California DUIs In The New Year

California DUIs In The New Year

You should never get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. If you plan on drinking, you should plan on walking home, or getting a ride from a sober driver, or using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.

In the past, a DUI arrest could have a huge and negative impact on your life. It still will, but thanks to Assembly Bill 3234 you may have some options that weren’t available to you before.

DUIs are one of the crimes that Assembly Bill 3234 targets. Instead of getting hit with a bunch of jail time and fines, you’ll have the option to enter into a diversion program. The diversion program will consist of several different components which will include taking classes that are designed to help you identify why your driving after drinking happened and complete a great deal of community service. You’ll also likely be charged a significant fine. You would also have to make restitution to anyone who was hurt by your actions.

It appears that you would have 24 months to complete the program. Once the program is completed, the matter would be erased from your record. Having the record erased means your actions would’t negatively impact your ability to qualify for housing, land great employment opportunities, or deal with sky-rocketing auto insurance rates.

The Bill officially kicks in in 2021. Taking advantage of the change requires that you work closely with a good defense lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the Bill and who will be able to help you argue your case before a judge.

At this point, it appears that judges are free to determine who should and should’t be entered into the diversion program. It’s not clear what judges will look at when they determine who will and won’t be granted the opportunity to clear the DUI from their record.

Assembly Bill 3234 can only be used in misdemeanor cases. If you’re charged with a felony DUI, it won’t help you.

It does’t appear that Assembly Bill 3234 will protect you from any civil cases that named you as the defendant in DUI cases.


Squatting In California

Squatting In California

There is a housing problem in California. The state has more people who need a home than there are affordable rental options available. The shortage of available housing is likely why there seems to have been an increase in “squatting” cases.

What is Squatting?

Squatting is a slang term that’s used to describe the practice of moving into a living space, such as an empty apartment, and using it as a residence. Squatting is the common term. The formal term the California court system likes to use is adverse possession.

While it’s usually easy to determine that the person who has taken up residence is a squatter, figuring out both the squatter’s and property owner’s actual legal rights is complicated.

The interesting thing about squatting is that it’s not an actual crime. The only time legal charges are filed against the squatter is if the property owner can prove that the squatters are guilty of trespassing.

A property owner can file a civil lawsuit against a squatter, which they can use to recoup lost rent, property damage and even some legal fees.

Squatters Can Claim Ownership

The last thing a property owner wants to do is ignore anyone who is squatting on their property. The sooner the owner acts, the better. In California, if a person has taken “adverse possession” of a property and the legal owner does nothing to remove them from the property, the squatter becomes the new legal owner. In California, five years is the length of time a squatter has to stay on the property before they can own it.

Moving A Squatter Off Your Property

Moving a squatter, especially if the squatter is a tenant who simply refused to move out after their lease ran out, isn’t easy.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to file an eviction notice. While the squatter might ignore the order, it does establish legal documentation that shows you don’t want the person residing on your property.

If the date listed on the eviction notice has passed but the squatters are still in residence on your property, you will have to file a civil lawsuit. The burden of proof will rest on you. You’ll have to prove that you didn’t want them residing on your property and that they’ve failed to pay rent or adhere to a rental contract. The judge will want to see a copy of the eviction notice you filed.

Once you’ve won the civil lawsuit, you’ll be able to have the police help you remove the squatter from your property.

It’s very important to enlist the experience of a good lawyer through every step of this process.


Handling Hate Crimes In California

Handling Hate Crimes In California

Hate crimes are a far bigger problem than many people realize. Data collected by the Justice Department indicates that starting in 2013 and ending in 2017, there were approximately 55,000 gender-related hate crimes in the United States.

As if the number of hate crimes wasn’t already scary enough, recent stats indicate that there is a problem in how theses crimes are documented by the authorities. A recent batch of statistics indicated that police departments around the country dealt with just 215 gender-related hate crimes. At first, that sounds great, the number has gone way down, but the number of problems the police reported is just 3% of the same type of hate crimes the FBI dealt with during that same period.

What Are Hate Crimes?

On the surface, hate crimes appear to be leveled at just one or a small group of people, but experts know that hate crimes are more. While only a few people might draw the actual anger and bias of the person who is dishing out the hate, it is a problem that impacts everyone. It’s an attack on an entire, large group of people and an attack that shakes the self-esteem of the entire country.

