and revise the third-strike sentence they’d received if the third felony they’d been convicted of wasn’t considered violent or serious.

The result of Proposition 36 was that California saved an impressive $150 million a year. Ten years after Proposition 36, the three-strike law may get another overhaul.

There’s currently a committee looking at the current state of the three-strike law and evaluating its effectiveness and fairness. The committee is made up of a diverse group of people who have a solid understanding of California’s justice system. Committee members include legislative leaders, members of the academic world who specialize in law, lawmakers, state judges, and federal judges.

The committee claims that its ultimate goal is to work at developing and tweaking the three strike law until they have created a reasonable method that, “will significantly reduce unnecessary incarceration for thousands of Californians, reduce racial disparities in criminal sentencing, and save taxpayer dollars better spent on programs proven to improve public safety.”

The committee has taken a long look at several cases. In December of 2021, they presented an annual report to the California Legislature that included a detailed plan for expanded re-entry programs and a system that explored better options for individuals who suffer from mental health concerns that include treatment and education rather than a standard prison sentence.

It will be interesting to see if the committee ever reaches a point where they are in a position to put forth another proposition that invites voters to alter the current state of California’s three-strike law.

Mug Shots Decorating Social Media Feeds? Not Anymore!

Mug Shots Decorating Social Media Feeds? Not Anymore!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Considering a Fake Covid-19 Vaccination Card? Think Again

Considering a Fake Covid-19 Vaccination Card? Think Again

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Everyone has an opinion about the COVID-19 vaccination options. Some people have opted to ignore the entire debate and simply purchase a fake Covid-19 vaccination card. This card “proves” that you were vaccinated against the virus and will therefore be granted admittance to places that only allow vaccinated individuals.

If you’re considering purchasing a fake Covid-19 vaccination card, you should think again. While it might seem like nothing more than a piece of paper to you if someone finds out that you’re using the fake vaccination record and reports you, the incident could negatively impact the rest of your life.

A fake vaccination record isn’t exactly difficult to come by. Healthline reported that on August 13, 2021 border patrol officers who were working customs seized over 120 packages that contained an excess of 3,000 fake vaccination cards. The plan was to sell these records to people for a nice profit.

Based on that single raid, it’s likely that there are hundreds of thousands of fake vaccination records available in the United States.

While you might think that presenting a fake Covid-19 vaccination record is harmless, the FBI disagrees. The FBI doesn’t care whether you’re vaccinated, but they do want people to know that lying about their vaccination status and carrying a fake vaccine card is a federal offense. They even issued a press release about the topic in May of 2021.

A naturopathic doctor in northern California recently learned how serious the FBI is when it comes to fake vaccine records. Juli A. Mazi didn’t just have a fake vaccine card, she was selling them to patients. She has been charged with both wire fraud and providing false statements.

While it’s accepted that purchasing or selling a fake vaccine card is a federal crime, there is some debate about a suitable punishment. Many feel that the issue should be compatible with wire and mail fraud. If you’re convicted of either of those charges the potential sentence could include 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.

Don’t assume that the only way you’ll get into trouble is if someone gets sick because of your actions. You don’t have to contract COVID-19 or pass it on to another person to face federal charges. The very fact that you have a fake vaccination card is proof that intended to violate someone’s trust and are therefore breaking the law.

When it comes to your thoughts about the vaccination, it’s in your best interest to be honest about your vaccination status. Don’t try lying about it by purchasing fake vaccination records.

Say No to Wage Theft

Say No to Wage Theft

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When most of us think about theft and money, we think about pickpockets, muggers, credit card scams, and bank robbers. Few of us think about employers, mostly because that’s who is supposed to be giving us the money we live on. Yet, studies indicate that wage theft is a massive problem, one that is likely helping to cripple the economy. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 2012, combined robberies accounted for $139 million. During that same period, wage theft added up to $280 million.

California lawmakers have decided that enough is enough. 2022 is the year they’re cracking down on employers who engage in wage theft. The newly passed AB-1003 stipulates that any employer who is convicted of wage theft that amounts to more than $950 will be charged with grand theft. The maximum sentence for a grand theft charge is up to 12 months in jail as well as a fine of $5,000 and being required to make restitution.

