California’s Video Taping Laws

California’s Video Taping Laws

There was a time when no one worried about what would happen if they videotaped someone. Prior to cell phone cameras, it was nearly impossible for the average person to videotape someone without the person being taped knowing about it. Now that everyone has a video camera on their cell phone, many people have accidentally broken California’s laws regarding videotaping people without their consent.

Cell phone cameras made it possible to videotape people without that person’s consent. Social media makes it possible for us to share these tapes. The combination has created legal problems for many people.

According to the current laws, you are allowed to record a video of people without their consent, but only if you don’t pick up any bits of their conversation. The state doesn’t have a problem with you capturing their image, just their words. If you want to record the conversation, you’ll have to get their consent. This consent should be written so that if the person does decide to sue, you can prove your case.

The one exception to this is if you’re in a busy place, such as a coffee shop. If you’re recording something and accidentally pick up bits of a conversation, you aren’t breaking any laws. The idea is that the person involved in the conversation was in a public area and therefore shouldn’t have expected complete privacy. The trick is proving that you weren’t deliberately trying to capture the snippet of conversation.

You do not want to be accused of recording someone’s conversation in California. The state is very serious when it comes to punishing people who don’t first get consent. The issue is addressed in California Penal Code § 632(a).

The worse thing about taking an audio recording of someone without their consent is that you can’t use it as part of your defense. For example, if you recorded the person because you wanted to prove to your boss that they were bullying you, not only can you not use the recording, but you’ll also find yourself in the middle of a legal battle that you likely won’t win.

The penalty for violating the recording an audio recording of a conversation can include a year in jail and a $2,500.

It is important to note that using your camera to take a quick video of someone in a public setting is completely different than conducting video surveillance on them.

 

California’s Attitude Toward Vandalism

California’s Attitude Toward Vandalism

Vandalism is often an act of passion. Most of us are angry or hurt. We want to strike back at the person we believe treated us badly. We might choose to do this by smashing their mailbox, spray painting a crude message on the side of their house or slashing their tires.

Normally, we feel better about the vandalism… until the police knock on our door.

The problem with vandalism is that the victim almost always has a pretty good idea of who was responsible. If they’ve recently argued with, broken up with or aggravated someone they usually tell the police about the incident. The personal nature of the crime means that you’re likely to get caught.

What California Considers Vandalism

You might think that smashing someone’s mailbox is an act of just revenge. The state disagrees. They consider an act of property damage that was triggered by malicious intent to be vandalism. That includes:

  • Keying someone’s car.
  • Smashing a window with a baseball bat.
  • Painting graffiti on a building.
  • Covering someone’s front door with bumper stickers.
  • Etc.

The issue of vandalism is addressed in California’s Penal Code 594. It defines a vandal as, “Every person who maliciously commits any of the following acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her own, in cases other than those specified by state law, is guilty of vandalism:”

  • Defacing with graffiti or other inscribed material
  • Damaging
  • Destroying

While you and your friends might think that vandalism is funny and appropriate, you shouldn’t count on the state having the same attitude.

How California Handles Vandalism

If you’re charged with vandalism in California, you want it to be a misdemeanor and not a felony. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor vandalism charge in the state is 364 days in county jail and could include a $10,000 fine. In many cases, the judge opts for a smaller fine, restitution and community service. For the vandalism to be considered a misdemeanor, you can’t have done more than $400 worth of property damage.

If your act of vandalism created more than $400 worth of damage, you’re facing felony charges. Not only will they have a negative impact on your ability to find a job, but you’re also facing a maximum sentence that includes 3 years in a California state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Considering the potential severity of a vandalism charge, the next time you’re angry with someone, you should simply sit tight until the urge to take out your frustration on their personal property fades.

 

Falling Asleep Behind The Wheel In California

Falling Asleep Behind The Wheel In California

We’ve all done it. Gotten behind the wheel and driven when we were tired. Most of the time rolling down the window, cranking up the radio and indulging in a massive amount of caffeine is enough to get us safely where we need to be. The problem is that some people don’t make it to their destination. Some people fall asleep while they’re behind the wheel and find themselves in serious legal trouble.