A hate crime is a nasty attack that is directed at someone because they represent a specific group of people. Examples of hate crimes include crimes that are initiated because the attackers are upset about their victim’s:

  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Sexuality
  • Disability
  • Race/Ethnicity

There have also been hate crimes that were aimed at a person because that person was a member of an association their attacker didn’t like. Victims of hate crimes are usually people who are simply going about their day when they inadvertently attract their attacker.

Hate crimes typically escalate in violence. It’s not unusual for them to start with verbal threats and escalate into situations that involve property damage, bullying, assault and even murder.

Charges Associated with Hate Crimes in California

The parameters the state has set for hate crimes include:

  • Injuring or intimidating someone so badly that they are no longer able to exercise their ability to live according to the California Constitution or United States Constitution.
  • Damaging someone’s property.

Many people who are ultimately convicted of a hate crime are originally charged with assault or property damage.

One of the interesting things about California’s hate crime policy is that if the prosecutor involved with your case believes you acted out of hatred for another person’s race/gender/sexual orientation/etc. they are free to mount a criminal case against you, even if you didn’t commit any other type of crime.

In California, hate crimes are a misdemeanor offense. The penalties connected to hate crimes in California include:

  • A fine that can be up to $5,000.
  • One year in a county jail.
  • As much as 400 hours of community service.

The best way to avoid being found guilty of a hate crime is to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself while you’re around people who are different from yourself. Who knows, you might even learn that accepting other people’s differences actually improves the quality of your life.


Tips For Protecting Yourself From Fake News

Tips For Protecting Yourself From Fake News

The term fake news has been used a lot over the past four years. The good news is that hearing the term so often has made people stop and think about how much we take news stories for granted. Today, more than ever, we have come to understand that even the most trusted news sources have an agenda and that they understand how to work an angle.

You’ll be happy to know that there are some things you can do to protect yourself from fake news.

Don’t Rely On A Single Source

The more versions of a news story you read/watch/listen to, the more similarities you’ll pick out. These little commonalities are the kernels of truth. Pay attention to them and you’ll eventually get to the real story.

Check The Sources

The best way to protect yourself from fake news is by paying careful attention to the sources provided. This doesn’t mean looking at which news anchor is presenting a story (though that’s also a good idea) but looking at how that news anchor got the story. Did it come from someone who was in the middle of a situation or was it from a second, third, or fourth source?

Double Check Quotes

Many people mistakenly think that just because a news story includes quotes, that the story must be relevant. Taking quotes out of context or only sharing a portion of what the person said can completely alter the tone of a news story. If a quote feels off or seems manipulative, it’s a good idea to find the entire interview and read the quote for yourself. You’ll be surprised how often seeing the comments in their entirety completely changes the news story.

Do Your Own Research

Don’t take any news story at face value. Learning how to do your research is one of the best ways to protect yourself from fake news. Research doesn’t mean turning to your social media accounts. Most of what you see on social media isn’t news, but rather people’s responses to fake news. Try to find out the origins of the story, who was responsible for publishing it and check to see which people are involved. The more time you dedicate to researching a news story, the greater the odds are that you’ll eventually find the truth.

The great thing about learning how to protect yourself from fake news is that it doesn’t take long before you start to recognize the early signs, such as click-bait headlines and strangely chopped interviews, of fake news.


Tips For Bailing A Loved One Out Of Jail

Tips For Bailing A Loved One Out Of Jail

It doesn’t matter if it’s a spouse, a parent, a child or a best friend. When you learn that someone you love has been arrested, your first thought will be that you need to do whatever it takes to get them out of jail. While they are locked up, your loved one has very little control over their life but if you bail them out, they can work, spend time with you and easily meet with their lawyer so they can start preparing their defense.

The problem many people face is that they don’t know how to go about bailing a loved one out of jail. The good news is that at Bail Bonds in Antioch, we can help.

The Cost Of Bailing A Loved One Out Of Jail

Finding out a loved one has been arrested is pretty shocking. Learning how much it will cost to bail that person out is often equally shocking. Factors that impact the amount of bail needed include:

  • What charges have been filed against your loved one
  • They’re criminal history
  • If they have a history of failing to appear in court

Your loved one will only be released after the full bail amount has been paid.

Don’t assume that just because you don’t have enough cash readily available to bail your loved one out of jail that there’s nothing you can do to help them. There is. Instead of taking on the responsibility of posting the bail yourself, you can seek a bail bond.

What Is A Bail Bond?