In addition to the formal sentence, wage theft will also become a matter of public record, making it considerably more difficult for the employer to attract high-quality employees and maintain a loyal customer base.

Some defenses can be used in a wage theft case. The best defense is showing that the wage theft was the result of a simple mistake, such as software malfunctioning or an employee raise not getting properly entered into the system, and not a malicious act. It will help considerably if you can prove that if you already knew about the situation, that you were taking steps to correct the issue. Paying the missing wages as soon as you learn about the problem goes a long way towards showing you weren’t trying to commit wage theft.

When it comes to wage theft cases, the burden of proof will reside on both the prosecution and defense’s shoulders. It’s up to the prosecution to show that wages were withheld from the victim. The withheld wages have to be something that was genuinely promised to the employee, such as an agreed-upon hourly wage as opposed to a bonus the employee merely thought they deserved.

It’s up to the defendant to prove that any withheld wages weren’t deliberately denied to the employee.

The way AB-1003 is written wage theft occurs whenever an employer takes steps to restrict an employee from the tips, hourly/salary wage, benefits, or overtime they’re entitled to.

The Second Time You’re Charged with Auto Theft in California

The Second Time You’re Charged with Auto Theft in California

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The law is quite clear. You’re not allowed to drive another person’s vehicle unless you have their permission. Taking another person’s car is auto theft.

If you’re caught, you’ll be charged with one of the following offenses:

✨ Grand Theft Auto
✨ Receiving stolen goods
✨ Joyriding

The first time you’re charged and convicted of any of these three crimes, you’ll face severe legal consequences and have a criminal record that will follow you around for the rest of your life. Any additional time you’re charged with a form of auto theft, the consequences will be significantly worse.

It won’t take long for the police to discover that you’ve previously been convicted of auto theft. Once they learn of this earlier conviction, they’ll attach a sentencing enhancement to your charge. In this case, the sentence enhancement is Cal PC 666.5 which is better known as the auto theft with a prior enhancement.

Don’t assume that just because the sentence for the previous auto theft charge didn’t include any actual jail time that you don’t have to worry about the auto theft with a prior enhancement. You do. The severity of the sentence you received before doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters to the court, in this case, is that you now have a history of auto theft.

The auto theft with a prior enhancement means that the consequences for the auto theft charge are significantly worse than it would be if you didn’t already have a history of auto theft. In the case of grand theft auto, the enhancement means the judge’s sentence after you’re convicted could include

✦ 2-4 years in a state priors
✦ Up to $10,000 in fines

It’s also highly likely that you’ll be required to pay restitution if the vehicle you stole was damaged while you were in possession of it.

If you already have a charge of some type of auto theft on your record, it’s in your best interest to avoid anything that potentially puts you in contact with a stolen car. Don’t even get into a car you don’t own unless you have irrefutable permission from the owner.

If you think a friend is driving a stolen car, quickly remove yourself from the situation.

Cycling Under the Influence

Cycling Under the Influence

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We hear a great deal about the dangers of drinking and driving. We understand that a single DUI can have a horrible, long-term impact on our lives. As a result, many of us take steps to avoid even the possibility of getting behind the wheel if we think there’s a chance we’ll have a little too much to drink while we’re out on the town.

One of the ways many of us try to avoid a potential DUI charge is hopping on our bicycle and riding it to the nearest bar. We figure that since we’re not even bringing our car, we can drink as much as we want and cycle home later without having to worry about getting arrested.

The only problem with this plan is that if you’re drunk and spotted by a local police officer, you could be charged with cycling under the influence.

Most cases of cycling under the influence appear in court because the person on the bike had the bad judgment to try riding their bike on a local highway, something you can’t do even if you are sober. The reason is that it’s simply too dangerous. One moment of inattention or a single bad judgment call and you could find yourself in the middle of a serious accident.

There are some cases where a person was arrested for cycling under the influence because a patrol officer noticed that the cyclist was acting erratically. Once again, the concern is that you’ll do something that will result in an accident. Biking erratically, weaving, or trying to bike down the middle of the road will alert an officer to the fact that you’re under the influence.