The Dangers Of Falling Asleep While Driving

People constantly warn us about driving while intoxicated. We know it’s dangerous and know that it’s a serious traffic offense. People rarely discuss the fact that driving while fatigued is equally dangerous. In most cases driving is monotonous. It’s so easy to let your eyes close for a second. That’s all it takes for us to fall asleep and get into a bad accident.

If you’ve ever driven while drowsy, you’re not alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 100,000 police-reported car accidents involved drowsy driving. It’s estimated that 72,000 of those accidents led to severe injuries and that 1,600 involved fatalities.

How California Handles Drowsy Driving Cases

Each time you get behind the wheel of your car, you’re entering into an unspoken, but legally binding contract with everyone that you’re fit for driving. Getting behind the wheel means that you plan on following all posted traffic laws, that you’ll stay alert and that you’ll drive defensively. This means you won’t be distracted, you’re not intoxicated and you’re not fatigued.

Failing to keep up your end of the agreement results in traffic tickets and possibly jail time.

If you’re caught driving while drowsy in California, at best, you’ll get a ticket for reckless driving. According to the state, you’re driving recklessly any time you, “drive any vehicle in a manner that exhibits willful or wanton disregard for the well-being of others on the roadway.” The state considers falling asleep as an example of willful or wanton disregard.

If you’re caught driving while drowsy, the best you can hope for is a traffic ticket that will cost you $145. That’s the best-case scenario. If you caused an accident, injured someone, created an intensely dangerous situation or did a great deal of damage to someone else’s property, the consequences will be much more severe. The state has the option of sentencing you to 90 days in jail and charging you with a $1,000 fine.

Depending on your driving record, the driving while drowsy episode could result in you losing your license. If you injured or killed someone, you could face both manslaughter charges and a civil lawsuit.

The next time you think about driving while exhausted, you should reconsider and take a nap instead.

 

Consequences Of Failing To Honor Your Bail Agreement

Consequences Of Failing To Honor Your Bail Agreement

Bail is a monetary agreement you enter into with the court system. You pay bail in exchange for being released from jail. If you make all your court appearances, the court eventually returns the money to you.

When You Cover Your Bail

If you’ve paid the bail yourself and fail to appear in court, you forfeit the money. That doesn’t mean the court forgets about you. They have some options which include:

  • Swearing out an arrest warrant.
  • Sending officers to your home to get you.
  • Suspending your driver’s license.
  • Additional charges could be filed against you.

If you have used a bail bond company, things become complicated.

When Working With A Bail Bond Company

If you fail to appear in court, we aren’t just out the 10% of the bail you paid us, but we’re out the entire amount. The only way we can get our money back is by making sure you make it back to court. It’s in our best interest to make this happen as quickly as possible. We do this by sending a respected bail bond agent to find you and transport you to jail.

Failing to appear in court is often hardest on the people who believed in you so much that they co-signed for your bail or even offered up some of their assets as collateral. You owe it to them to make all of your court appearances and not doing anything to jeopardize the terms of your release.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been arrested, it’s in your best interest to be released as quickly as possible. It’s equally important that you’re working with a bail bond company that puts your interests first and who has a reputation for handling each of their clients fairly and with respect. You owe it to yourself and your family to work with Bail Bonds in San Ramon which is one of California’s most reliable bail bond companies.

Unlike some bail company that use a cookie-cutter approach to bail bonds, we understand that each person who asks for our help has unique needs. We carefully consider each person’s connection to the area, personality, employment history and legal history before coming up with a plan to bail them out of jail.

When you contact Bail Bonds in San Ramon for help with your bail, we ask for:

  • Proof of Residency
  • A valid state-issued identification card or driver’s license
  • A pay stub or bank statement that shows regular deposits

When you work with us, you’ll enjoy:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • Phone approvals
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Se habla Español

You don’t need to know everything about bail to rescue someone from jail. You can count on the expertise of our bail agents to guide you through this new process. Our bail agents are available for FREE consultations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays), so you can always get your questions answered.

