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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.

The Cost of Ignoring School Zone Traffic Laws in California

The Cost of Ignoring School Zone Traffic Laws in California

The Cost of Ignoring School Zone Traffic Laws in California

Kids are finally starting to return to school in California which means it’s time for drivers to reacquaint themselves with school zone traffic laws. It’s extremely important that you not only know that the laws exist but also the consequences of breaking the school zone traffic laws.

School zones are designated areas where there periods of the day where there are multiple kids on foot, parents picking up kids, and school buses present. These things create additional driving hazards. Everyone has to be hypervigilant during these times, particularly if you’re in an area where there a lot of young kids who don’t always remember to look before they dart into traffic.

To keep things as safe as possible, the speed limits are decreased in school zones during key times of the day, usually when people are showing up for school and when they’re leaving.

In most school zones, the speed limit decreases to 25 MPH though there are places where it goes even lower, to 15 mph. Signs in the area not only alert you to the change in speed, but they will also have a note stating that the decreased speed limit goes into effect “when children are present.” Many also have a flashing light attached to the sign which blinks on and off when the police are enforcing the decreased speed limit.

In addition to having these speed limit zones near schools, some cities have also decided to create special speed limit zones near parks and playgrounds.

If you’re entering a school zone, you are expected to be on high alert for slow-moving traffic and lots of unpredictable foot traffic. You should also be prepared for the possibility of cops who have parked in strategic spots while they wait to pull over drivers who fail to obey the decreased speed limit.

If you’re pulled over for speeding in a school zone, don’t expect to talk your way out of the ticket. Patrol officers take the safety of children very seriously and are unlikely to let you off with a warning.

If you get a ticket for speeding in a school zone, you should expect to pay:

✨ $25 for 1-15 miles per hour over the limit
✨ $50 for 16-25 miles per hour over the limit
✨ $100 for 26 miles per hour the limit

It’s important to understand that these fines are the base amount. In most cases, there are additional costs attached to each ticket which will often bring it to over $100. It’s also possible that the officer will decide to attach additional charges to the ticket. These additional charges could include reckless driving, failing to yield, negligence, and even using a cell phone. It’s also possible that they will notice a problem with your insurance or registration.

When all is said and done, it’s best to keep both hands on the wheel, your eyes up, and your foot light on the accelerator while you’re driving through a California school zone. The few extra minutes slowing down adds to your commute will cost you far less than a failure to slow down in a school zone traffic ticket.

Stay Out of Jail This Saint Patrick’s Day

Stay Out of Jail This Saint Patrick’s Day

Stay Out of Jail This Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is a great holiday. It’s one of those fun holidays where you’re encouraged to cut loose and have a good time. The problem with Saint Patrick’s Day is that it’s also a time when many people get a little too relaxed and end up in jail. Happily, there are things you can do to make sure you enjoy the holiday and also stay on the right side of the law.

Check Out Current Pandemic Restrictions

Last year, Saint Patrick’s Day was interrupted and virtually canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year it doesn’t look like things will be quite as restricted but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do whatever you want. Before heading out, check both state and local restrictions and know exactly what you can and can’t do. Also, make sure you adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear your face mask while you’re in public areas.

Have a Designated Driver

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Expect that the cops will be out and that they will be looking for drunk drivers. If you plan on drinking, do the smart thing and have a designated driver on hand. If none of your friends want to be the DD at least arrange for a rideshare program or cab to take you wherever you want to go.

The best way to avoid the temptation of getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking is leaving your car at home and getting a ride both to and from your favorite bar.

Don’t Lose Your Head

While drunk driving makes up the bulk of Saint Patrick’s Day arrests, it’s not the only thing that can result in your spending a night in jail. Other common arrests during the holiday include drunk and disorderly, assault, and public intoxication charges. If you’re prone to drinking to the point where you lose all your inhibitions and do things you’ll regret, either bring a friend along who will remain levelheaded and prevent you from doing something you shouldn’t or restrict your celebrating to your home.

Stay safe and use good judgment this Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Is Driving Will Hungover Ok?

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Everyone knows that driving while drunk is a bad idea. While drunk you have poor motor control, and lack a sense of adequate risk assessment. Basically, you can’t control your actions well, and you do things that you wouldn’t normally do while sober. It is easy to see why people should not be driving in this state of inebriation.

However, what many people do not realize, is that driving while hungover can be just as bad. When a person is hungover, they may not have any more alcohol in their system, but they are experiencing other symptoms. People who are hungover are usually experiencing sleep deprivation, dehydration, and short-term alcohol withdrawal. The symptoms of all of these can make driving difficult and dangerous for the person.

