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Public Intoxication

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Many people assume that as long as they don’t get behind the wheel and try driving home they don’t have to worry about how much they drink when they go out. While the decision to never drive after you’ve been drinking is always wise, that doesn’t mean you can get a plastered as you want. There is always a chance that your night of heavy drinking at the bar could result in you getting arrested for public intoxication in California.

The good news is that if you simply have one too many while you’re at the bar, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. California lawmakers have made it obvious that the only time legal concerns and public intoxication combine is when you’re so heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol that you’re unable to keep yourself and others safe.

For example, if you’re so drunk that you aren’t aware of traffic and start walking down the middle of the road, you’ll be arrested and charged with public intoxication. The same is true if you get so drunk while you’re at the bar that your normal mild-mannered nature abandons you and you start making threats or behaving in a lewd manner.

Public intoxication in California is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. In many cases, the individual must perform a specified number of community service hours.

The good news about public intoxication is that it won’t impact your driving record. The bad news is that the charge could hurt your future. It’s possible that the charge will make it harder to qualify for scholarships, land your dream job, and be approved for an apartment rental.

The only way you can be charged with public intoxication in California is if you’re in a public area. That means the best way to avoid the charge is staying home when you decide you want to spend the evening drinking.

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Things You Should Know About Receiving Stolen Property in California

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Don’t assume that just because you didn’t actively participate in a burglary that the items taken during the burglary won’t get you into trouble. They likely will.

It doesn’t really matter if you hold stolen items in your garage while your friend finds a fence, if you’re gifted a stolen television, or if you purchase stolen goods, if those items are found in your possession, you could find yourself facing a charge of receiving stolen property in California.

The topic of receiving stolen property in California is dealt with in PC 496. It states that:

“Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”

That sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? It also sounds like you could be charged with receiving stolen property in California even if you knew nothing about the crime or the history of the items you’re purchasing or accepting as a gift.

This is one of those situations where reading the law doesn’t really provide you with the full picture. Yes, if you purchase items that were involved in a robbery, you could be charged with receiving stolen goods in California, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted.

To secure a conviction the prosecutor has to prove two things. The first two are usually relatively easy for them to prove. They have to show that:

✨ The items involved in your case really were stolen
✨ That you received the stolen items in some manner

The third thing is more challenging. The final thing the prosecutor has to prove to convict you is that you knew the items were stolen and that you still accepted them. If you genuinely didn’t know that you were accepting stolen property and that you had no reason to suspect that the items had a dark past, you should be okay.

If you did know the property was stolen, the repercussions will be serious. If you’re convicted of misdemeanor receipt of stolen property in California, the maximum sentence is a year in a county jail, a $1,000 fine, misdemeanor probation. The only way you’ll be charged with misdemeanor receipt of stolen property in California is if the property in question is less than $950. If it exceeds that amount, you’ll face felony charges. The sentence for felony receipt of stolen goods could include as long as three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, felony probation.

The best way to make sure you never face receiving stolen property in California charges is by always getting a detailed history on any item you purchase from places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay.

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4 California Bike Laws you Probably Don’t Know About

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Do you spend a lot of time biking in California? If so, there are some California bike laws you’re probably not familiar with.

Bikes and Crosswalks

Did you know that as a cyclist, you’re not supposed to stop your bike in the middle of a crosswalk? When you’re on a bike, you need to treat it the exact same way you would if you driving a car. Instead of pulling into the crosswalk, you’re supposed to stop at it. This gives pedestrians the opportunity and space needed to use the crosswalk.

Prep Your Bike For Nighttime Rides

If you’re cycling at any time between dusk and full-on morning sunlight, you need to have your bike properly equipped with enough equipment that motorists can easily see your bike. It’s not enough to simply rely on the reflectors the bike came with You should also have a red solid or flashing light attached to the back of your bike that can be easily seen from a distance of 500 feet away. On the front of your bike, you need to attach a white light that not only helps with your visibility but can also be seen from 500 feet away.

Ideally, you should wear clothing that has reflectors on it as well.

Keep One Ear Open

You see it all the time, cyclists cruising along with headphones in their ears, taking advantage of their ride to listen to audiobooks, songs, and podcasts. What you probably don’t know is that you can’t legally have two ears full of earbuds or be covered by a headphone while you’re cycling. CVC 27400 states that you must leave one ear uncovered while you’re riding your bike.

Stay Away from that Oversized Bike

If you think it’s okay to send your child out on the bike they haven’t quite grown into, or you’re tempted to purchase a massive bike you’ve been admiring each time you visit your favorite bike shop, you need to think again. California’s bike laws prohibit you from operating an oversized bicycle on public roads.

CVC 21201(c) states that, “no person shall operate upon a highway a bicycle that is of a size that prevents the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it safely.

Were you familiar with these bike laws?

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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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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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Neighbors Partying Too Much?

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Do you have neighbors who love to party and create a lot of noise late at night, or even into the morning hours? If so, they have probably awoken you, or prevented you, from sleep on numerous occasions.