For a FREE consultation or if you have any questions regarding bail bonds, call Bail Bonds in San Ramon at 925-228-5858 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

Communicating With Your Bail Bond Agent

Communicating With Your Bail Bond Agent

It is no secret that communication is the secret to success. It is also a key component to successfully cultivating a harmonious relationship between yourself and your bail bondsman. Early in your relationship, there are a few key things you need to discuss with the representative who is helping secure your release from jail.

How Much Does The Bail Bond Ultimately Cost?

The court determines how much bail you’ll have to pay before you can walk out of jail. If you bail yourself out, you pay the entire amount which the court returns to you once you’re case has made it through the entire legal process.

If you require a bail bond company such as Bail Bonds in Richmond, you pay us 10% of the total amount. We kick in 90%. Once the case is concluded, we get 100% of the money back.

This is the standard process. Each bail bond company has its unique twist which is why you must discuss exactly how much money you must provide and how much the bail company supplies. Make sure both amounts are clearly stated in your contract.

In addition to finding out how much bail is going to cost you, take time to learn if you need to have a co-signer if you have to sign over any assets and if you need to provide the bail bond company with information about your employer.

How Long Will It Be Before You’re Allowed To Walk Out Of Jail?

Some people assume that as soon as they contact a bail bondsman, they will get out of jail. That’s not usually the case. Several factors influence how much time it will take for the bail bondsman to procure your release.

Influencing factors include:

  • How long it takes you to come up with your share of the bail.
  • The bail bondsman’s current availability and schedule.
  • How long it takes the bail bondsman to fill out the required paperwork.

Knowing how long it will likely take the bail bondsman allows you to arrange for things like transportation to your home, care for your kids and when you can return to your job.

How Long Has The Bail Bondsman Been Active In The Area?

It is in your best interest to get a little information about the bail bondsman you’re working with. There are many stories about people who thought they were getting bailed out of jail only to learn that the person they were dealing with wasn’t a bail bondsman but actually a con artist.

Knowing how long they’ve been working in the area goes a long way towards confirming that you’re working with a legitimate bail bond company that can get you out of jail.

Knowing what questions you should ask your bail bondsman helps clear up a lot of communication problems and helps you to keep the relationship pleasant and business-like rather than stressful.

If you or someone you know need bail help, contact Bail Bonds in Richmond at 925-228-5858 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat. We provide FREE, no obligation bail bond consultation!

 

The Legal Ramifications Of Falsely Reporting A Crime In California

The Legal Ramifications Of Falsely Reporting A Crime In California

We’ve all been in a situation where someone has done something that deeply hurts us. When that happens, we can’t stop thinking about how we can get revenge. In most cases, the anger fades and you never take action against the other person.

There are exceptions.

There have been cases of people reporting a false crime in an attempt to get back at something. If this is something you’re considering doing, you should know that the State of California has legal protocols in place that are designed to discourage such malicious behavior.

What Happens When You Falsely Report A Crime In California?

The police want to trust everyone that walks into a police station and reports a crime. If you decide to try to get your friend in trouble for… shoplifting. The police will take you seriously. They’ll launch an investigation and might even arrest your friend.

The problem is that there is often evidence that the person who has been falsely accused isn’t guilty. It’s at this point that the police will start looking at you. They’ll want to know how you could have witnessed a crime that either didn’t happen or that involved someone else. They’ll become particularly suspicious if they learn that you have a history with the person you accused of shoplifting.

To Falsely Report A Crime, Do You Have To File Charges?

When the average person thinks about falsely reporting a crime, most people think to lie about the fact that someone they knew was involved in a crime. They usually think it’s a malicious act. That’s not always the case. One of the most common falsely reported crimes is someone reporting that something, like a vehicle, has been stolen in an attempt to get insurance money.

Most of the time, the truth comes out when the police start investigating.

The Punishment Of Falsely Reporting A Crime In California

The issue of falsely reporting a crime is covered by Penal Code 148.5. When you read the law, you quickly learn that even if you don’t officially report the crime to a police officer, but rather to a 911 operator you can still be found guilty of a falsely reporting a crime.

If you’re found guilty of falsely reporting a crime, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. The most severe punishment is a $1,000 fine and potentially having to spend six months in jail.