A bail bond is an agreement you enter into with a reliable and reputable bail bond company such as Bail Bonds in Antioch. In exchange for a fee that amounts to 10% of the bail, we agree to post your loved one’s bail. In fact, depending on your loved one’s financial situation, they might not even require that you co-sign or put up any collateral.

Why Choose Our Services

While there are many bail bond companies you can choose from, it is in your best interest to turn to Bail Bonds in Antioch. We’re a family-owned bail company that has more than 30 years of experience working with local court systems. We know the local bail system inside out and we will do everything in our power to see that your loved one is released as quickly as possible.

We have an extensive range of services that include:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • Over the Phone Approvals
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Easy to Understand Contracts
  • Discrete Service
  • Se habla Español

If you or someone you know needs bail help anywhere in California, give Bail Bonds in Antioch a call. We are always available and ready to assist you 24/7. Call us today!

Don’t hesitate to call, consultation at Bail Bonds in Antioch is always FREE, so call us at 925-228-5858 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

Your Privacy And Bail Bonds

Your Privacy And Bail Bonds

One of the worse things about living in the technology age is that everyone seems to know what is going on in your life even before you do. If you’re arrested, it’s likely that everyone in your social group already knows when it happened, who was involved, what jail you’ve been taken to and what the exact charges are before you’re even processed. Worst of all, everyone already has an opinion about the situation.

Given how fast bad news spreads, it’s easy to wonder if there is anyone who will respect your privacy during this trying time. The answer is yes. Every single person at Bail Bonds in Martinez does everything in their power to help you maintain as much privacy as possible.

No One Has To Know You’ve Talked To Us

Getting arrested is bad. Having everyone know that you can’t cover your own bail and require a bail bond is even worse. We understand and have arranged things so that no one has to know you’ve even contacted us. Chatting via the internet or a phone call is the perfect way to stay up-to-date with your bail bond situation without having to worry that half of the community will see you walking into our office.

24/7 Bail Bond Service

The last thing you need is to lose your job because you’ve been arrested. The best way to make sure your boss doesn’t find out about your legal situation any sooner than necessary is getting released from jail before you’re late to your next shift. We can help make that happen.

You’re free to call or chat with us at any time of the day or night. We will provide you with a FREE consultation and make sure you understand all the ins and outs of the bail bond program. If you decide you want to use our services, we’ll jump into action and get you out of jail as quickly as we possibly can. With us in your corner, you’ll spend a minimal amount of time in a jail cell.

Payment Plans Available

We understand that you don’t want to bring anyone else into your situation. While there are some situations where we do require a co-signer, there are also plenty of times when we haven’t. Not having a co-signer spares you the embarrassment of having to tell someone the details of your life.

Everything Is Confidential

When you sign a contract with Bail Bonds in Martinez, we promise to keep everything confidential. We won’t tell anyone the details of your case or that you turned to us for help.

There are many reasons you should contact us. Privacy is just one of the things you’ll enjoy when you come to us for help. Our outstanding bail services include:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • Over the Phone Approvals
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Easy to Understand Contracts
  • Discrete Service
  • Se habla Español

We have done everything in our power to make the entire bail bond process as fast and stress-free as possible. Call us today to learn more. We promise, we won’t let you down.

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

The Consequences Of Failing To Take Precautions When You Have COVID-19

The Consequences Of Failing To Take Precautions When You Have COVID-19

The words COVID, quarantine and social distancing have become a regular part of our lives recently. Most of us have taken the necessary steps to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. However, there are a few people in the world who don’t fully understand the seriousness of the situation and continue to go about their normal routine and interact with others, even when they know they’re COVID positive.

A perfect example of people deciding to continue with their plans to live a normal life despite a positive COVID test is a couple who decided that they would travel from San Francisco to Kaua’i. No one is happy about the couple’s choice.

While it’s unclear if the couple had exhibited any symptoms before boarding their American Airlines flight, they were aware that they’d tested positive. Their condition had been caught during the pre-travel screenings which includes a COVID test. Not only did the couple know about the positive test results, but they’d also been clearly instructed to self-quarantine until they tested negative.

The couple likely thought they wouldn’t get caught or if they did that, there wouldn’t be any consequences. They were wrong. Not only has the couple been ordered into isolation, but second-degree reckless endangerment charges have also been filed against them. If the couple is found guilty, they could face a $2,000 fine and a year of jail time. They have been released from jail on bail.