While being charged with biking under the influence isn’t fun, it’s not as bad as getting a DUI. As long as you didn’t cause an accident, you won’t have to serve any jail time. The maximum sentence is a $250 fine.

While you won’t serve jail time, this is a misdemeanor offense, not an infraction, so it could turn up on a background check. In addition to being charged with cycling under the influence, there’s also a good chance that you’ll also face a public intoxication charge.

The fact that you can be charged with cycling under the influence is another reason why you should either have a designated driver or decide to stay home whenever you feel an urge to get drunk and have a good time.

How to Find a Loved One in Jail

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Finding out a loved one is arrested isn’t always an easy process. The good news is that the California penal system has tried to simplify the process as much as possible. The only problem is that they haven’t really promoted the program which means many people have no idea how to find a loved one in jail.

The first thing you have to know is if you’re looking for someone who is residing in a state prison or if your loved one is in a county jail. If the arrest has only just happened, the answer is that they are in jail so you won’t have to worry about the prison search. The only time you’ll need to use the search a state prison search is if you’re conducting a background check or if you’re trying to find a loved one who was recently sentenced to prison.

If you’re looking for someone who was only just arrested, the process is a bit more complicated. The best way to handle the situation is to contact the sheriff’s department in the county you believe the person was in at the time of their arrest. In most cases, the person is arrested in their home county. If that sheriff’s department can’t help you out, they should be able to provide you with the number of the jails in the surrounding county.

Once you’ve figured out which jail your loved one is in, ask the officer you’re speaking with about how you can contact your loved one. Speaking to your loved one is the easiest way to learn if they need your help posting bail.

If you’ve found your loved one in jail and want to help out with bail, either by co-signing for them or by simply providing them with information, we suggest you contact Bail Bonds in Visalia. We’re open 24/7 and always have a bail bonds expert standing by who can answer your questions and provide you with information about our process. We promise that the consultation is always free and we’ll never pressure you into making a split-second decision.

Additional reasons to contact Bail Bonds in Visalia when you want to help a loved one who is in jail include:

✅ 20% Discounts for approved clients
Phone/online approvals
✅ 0% Interest payment plans
✅ No hidden fees
✅ Flexible payment plans
✅ No collateral required for working signers

Feel free to call 559-784-8660 or click Chat With Us link.

Preventing Porch Piracy

Preventing Porch Piracy

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You may not be familiar with the term “porch pirates” but it’s a pretty good bet that either you or someone you are close to has been a victim of one.

A porch pirate is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a term that refers to someone who spots a delivery package on your porch or near your front door. Rather than ignore the recent delivery, they walk up to your front door and take it for themselves. Once they’re safely away from your home, they’ll open the package, if it’s something valuable they’ll either keep the item or sell it. If it’s not something they’re interested in, they’ll throw it away. Either way, you’re the one who loses out.

The increasing dependency on online shopping and delivery services has driven porch piracy incidents to all-time highs. According to Finder, 14% of Americans are victims of porch piracy during a twelve-month period. That means 35.5 million people have a package snatched from their homes. The estimated value of each incident is $156.82.

The good news is that you can take some steps to prevent yourself from being a local porch pirate’s next victim.

Take Advantage of Tracking Notifications

Most online businesses provide free online tracking for your packages. You’ll want to utilize these. You can often set the system up so you a text is sent directly to your phone. In some cases, you’ll see approximately what time the package is scheduled to arrive and even how many stops before the driver is at your door.

If you’re home, you can use this information to meet the delivery at your door. If you’re not home, you can see if a neighbor, or another trusted person, can pick up your package before it’s noticed by a passing porch pirate.

Have the Package Held at a Different Location

If you’re concerned about a package being stolen, see if the delivery service has an option that lets you have the package delivered to a local drop-off point. More shipping companies have started doing this in an effort to limit liability and cost issues connected to porch piracy. In most cases, a local business serves as a drop-off point. They hold the package until you’re able to fetch it.

Consider a Lockbox

A lockbox is a great way to deter porch pirates. You can install the mailbox in an area that’s easily accessed by delivery drivers. They deposit the package into the lockbox which hides the delivery until you get home.