In addition to facing criminal charges, there is also a chance that you could find yourself in the middle of a civil lawsuit.

No matter how angry or desperate you get, you should always resist the impulse to falsely report a crime. The small twinge of satisfaction simply isn’t worthwhile.

 

Legal Responsibilities Attached To Witnessing A Crime In California

Legal Responsibilities Attached To Witnessing A Crime In California

As you were walking your dog, you witnessed a hit and run. No one was hurt, but the fleeing car did do quite a bit of property damage. Suddenly you’re in the middle of a moral dilemma. Should you report the crime or should you pretend it didn’t happen and simply go home.

While no one can tell you what you should do, you should know that if the police find out that you witnessed the hit and run, or any other type of crime, you should report the incident. There are some crimes, such as child abuse, where failing to report the situation could land you in hot legal water.

Why You Should Report The Crime

Witnessing a crime triggers a strange surge of emotions. On the one hand, you know you have a moral responsibility to tell the authorities what happened. On the other hand, you can’t stop thinking that doing so will make you some sort of tattletale, a title you worked hard to avoid while you were in grade school.

What you have to understand that telling the police about a hit and run driver or blowing the whistle on white-collar crime is not the same thing as telling your teacher that your best friend is jumping in mud puddles and splashing water on everyone.

When it comes to crime, no matter how small the issue might be, you have a moral obligation to report it.

How Much Time Do You Have to Report The Crime?

When it comes to reporting a crime, sooner is better than later. Reporting the crime right away prevents someone else from going to the police and telling that you were on the scene and have failed to report the incident. The other advantage of reporting the crime as quickly as possible is that your memory of the incident will be clear, making you a credible witness.

What Happens If You Don’t Report A Crime?

There are some crimes, particularly those that involve children, that you’re legally required to report. Failing to report a crime that involves a child comes with serious legal ramifications. If you know a child is being abused or neglected you are required to report the crime to a child welfare professional or a police officer. You have to report the situation within 36 hours of witnessing the event.

The maximum penalty for failing to report a child is a $1,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence.

 

When Are You Required To Wear A Face Mask In California

When Are You Required To Wear A Face Mask In California

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered some pretty serious life changes. Recently, California’s governor declared that everyone is required to wear a face mask.

Why Are Face Masks Required In California?

There is a great deal of debate about whether the governor actually can demand that everyone wear a face mask in California. The decision wasn’t one that he, or any of the other states, randomly decided on. While no one is willing to guarantee that face masks will definitely protect you from developing COVID-19 there is plenty of scientific evidence that supports the idea that face masks will slow the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

The most compelling bit of evidence that supports the idea of wearing a face mask is a German study that revealed wearing a face mask reduces the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 by 40%. It is worth noting that medical experts all agree that masks are the most effective when you adhere to other social distancing protocols which include maintaining a six-foot gap between yourself and other people and avoiding large groups.

Who Has To Wear Face Mask In California?

Except for children under the age of two, adults who have a medical reason to not wear a mask and individuals who aren’t able to remove the mask without assistance, everyone is required to wear a face mask. You are expected to wear a mask that is constructed out of tightly-woven material and it has to cover both your nose and mouth.

Where Do Face Masks Have To Be Worn In California?

The law is very clear about where you have to wear your face mask. If you’re indoors and in a public setting, your mouth and nose must be covered. You are allowed to remove it when you’re eating. If you’re utilizing public transportation, a taxi or a rideshare program, you should be wearing your mask.

You are also required to wear a face mask anytime your outdoors and in an area where social distancing protocols aren’t in place.

The governor was quick to explain why he felt the need to create the California face mask law. Simply put, “we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Gov. Gavin Newsom explained in a recent statement.

In addition to wearing your face mask, you can further prevent the spread of COVID-19 by regularly washing your hands, using sanitizer and disinfecting your cell phone.

 

Should You Get Bailed Out Or Stay In Jail?

Should You Get Bailed Out Or Stay In Jail?

Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law and sitting in a cold jail cell is terrifying. Equally terrifying is learning how much bail money you have to come up with before you’re released. Once the amount of your bail is determined, you have to decide if you want to figure out where you’re going to find the money or if you’d rather sit in jail until your case has worked itself through the incredibly slow court system.