If you are like most people, you like being able to sleep so that you will have enough energy to face the day tomorrow. This means these noisy neighbors are preventing you from efficiently handling your days. If that is indeed the case, you probably want them to stop with all of the racket.

Your first step to handling this problem, should be to politely confront your neighbors. Let them know that they are making quite a bit of noise and that it is keeping you awake. Be sure to be nice and not be rude or mean to them, doing so could make the situation worse. There is a chance that your neighbors did not know they were being too loud and they might keep it down.

If you have tried talking to your neighbors, but that has not solved the problem, talk to your local authorities. Most cities have noise ordinances that make it illegal to create too much noise during normal sleeping hours. If this is what is happening with your partying neighbors, then local law enforcement will come and shut their party down. Then you will be able to get a good night’s rest.

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Are You Ready for the Next Big One?

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As Californians, we are always on the lookout for the next big earthquake. The San Andreas Fault runs along the entire length of the state, making California highly susceptible to earthquakes. In fact, California has around 10,000 earthquakes a year.

Since our state is so prone to shaking, it is important for all of us to be prepared for the next big quake. Here are some tips to help keep you ready for the next big earthquake:

  • Have an earthquake plan ready. This way, you will have a better idea of how to react when an earthquake happens.
  • Make sure large objects like bookcases or china hutches are bolted to studs in the wall so they cannot fall over during a quake.
  • Locate a spot in every room of your house where you can find shelter during a quake. This means a place where nothing can fall on you.
  • Have a supply of 3 gallons of water per person, canned food, an up-to-date first aid kit, and flashlights in an accessible place.
  • Know how to shut off your gas and water mains.

Following these tips can help you in the aftermath of a big earthquake. As Californians, we have all studied the history our state has with earthquakes. We know how bad they can be, which is why it is so important to be prepared for the next big quake.

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Do Not Believe Everything You Read Online

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You always hear that you should not believe everything you see online, and unfortunately, it still needs to be said. You can still find stories online of people who were scammed or cheated out of money.

This can happen quite often on websites such as Craigslist and Amazon were goods and services are sold and exchanged. People will advertise that they are selling one thing, but then fail to deliver on that promise. When a buyer gets their product, if they do actually get their product, they find out that what was sent did not match what was pictured.

This is why most sites have introduced review systems. This allows clients to leave a warning to any future clients. The reviews also help prospective clients determine if they want to buy anything from that seller. This is why, you should always look at the product and seller reviews before making a purchase online. Doing so can prevent you from wasting your money.

Another thing to be wary of online, is whether or not a statement or claim is true. An example of this would be when you can routinely find celebrity death hoaxes circulating different social media sites. A good way to fact check stories that you read online, is to first make sure that you are getting the information from a credible source. Next, you can check the information on Snopes.com. This is a fact checking site that looks into stories that come from less than credible sources.

The internet has a lot of information to offer, but not all of it is real. Learn to figure out what you can and cannot trust online, and you will be able to better protect yourself from all sorts of internet scams.

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Rainy Weather Driving Checklist

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It looks like California may be on its way out of a drought. We have seen more rain this year, than we have the last few years. With that being said, how up-to-date is your knowledge on driving in wet weather? Do you know the best precautions to take and what tips to follow to practice safe driving? Here is Riverside Bail Bonds’s checklist for wet-weather driving:

Before driving:

  • Make sure all vehicle lights are working properly: headlights, tail lights, brake lights, signal lights, daytime running lights, high beams, interior lights.
  • Make sure windshield wipers are working and in good condition.
  • Make sure your car horn is working.
  • Check your brakes.
  • Check air levels in tires and the tire treads.
  • Take note that the first rainy day after a dry spell always produces the slipperiest roads.
  • While driving:

  • Brake sooner than you normally would. This gives you extra space between you and the car ahead and gives the car behind you more time to react.
  • Headlights must be on when the windshield wipers are in use, even if it is sunny.
  • If you feel your car hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas, do not step on the brake. Keep a steady grip of your steering wheel and you will feel your car gain traction again.
  • Drive at a slower speed and drive with more space between you and the car ahead.

Be extra alert when you are driving in the rain. Rainy weather causes more road accidents. Most accidents can be avoided if you simply take your time and be careful out there.

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New Laws For 2017

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Every January 1st, a whole bunch of new laws go into effect in California. The new laws this year include the following:

  • Minimum wage: any business that employs 26 or more people will be raising their minimum wages to $10.50,up $0.50 per hour. By 2022, it will be $15.
  • Gun laws: anyone who previously owned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are required to surrender them.Anyone who wishes to purchase ammunition must pass a background check each time.Just like civilians, law enforcement officers are required to securely store their handguns in a lockbox out of plain view.
  • Cell phone use while driving: any app usage on a cell phone is prohibited while driving. The current law references texting only, but the new law expands to include GPS mapping, and social media.
  • Epipens: Epipens may be stocked at businesses, colleges, and other private venues that have a plan in place to use them for individuals who need them at a moment’s notice.

There are many other laws that have gone into effect January 1, 2017, not just those above.