The couple aren’t the only ones who have to live with the consequences of their bad choices. The biggest worry everyone currently has is how many people the couple interacted with and potentially exposed to this virus. Efforts are currently underway to conduct a full-contact tracing investigation and to alert everyone who was even potentially exposed to the couple that they will now have to quarantine themselves. Because the couple made a poor decision, lawmakers have decided that anyone who is coming into Kaua’i must spend 14-days in self-quarantine, regardless of whether they’ve tested positive for COVID.

So far, not much has been said about the potential consequences of failing to self-isolate after a positive COVID-19 test, but if 2020 has proven anything, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye. It’s reasonable to assume that if COVID cases continue to increase and the hospitals are unable to keep up with medical needs, states, including California, will start enforcing self-quarantining guidelines. This is something we’re starting to see in the United Kingdom, where stories of people who fail to follow COVID-related laws are getting charged up to $10,000 in fines.

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and are thinking about running to the store or going into work for a few hours, there’s something else you should consider. If you knowingly expose someone to COVID-19, there is a chance that they can turn around and name you in a civil lawsuit.

All things considered, it’s in your best interest to stay home after you learn you’ve tested positive for COVID-19. It’s possible that it won’t be long before we start hearing reports of charges getting filed against individuals who decide to go to work, grocery shopping or even take a walk.


Is It Legal In California To Drive With Earbuds On?

Is It Legal In California To Drive With Earbuds On?

Since Bluetooth headphones were invented, which let us do everything from answering phone calls to listening to our favorite tunes, it seems like we always have earphones inserted into our ears. It’s so easy to listen to your favorite music or audiobook while you’re getting ready to go and leave the earbuds on once you start driving.

What some people don’t realize is that continuing to use earbuds while driving is illegal in California.

For years, driving with headphones on has been illegal in California. Many lawmakers assumed that earbuds fell into the same category as headphones, but as is always the case, someone protested that they weren’t the same thing. Rather than argue with every single driver who got pulled over for wearing earbuds, California lawmakers passed a law that officially made it illegal to drive with earbuds.

The new law means you can’t wear headphones, earbuds or a single ear Bluetooth earpiece while you’re behind the wheel.

Why Can’t You Wear Earbuds While Driving In California?

You might not think that your earbuds impact your ability to drive safely, but California lawmakers disagree.

Here are few reasons why they made it illegal to wear earbuds while driving:

  • Earbuds, particularly noise-cancelling earbuds, makes it difficult to hear sounds such as train whistles, sirens and honking that are happening outside your car. Failing to hear these sounds increases the likelihood of you getting into an accident.
  • Listening to things via earbuds can pull your attention away from things that are taking place on the road in front of you, such as a child running across the street or a school bus turning on their flashers.
  • Earbuds encourage you to answer your phone while driving, something that drastically increases the risk of you getting into an accident.

Consequences Of Wearing Earbuds While Driving In California

The good news is that if you get caught driving while wearing earbuds, you won’t face criminal charges. Unless you’re lucky enough to be pulled over by an officer who is willing to let you get away with just a warning, you’ll be issued a ticket and charged a $197 fine. The traffic infraction will add a single point to your driving record which will likely increase your insurance premiums. Additional points and fines will be added if you got into an accident or violated additional traffic laws while wearing your earbuds behind the wheel.

All things considered, it’s in your best interest to remove your earbuds while you drive.


Dealing With Child Abandonment In California

Dealing With Child Abandonment In California

Child neglect has been in the minds of California lawmakers for a long time. From 1987-1995 there was a 27% increase in child abuse/neglect cases. In 1994 alone, the state dealt with 664,000 child abuse/neglect cases, with 90,000 children becoming involved in the state’s foster program. No one was happy about the situation.

In California, child abandonment laws and child neglect laws are tangled up together. Issues that are covered in the state’s child neglect/abuse laws include:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Exploitation of minors
  • General neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Severe neglect
  • Sexual abuse

The state’s child abuse and child neglect laws were put in place specifically to make it possible for the state to criminalize the actions of any parent they feel isn’t properly caring for their child. The goal was to make parents understand that they would be held accountable for their actions.

The state has the right to press child abuse or neglect charges against any parent that is withholding:

  • Food
  • Medical care
  • Shelter
  • Basic remedial care that all children require

When Income Is An Issue

According to California’s Penal Code 270 which deals with child neglect, being found guilty of child neglect requires: “Proof of abandonment or desertion of a child by such parent or the omission by such parent to furnish necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical attendance or other remedial care for his or her child is prima facie evidence that such abandonment or desertion or omission to furnish necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical attendance or other remedial care is willful and without lawful excuse.”Source

There’s no getting around the fact that income plays a huge role in a parent’s ability to care for their child. State lawmakers understand that as does the court system. When prosecutors reviews a child abuse/neglect case, they look at the parent’s financial status and determine if the parent did their best to provide their child with care based on their financial situation. They will also look to see if the parent made an effort to take advantage of state-funded programs that are designed to help people who live below the poverty level care for their children by providing basic food, hygiene and medical staples.