Security Cameras

Security cameras and doorbell security cameras are becoming increasingly more affordable for the average person. They are also a great way to deter porch pirates. If someone does try to sneak on your porch and steal one of your packages, you can turn the footage of the porch pirate to the police who may be able to identify the person so you can press charges. Even if the police can’t get an identity from the video footage, they will learn the approximate time that the porch pirate operates in your area and may be able to arrange to have a patrol car in the area so they can arrest the thief red-handed.

What steps have you taken to deter porch pirates?

Advantages of Using Porterville Bail Bonds

Advantages of Using Porterville Bail Bonds

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The advantages connected to using Porterville Bail Bonds are numerous.

The biggest advantage is that you’re only responsible for paying our fee, which is only 10% of the required bond. If you’re struggling to come up with the 10%, we have a zero-interest payment plan that includes flexible payments that you will be interested in.

Another advantage connected to getting a bail bond from us is that once you’re released from jail, you’ll be able to work and earn a living. This means you don’t have to worry about falling behind on your bills and potentially losing everything, including your home and your car. Keep in mind that most employers won’t be willing to hold your job for you because you’ve been arrested.

Planning a defense is considerably easier when you’re out on a bail bond. You don’t have to worry about anyone overhearing your conversations with your lawyer and you can book appointments when it’s convenient for both of you rather than waiting until your attorney can swing over to the jail.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of contacting Porterville Bail Bonds about a California bail bond is that you’ll be free to spend time with your loved ones. Instead of stressing about your future, which is exactly what you’ll do while locked in a cell, you can relax and enjoy life.

There are several reasons you should turn to Porterville Bail Bonds when you find yourself in need of a California bail bond.

We Offer the following:

24/7 Bail bond service
✅ 20% Discount to pre-approved clients
✅ Phone/online approvals
✅ 0% Interest flexible payment plans
✅ No hidden fees
✅ No collateral required for working signers

For more information, contact us. Feel free to call 559-784-8660 or click Chat With Us now for an obligation-free consultation.

Prank Calls Aren’t Just Fun and Games

Prank Calls Aren’t Just Fun and Games

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It’s not uncommon for kids to go through a phase where they make silly prank calls. These calls are generally thought to be harmless, but what about when they cross the line from being amusing to annoying?

In California, calling a resident and pretending to place an order for a silly pizza won’t usually get you into legal trouble. However, making phone calls sending emails/texts, or posting private messages that are obscene or threatening is a direct violation of California’s Penal Code 653m PC .

The law very clearly states that:

Any person who, with the intent to annoy, telephone or make contact by means of an electronic communications device with another and addresses to or about the other any obscene language or addresses to the other person any threat to inflict injury to the person or property of the person addressed or any member of his or her family, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

As laws go, this one is fairly straightforward, if you make a call, whether it’s anonymous or to someone you know and use extremely obscene language or make threats, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

It’s important to note that the prosecutor probably won’t agree to file charges if you simply made some relatively harmless calls that were annoying but not really threatening. However, if you were someone who received some petty annoying calls, got upset, and sent a return message that was considered obscene or threatening, you could face charges.

Another thing you should understand is that words aren’t the only thing that could land you in hot legal water. Sending photos via text/email/PMs can also be considered threatening/obscene/harassing. This has come up in many dating stories where one person sent obscene photos to a love interest who never requested the images and ultimately decided to file charges.

One of the things that is explored during cases that involve annoying calls/messages is the relationship the defendant shares with the alleged victim. The court will take a long look at all the communications the pair shared. If there is evidence that the pair once frequently communicated with obscene language, made comments that never bothered one another before, or frequently sent indecent photos without offending each other, there’s a good chance that the case will be dropped.

If you feel you are the victim of harassing messages, make it very clear to the person sending the messages or making the calls that you’re uncomfortable. Document your complaint so that it can be used as evidence if you do decide to pursue legal charges.

If you are someone who tends to be crude during telephone and written messages, make sure the person you’re communicating with understands your style and is comfortable with it. If they don’t it’s up to you to decide how to best proceed. You can either cut communications or continue speaking to them, knowing that there is a chance they could become so offended they decide to file charges against you.