It’s Cheaper To Attend Harvard Than Pay For Prison Housing

Pleasant Hill Bail Bonds

No one likes having to pay taxes. That is money we wish we could keep. We are told our taxes are put to good use, but who really knows exactly where all of our tax money is going?

For example,

Did you know your tax money is being used to keep criminals fed, housed, and clothed in prison?

In addition,

Did you know that it costs more to keep a prisoner alive in California than it is to attend Harvard University for 1 year?

California has 130,000 prisoners, and experts are estimating that within the next year, the cost of housing each prisoner will reach $75,560, a record price tag. In 2005, the cost to keep an inmate housed was half of that.

Prisons in California are overcrowded and over the next few years, at least 10,000 inmates will get an earlier release than originally ordered. Californians voted to allow inmates convicted of certain drug and property crimes to have their penalties reduced and even be released from jail early. Another move to help with the overcrowding in prisons was moving lower-level offenders to county jails instead state prisons.

Although the current prison population will be going down, it does not necessarily mean the cost per prisoner will go down as well. Crime rates are at a point where new convicts will just be taking the place of former prisoners behind bars.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about getting your tax money allocated towards something else. What you can do is pay attention during the next election and vote to have your voice heard.

Have You Received A Strange Call Lately?

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Have you ever gotten a strange call from a loved one who is claiming to have gotten arrested and needs bail money? It gets even stranger when he or she says that they do not want you to tell anyone else in the family about the incident. If you have ever gotten a call like this, think twice before sending the money, it could be a scam.

Lately, scammers have taken to contacting people and claiming to be relatives in need of bail money. Often times, the scammer will claim to be out of state or even out of the country, where that relative would normally be. They ask for a large amount of money to be wired to them right away and that you do not talk to anyone else in the family about the incident. That should raise some red flags for you.

The first thing you should do in this situation is ask as many questions as possible. You want to try to verify the identity of the caller. Ask questions that only your loved one would know, but be wary. If this particular loved one is fairly active on social media, the scammer will have access to some of this information.

The best thing to do is the very thing that the caller tells you not to do: talk to the rest of the family. Talk to family members who are close to the person who is supposedly calling from jail. If it is your grandchild that is supposedly calling you, talk to his or her parents. You may find out that he or she is sitting in his or her room, safe and sound.

Scams like this feed of the panicked state of the victim. That is why they cause you to worry about a loved one and act quickly. They do not want you to think things through. They do not want you to ask questions, because they might not have the answers for them.

If you ever receive a call like this, proceed with caution. Do not make any hasty decisions, because if you do, you may end up regretting them.

Legalized Marijuana: What To Expect

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It has been about 6 months since Californians voted to legalize marijuana. However, full legalization has yet to kick in. In fact, it will not fully kick in until 2018. With that said, not many people know the timeline and what has and has not changed yet, nor do they know what full legalization really means for California.

Prop 64 was passed last year and will legalize marijuana use for adults who are at least 21 years of age. California has until January 1, 2018 to get their regulations in order because that is when businesses can begin applying for licenses so they can legally grow and sell marijuana.


The following is a list of the many changes and laws that will be taking affect at the start of next year.

  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana will be illegal, as it currently is. Plus, marijuana must be stored in a closed container when the driver is behind the wheel.
  • Most felony penalties for growing, selling, transporting, or possessing marijuana will be reduced to misdemeanors. In addition, prior offenders are allowed to petition to have their criminal record changed to reflect a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony.
  • Legal-aged persons will be allowed to carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrates.
  • Legal-aged persons will be allowed to grow up to 6 plants at their residence.
  • Anyone who purchases marijuana from a licensed retailer in 2018 will also be charged a 15% tax.
  • It is illegal to smoke a cigarette in a public place. Marijuana will follow the same suit. It will also be illegal to possess marijuana on school property.
  • Minors under the age of 18 would in no case face imprisonment if they were to be caught growing, selling, transporting, or possessing marijuana. Alternatively, they would have to take a drug education course and perform community service. Adults 18-20 on the other hand can possibly face prison time.
  • Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, possessing marijuana on federal property within California will remain illegal. This means that if someone goes camping in a California national park and is caught smoking marijuana, they are breaking the law and will be arrested.

These are just a handful of new regulations that California is getting ready for come January 1, 2018. You can expect that there will be more. Legalizing marijuana does not mean that it is a free for all to use. It is still a drug that needs to be used with responsibility, caution, and regards to others who are less favorable of it.

Copyright Infringement & Online Piracy

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Copying, displaying, and distributing creative work that you do not have the rights to is copyright infringement. Creative work includes movies and TV shows, music, books, video games, and even computer programs like Photoshop. These are all works that a person would generally need to pay for in order to access it. It is also copyright infringement if they did pay for it but then decided to produce copies of it with the intention of giving them out. They do not have the rights to production.

Copyrights can be sold to another person, in which case that new person would have the right to use it. However, if a person does not explicitly hold the copyright, then they may not infringe upon it. That is illegal.