A study conducted by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that hungover drivers drove worse than drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%. The drivers exhibited erratic behavior and slowed reaction times.

Similar results were found by a study conducted at the University of West England.

If a person was out drinking the night before, he or she should think twice before getting behind the wheel the next morning. Doing so could be as disastrous as if he or she had driven the night before. After a night of drinking, a person should take it easy the next morning. Stay at home, rest, and get hydrated. Doing this will be much nicer than driving anyways, and it will be safer too.

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New Jersey’s Failed Bail Replacement

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At the start of this year, the state of New Jersey eliminated its bail system in favor of a system where judges determine whether or not it is safe to release the defendant. The idea of this new system was to be fairer to people who would not be able to generate the funds needed to pay for bail. This is the very same system that lawmakers want to implement in California.

It is easy to see how this system sounds like a good idea. You remove the need for people to pay to get out of jail, thus allowing even the poorest person to get out of jail. Unfortunately for many people, this new system is a problem. This system does little to protect victims, or deter criminals.

Many officers refer to this new setup as a revolving door system. Criminals get arrested, and are back out the street by the end of the day. The punishment for committing a crime has been removed, thus allowing the criminals to continue with their ways. This puts thousands of innocent people at risk.

Of course, these criminals will still face charges, they have only been released for the period of their trial. However, since they have been released, there is nothing to stop them from committing more crimes during this period. This differs from when someone is out on bail, since the person out on bail has something to lose. This person paid to get out of jail, and will have wasted the money if he or she gets arrested again.

If the defendant did nothing to get out, like they do in this new system, then there is nothing preventing him or her from committing another crime. Let New Jersey be an example for California, this planned new system will not benefit anyone other than the criminals. Bail offers a person incentive to be on his or her best behavior, and another set of eyes to watch that person during the trial process.

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What Counts As Drug Possession?

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With the passing of prop 64, the topic of drug possession has become more prominent in recent months. While it is now legal for people 21 and older to possess some small amount of marijuana, this is the only drug that has been legalized.Even still, there are rules and restrictions to its use.

Even though the recreational use of marijuana was legalized, many other drugs and substances remain illegal to use and possess.Some of these illegal substances are:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD

Possessing any of these drugs can get a person in trouble with the law. Now you might be wondering what constitutes as possession in California?

Possession of a drug could be:

  • Having it on your person
  • Having it in your glovebox or anywhere else in your vehicle
  • Having it in your house

When it comes to punishment for illegal possession of controlled substances, things can vary. Illegal possession of most controlled substances is considered a misdemeanor offense in California thanks to the recently passed Prop 47.This means that someone convicted of drug possession faces no more than a year in jail, and/or a small fine. In many instances, the defendant will be required to participate in a drug treatment program.

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What is Petty Theft?

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Everyone understands the concept of theft, and how bad it is. However, once law enforcement gets involved, it can get confusing for many people not familiar with their terminology. Law enforcement officers have many different phrases and terms for different crimes. These terms help the officers identify the severity of crime, and many other factors. For civilians, these terms can be confusing.

One such term would be petty theft. Most people understand it means something was stolen, but we do not know the specifics. We do not even know the severity of the punishment for petty theft.

In the state of California, petty theft is defined as the unlawful taking of property that is valued at $950 or less. This is different than shoplifting, for example, since shoplifting can only happen in a commercial establishment when it is open for business.

There are 4 different crimes that can lead to petty theft charges:

  • Theft by Larceny – This makes up most cases of petty theft, and is probably what most people think of when they think of theft. This is simply taking someone else’s property without their permission with the intent of keeping it for yourself.
  • Theft by False Pretense – This is when a person gives ownership of an item to another person temporarily due to false information that was given by the thief.
  • Theft by Trick – This is when a person lends an item to a person who has no intention of returning the item. This is similar to theft by false pretense, except in this instance, the property owner never intended for the thief to have ownership. This could be as simple as borrowing an item from someone and promising to return it, without intending to actually return it.
  • Theft by Embezzlement – This occurs when the owner of property gives a person the property because he or she trusts that person will take care of it. An example would be when someone takes money out of an account that they manage for a company.

All of these can be classified as petty theft, so long as the value of the stolen property is under $950. Petty theft is a misdemeanor crime in California, and is punishable by a maximum of 6 months in county jail, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.