There is a section of Penal Code 270, that addresses the issue of income and child neglect cases. “The court, in determining the ability of the parent to support his or her child, shall consider all income, including social insurance benefits and gifts.”

When dealing with a child abuse/neglect case, the court’s primary goal is to make sure the parents did everything in their power to care for their child and to provide the child with a loving and nurturing home.

What Happens If You’re Found Guilty Of Child Neglect?

If you’re found guilty of child neglect in California, the judge can sentence you to a full year in jail. This will likely be followed by a probation period. The court also has the right to issues fines that can’t exceed $2,000. It is also possible that you’ll lose custody of your child.

The best way to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of California’s child abuse/neglect laws is by providing your child with the best possible childhood.


The Long Lasting Consequences Of Drunk Driving In California

The Long Lasting Consequences Of Drunk Driving In California

Like all other states, California has taken a hard stance on drunk driving. It isn’t tolerated. If you’re caught behind the wheel after having just a little too much to drink, you’ll face steep consequences that will have a major impact on the overall quality of your life.

California’s Legal Limit

California has different legal limits for different types of drivers. For the average, adult driver in California, anything over a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08% is considered too high to legally drive. Drivers who haven’t reached their 21st birthday, anything over 0.05% is considered a DUI. Commercial drivers as well as drivers who are involved with a ride-share program aren’t allowed to get behind the wheel if their BAC is above 0.04%.

If you are pulled over and the officer believes you’ve been drinking, they’ll likely administer a breath test that measures your BAC. If the BAC is considered close, but not quite at the legal limit, it’s likely you’ll still be arrested. The reason for this is because it can take a little time for the true BAC to be accurate. You’ll receive a second test at the jail. By this point, the BAC level will be accurate. If it’s above the legal limit, the officer will go through with the arrest. Both of the BAC tests are admissible in court. In many cases, the first test is a breath test and the second test is taken via a blood draw.

Penalties Of Driving Drunk In California

California lawmakers aren’t playing around when it comes to drunk drivers. The penalties are steep and were designed to scare people into only getting behind the wheel while they’re sober. The penalties become more severe each time you’re charged with a DUI.

First Offense

The first time you’re caught driving while under the influence, the maximum amount of time you can spend in county jail is six months. You’ll also be charged fines that will range from $390-$1,000. Your license will be suspended and you won’t be able to drive for up to six months. Your ignition can be locked for 6 months to one full year, and you’ll only be allowed to drive on a restricted license during that time.

Second Offense

The second DUI charge means a minimum of 92 hours and a maximum of 1 full year in a county jail. The court can charge you fines that range from $390-$2,000. You can lose your license for a full two years, making it difficult to work, especially if you live in a rural area. After you get a restricted license, the court can limit your driving with an ignition lock that will remain in your vehicle for up to one year.

Third Offense

The third time you’re found guilty of DUI charges, you’ll be sentenced to as little as 120 days or as long as one year in jail. You’ll get charged at least $1,800 in fines. You’ll also lose your license for 3 years and potentially have an ignition lock installed in your vehicle for an additional 2 years.

California lawmakers have arranged things so that each DUI conviction remains on your record for a full 10 years.

In addition to actual DUI penalties, if you were in an accident while driving drunk, you will also face any charges that were incurred during the accident. This can include minor traffic offenses or vehicular manslaughter.

Medications Can Mess Up Your Life

There are several medications that can play havoc on your body when you mix them with alcohol. The problem with many medications, even some over-the-counter allergy medications, is that they alter the way your body absorbs alcohol. This means that if you go to the bar and have your normal amount of alcohol, and the amount that in most cases allows you to legally drive home, the medication could have created a significantly higher blood alcohol level and you’ll be arrested for DUI. Several people have had their lives destroyed because they didn’t realize how badly the medication and alcohol would react.

If you’re on medication, it’s in your best interest to not get behind the wheel if you have accidentally mixed the alcohol and the medication. Call a friend, get a room, hire a taxi. Do anything other than getting in your car.