One of the most common forms of copyright infringement is called piracy, and it refers to the copying, uploading, and sharing of creative work on the internet without the copyright owner’s permission. Movies, TV shows, and music are among the most pirated forms of creative work.

If a person commits online piracy, they are committing a federal crime that carries some steep penalties.

If a person’s intention is to make a profit, then they can be fined and put into prison for 1 year. The more copies that were made and the more total retail value of the copied works, then the greater the fines and the longer the prison sentence.

It can be easy for people to get involved with online piracy because of the accessibility of so many illegally available works. They believe it to be a harmless crime to download a movie illegally, but it is definitely a risk. The consequences are much more expensive than if they were to just pay $10 for the DVD.

Turn The Noise Down Or Get A Visit From The Police

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Now that summer is here, your weekends are filling up fast with parties at your place and your friends’ places. That means you need to have a pumped up playlist of the latest chart topping songs, a fridge full of alcohol, and the most down to earth friends. In addition to those party necessities, you also need to be mindful of your neighbors. They may not enjoy the loudness coming from your home or backyard at midnight. You could also be breaking the law if you are making too much noise so late at night.

Each city and county sets their own “quiet times” during which people cannot be making excessive noise, such as having a party or doing construction work.

Generally in California, quiet hours on weekdays would be between 10 or 11pm to 7 or 8am. On the weekends, it is typically between 11pm or midnight until 8 or 10am.

These quiet hours do not mean you have to turn off your music and send your guests home, but you will need to turn the volume way down and perhaps move the party indoors.

The day before the party, it would be polite and courteous of you to let your neighbors know that you will be having friends over for a party. Let them know you will keep everything under control and will be mindful of the noise. If they have a complaint of excessive noise, encourage them to come knock on your door or give you a call so you can personally handle the issue immediately.

In some instances, a neighbor will make a call to the police about the noise. The police will come knock on your door and warn you to keep it down. If the police have to come back a second or third time, then they will be more inclined to shut your party down and issue you a citation. Remember that although the police may be responding to a noise complaint, they will also be on the lookout for alcohol and drug use. They may even sit outside in their patrol cars for a little bit to monitor your party and watch out for any drunken party guests deciding to get behind the wheel to head home.

Be courteous when planning your party. It should not take too much extra work on your end. As long as you play by the rules, you and your party guests will have an enjoyable time, and your neighbors will not be disturbed.

Will The Cops Need A Warrant For Cell Phone Tracking?

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Unless given permission by the owner, cops need a warrant in order to search a person’s home, belongings, vehicle, mail, etc. Now in the digital age, cops also need a warrant to search laptops, tablets, and cell phones. As our dependency on our cell phones continue to rise, so has a new question:

Does the police need a warrant to search the movements of a cell phone?

This is a topic that the Supreme Court will be debating on later this year.

Today, we are in the digital age. 95% of Americans own a cell phone, which is carried with them wherever they go. When someone needs to make a call or send a text off of their cell phone, they are connected on their network carrier through a nearby antenna tower. If a person moves, their connection switches to the next tower, and so on. This network connection route is logged by the cell phone company.

The police can use this information to learn about a person’s precise movements from one location to another. They can see if a caller stayed in one location for the duration of a call or if they traveled from one building to another. This is useful information to them if they are conducting an investigation. At the same time, opponents would argue that cell phone movement tracking is an invasion of privacy.

Cell phones are personal items that hold countless private details, including details that people would not even think of, such as their daily movements. Due to this, and because we continue to advance our cell phone technology for usefulness and convenience, the Supreme Court has not ignored all pleas for digital privacy and protection. They have already declared that the police need a warrant to search and seize cell phones and emails, for example. Debating on whether the cops need a warrant to gain access to a cell phone’s movements would just be the latest discussion point for them to consider.

When Should The Party End?

Martinez Bail Bonds

Have you heard of the proposed bill by Senator Scott Weiner from San Francisco that would allow bars to stay open later?

State Bill 384 is referred to as “Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night” or “LOCAL Act” for short, will allow communities to adjust how late restaurants and bars can serve alcohol.

Under this new law, city governments would be able to adjust the time from 2am to anywhere up to 4am. This gives the city more control over the serving of alcohol, which can greatly affect nightlife in the city. Many cities across the state of California rely on having a busy night life to help support the local economy.

The law will not force cities to change the cut off call for serving alcohol. What it does is let cities extend the last call time from 2am to 4am.

This is not the first proposed bill to do this. A similar bill was proposed back in 2013. However, this bill did not gain enough votes to pass through committee.

The LOCAL Act recently passed through the California state senate. However, this does not mean it will become a law. It has a few more hurdles to pass before becoming a full-fledged California law.

 

What do you think?

Should California cities be able to extend the last call time for alcohol service?

Copyright Infringement Makes Its Case With Deadpool

Martinez Bail Bonds

The statute of limitations for copyright infringement is three years.