It’s not an easy decision.

The Benefits Of Staying In Jail

For one reason or another, some people opt to stay in jail. While it seems like an odd choice, there are actually a few benefits to staying put.

The biggest benefit is that if you’re found guilty of the charges, it’s likely that the judge will take the number of days you’ve already spent in the county jail and subtract them from your final sentence. This is called time served. If the days exceed or match the sentence, you could be freed at the sentencing. This allows you to pick up the pieces of your life without worrying about your legal future.

The second big advantage is that you don’t have to worry about the financial strain of paying bail. While you can use a company like Bail Bonds in Antioch, you’re still responsible for coming up with at least 10% of the bail needed which you won’t get back if you have turned to us for help. Some people find the idea of forfeiting that amount of money stressful and would rather stay in jail.

The Benefits Of Paying Bail

The amount of bail money you have to come up with to secure your release from jail is scary, but in most cases, if you can make bail, you should. There are numerous benefits to paying bail and enjoying your freedom while your case makes it through the court system.

The benefits of paying bail include:

  • You’re more comfortable in your home than in a jail cell.
  • You can continue to work.
  • It’s easier to meet with your lawyer and plan your defense.
  • You get to see your family.
  • There’s less chance of catching a communicable disease, such as COVID-19.

Don’t assume that because you don’t have the funds needed to pay your bail that you have to stay in jail. Bail Bonds in Antioch exists to help people in your position. We have knowledgeable bail agents who are available 24/7 to help you understand the terms of your bail and will help you decide how to cover the cost.

Our services include:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • Phone approvals
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Se habla Español

If you ever need help with bail, just contact Bail Bonds in Antioch. No matter where you are in California, we will be able to assist you. We have been helping Californians deal with bail for over 30 years now, we can help you too!

Bail help is only a phone call away at Bail Bonds in Antioch, call 925-228-5858 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

Bail Bonds Q & A

Bail Bonds Q & A

Do You Need To Pay Bail?

If you’re wondering if you need to pay bail, the simple answer is no. Bail is an amount of money (and sometimes conditions that have to be met) that you have to pay if you wish to be released from jail while your case makes its way through the legal process.

Just because bail has been set, you don’t have to pay it. Some people opt to remain incarcerated while others would prefer to go free. The choice is yours.

Do You Need To Use A Bail Bond Company?

Some people believe that they need to use a company like Bail Bonds in Martinez in order to cover their bail and be released from jail. The truth is that you don’t need to. If you have enough money on your own, you can pay your own bail or have a friend or family member cover the expense. We exist to provide those who don’t have the means to cover the bail on their own with a way to be released. We use your current income to determine a payment plan, we never charge hidden fees and we offer a 20% discount to qualified clients.

How Complicated Is The Bail Bond Process?

The bail bond process is one of the simplest aspects of the judicial process. Shortly after you’ve been charged and arrested, you go before a judge who determines the amount of your bail. At this point, you have the option of paying it or the option to return to jail. If you chose not to bail yourself out right away, you still have the option of doing so at a later date.

If you contact Bail Bonds in Martinez and ask for our help, we require:

  • A proof of residency.
  • A valid state-issued identification card or driver’s license.
  • A pay stub or bank statement that shows regular deposits.

How Much Does It Cost To Speak To A Bail Agent?

At Bail Bonds in Martinez, we provide everyone who contacts us with a FREE consultation. During the consultation, you’ll speak to a highly experienced bail agent who will patiently answer all of your bail-related questions and guide you through the bail bond process. Taking advantage of this consultation is completely free of obligation.

We have a great deal of experience with the local court system and we will do everything in our power to expedite the process so you can return to your family and job.

If I Call, Will I Be Able To Speak With Someone Right Away?

We’re incredibly easy to reach. You can contact Bail Bonds in Martinez via a phone call or through a live chat on our website. Our bail agents are always available and ready to help you 24/7 including holidays.

We promise to handle your case with compassion. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we’ll help you walk away from jail.

For a FREE consultation or if you have any questions regarding bail bonds, call Bail Bonds in Martinez at 925-228-5858 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.