Copyright Infringement is the illegal copying, publishing and distributing of creative works that belong to other people, groups or companies.

Creative works can be computer software programs, video games, books, films, music and more. Copyrights can be transferred or sold to another individual, in which case the new individual could then reproduce and distribute copies.

Statute of Limitations is the time frame in which the prosecutor can charge the accused with the crime in question.

The statute of limitations begins when the infringement is discovered to have occurred and if that time frame expires, then the accused cannot be charged. In this case, after 3 years, prosecutors cannot charge a person for their copyright infringement case.

21-year-old Trevon Franklin was not so lucky. Last year, Franklin had obtained a copy of the superhero action movie, Deadpool. He posted it on his Facebook account 8 days after the film was released, where over 5 million people viewed the film free of charge. He also made copies and distributed them out to the public. The estimated value of that was $2,500.

Having the film posted on his Facebook account made it easier for the FBI to track him down, which they did so pretty quickly after he had posted the film. However, it was not until last month that he was arrested and charged with copyright infringement – well within the statute of limitations for copyright infringement. If he is convicted, Franklin can spend up to 3 years in prison.

Not only is this a reason to not commit copyright infringement, it is also a reason to thoroughly consider the content a person posts online. There is no telling who looks at a person’s content. In addition, social media companies are constantly scanning through the content to weed out red flags. In the effort to try and earn money by distributing copyrighted works, Franklin now risks losing even more than what he would have earned.

The Differences Between Theft, Robbery & Burglary

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When a person takes something from another without permission, it is called theft, robbery or burglary. You think to yourself, “those three words all mean the same thing. They are synonyms for each other.” In the broad sense, this is true. However, each of these are distinct crimes under California law that are related, yet still differ from each other.


Theft

For a crime to be classified as theft, a person would be taking property that does not originally belong to him or herself. During this incident, there is no person-to-person interaction. For example, if John walks by an apartment building and notices a wallet on the stairs that someone had dropped. Taking it and walking away would be a crime of theft because John never interacted with the owner of that wallet or anyone else for that matter.

If the value of the stolen items is less than $400, it is considered petty theft. If the value is worth more than $400, it is called grand theft. Depending on this and other circumstances, theft can be charged as an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony.

 

Robbery

A robbery is when there is person-to-person interaction, when a person is trying to take an item that does not belong to them. The person may use force, intimidation or coercion in order to gain control of the item. If John walks by an apartment building and sees a woman going through her wallet, taking it directly from this woman would be a robbery.

Robberies are charged as felonies. Depending on the circumstances, it would either be a first degree robbery or a second degree robbery.

 

Burglary

Burglary differs more from theft and robbery, and it is when a person trespasses and enters private property with the intention of committing a crime. However, even if no property was taken or there was no person-to-person interaction, the person would still be charged with a burglary because they had trespassed. If John breaks into the apartment building, it is a burglary regardless if he took that wallet or not, and regardless if he encountered that woman or not.

If a person breaks into a residence, they would be charged with a first degree felony for burglary. If they break into any other buildings like stores or office buildings, they would be charged second degree burglary. This can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.


In many cases, someone who is arrested for theft, robbery or burglary may have the opportunity to post bail.

Wacky Laws That Actually Exist

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Do you ever see something and wonder how it could have possibly come into existence? This is especially true with some laws. There are many strange laws out there. Many of them make you wonder what could have happened to make it necessary to create a law that prevents it from happening again.

California is a pretty big state, the 3rd biggest in the US. As such, our state is home to many strange and puzzling laws. Here is just a small sample of the weirdness that our state has to offer:

  • Roosters may not crow within Ontario city limits.
  • It is illegal to molest butterflies in Pacific Grove.
  • No person can charge admission to house parties in Los Angeles.
  • It is illegal to hunt moths under a Los Angeles street light.
  • Kites may not be flown higher than 10 feet off the ground in Walnut.
  • It is illegal to have more than 2 cats or dogs in San Jose.
  • It is against the law to bowl on a sidewalk in Chico.
  • El Monte sandboxes may not be used as ashtrays.

That is just the tip of the iceberg of bizarre laws in California. There are dozen more laws out there that would make most people scratch there head in confusion. Some laws cause confusion due to the restrictions that they impose, while others just have poor wording that gives the law an entirely different meaning than what was probably intended. Case and point, the Belvedere law that reads: No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash. The way this is written, it sounds like the dog owner needs to be on the leash, not the dog.

While our state may have many strange and obscure laws, we can take solace in the fact that California is not the only weird state out there. Many other state in the country have equally bizarre laws. Like Oklahoma for instance, which has outlawed whaling. That sounds great, until you realize whaling isn’t something that can actually be done in the land locked state.

Regardless of why these laws exist, most people can agree that they are pretty weird. In some instances, it may be time to reevaluate the laws. Until that time, we can all have a good laugh at these wacky laws that actually exist.