Warrants And The California DMV

Warrants And The California DMV

If you’re worried about going to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) because you’re afraid that they’ll unearth an outstanding warrant and have you arrested, you can take a deep breath and relax. We’ve got your answers.

The issue of warrants and the California DMV is complicated. If you want to know if the DMV employee who is helping you can see if you have a warrant, the answer is yes… maybe.

The DMV’s computer system is linked to many law enforcement computer networks. What the DMV is looking for is any legal reason that would prevent them from driving. If you have warrants for things like driving on a suspended license, failing to have car insurance, unpaid driving tickets, or unpaid child support, the DMV employee does see this information. If the situation has progressed to the point that your license has been suspended, the DMV will take the appropriate action.

According to Legal Beagle, in Ohio, DMV employees alert a customer when they discover that the person they’re helping has an outstanding warrant. That’s not the case in California, where the DMV simply issues a hold on the license.

If you are trying to renew your license and are told you can’t, it’s likely that the California DMV employee will be able to tell you why and who to contact to learn what steps need to be taken in order to get your driver’s license reinstated.

For example, this is the case in Ohio, where courts advise the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when people have outstanding warrants. Similarly, in California, if you fail to appear for a court hearing or to comply with a court order, a DMV hold may be placed on you. This means that there is a good chance you won’t be issued a current driver’s license. It’s unlikely that the DMV will contact the police and have you arrested, particularly if the warrant is for a minor offense such as unpaid tickets.

If you’re concerned that there is a warrant for your arrest and aren’t sure how it will impact your driver’s license, there are third-party websites available where you can find out if you’re named on an arrest warrant. You’ll have to provide your full name, age, and state of residence.

The best way to make sure your driving privileges are never revoked is dealing with legal matters as soon as they happen.

 

Planning A Flight? Make Sure You’re On Your Best Behavior!

Planning A Flight? Make Sure You're On Your Best Behavior!

Most of us have been on a flight where at least one passenger seemed to go out of their way to be difficult. They were loud, overly active, got sassy with the flight attendants, etc. In some cases, the passenger’s bad behavior was amusing. In other situations, it was irritating. Sometimes it even becomes concerning.

The airlines have decided that enough is enough and they are no longer going to tolerate unruly passengers on flights.

Federal safety officials announced last January that they are no longer tolerating bad behavior on flights. The decision was made after multiple airline workers reported that they’d had confrontations with individuals and groups who were flying into Washington D.C. with the intention of joining the protests/riots that shook the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flights throughout the country experienced, “a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”

This is not the first time this issue has come up. Bad behavior on flights has been an ongoing concern since passenger flights first became popular. In 2001, the issue was finally addressed following the 9/11 attacks. Since then, the FAA has continuously explored different methods for identifying and quelling disruptive issues that occur both while in the air and in the actual airport.

Just a few examples of this include a couple who were arrested after they got into an altercation about a bag dispute in the Detroit Metro Airport. Another famous incident involved Alec Baldwin who refused to power off his electronics, despite being asked to do so by a flight attendant.

Stephen Dickson who serves as the administrator for the FAA listened to recent complaints about unruly behavior on flights and signed what is basically a zero-tolerance policy. It’s a one-strike and you’re out policy. If you are accused of being unruly and disturbing the peace while you’re on an airplane, you’ll face serious legal consequences. These extend well beyond being asked to get off the plane.

If you behave badly while in flight, it’s likely you’ll be arrested right after the plane lands. You could be charged up to $35,000 in fines and even serve jail time.

At this point, the FAA considers assaulting or threatening your fellow passengers or the staff who is serving on the plane a disruption of peace. At this point, the order is in effect through March 30. It’s unclear if the FAA will move to extend the order following that date.

If you intend on flying in the next few weeks or months, it is in your best interest to be quiet and be on your best behavior until you reach your destination.

 

What Are Your Rights When A Tenant Won’t Move Out Of Your Home?

What Are Your Rights When A Tenant Won't Move Out Of Your Home?

Owning a rental property is a great opportunity to earn extra money while also helping resolve a small portion of California’s rental housing crisis.

While there are many good things that go along with owning a rental property there are also some downsides. One such drawback is when you have a tenant who simply refuses to move out of your home.

The good news is that there are some things you can do.

California law states that you have a right to tell your tenant that they’re evicted when they’ve:

  • Failed to pay their rent.
  • When they do something that blatantly breaks the rental contract, such as having a dog in a no-pets property.
  • The tenant has done so much damage to the property that it’s lowered the overall property value.
  • The tenant is on the property when they break the law.
  • The neighborhood has repeatedly reported that the tenant is a nuisance.

You can also evict a tenant when they fail to move out after the lease agreement has expired.

California doesn’t allow you to simply tell your tenant that they’re evicted and need to vacate the premises. There’s a legal process you must go through.

The first step involves sending a formal lease termination notice to the tenant. It’s in your best interest to send this notice via registered mail. One exception to the lease termination notice is that in California landlords are allowed to send a simple 60-day notice instead.

Before you can file for an eviction, you must provide the tenant with a minimum of three days to either get caught up on repairs or deal with whatever contact violation led to the eviction notice. Just because three-days have passed doesn’t mean you can change the locks. Now it’s time to file and get the court system involved. The fact your tenant didn’t respond to the eviction notice indicates that they want to fight the situation.

The tenant has the right to remain on the property until the court says they have to move out.

As the landlord, you’ll be pleased to know that most tenants don’t want to get the court involved. Most prefer to leave your property quietly because they don’t want an eviction on their record. That kind of black mark makes it nearly impossible for them to find a nice place to rent in the future.

Just because your tenant has moved off your property, it doesn’t mean you’re done with them. They will want their security deposit back. You have 21 days to go through the property and make a note of any damage they left behind. At this point, you have to either refund the security deposit or explain why they won’t get it. If you’re not returning the full security deposit you have to provide your former tenant with a written explanation. The explanation should include an itemized list of deductions that make it clear that the repairs needed match or exceed the security deposit.

 

What Is The “Bait And Switch” And When Is It Illegal?

What Is The “Bait And Switch” And When Is It Illegal?

Bait and switch is a cute term that refers to a nasty con game. If you’re the victim of a bait and switch scam you’ve purchased one item only to be given something that doesn’t match the description of what you purchased. Bait and switch typically involve businesses who use the tactic to lure customers in by advertising a great product at a fantastic price only to provide something that’s quite different.

Identifying That You Were A Victim Of Bait And Switch

The FTC has done an excellent job of creating guidelines that clarify when a “bait and switch” situation has happened.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you weren’t a victim of a bait and switch con if you:

  • Were convinced to buy something different.
  • If the seller simply runs out of whatever item they were promoting, especially when the business clearly stated that they only had limited quantities of the promoted item.

The only way you are a true victim of bait and switch is when the seller clearly had no intention of selling the promoted product.

Bait and switch occurs when:

  • The seller had no intention of parting with the promoted item.
  • They fail to be honest about warranties, availability, repairs, description, etc.
  • The do something that actively discourages their sales team from selling the promoted item.
  • Simply refuses to sell the bait.
  • Fails to honor the terms of the promotion (such as failing to ship the item in a reasonable amount of time causing you to cancel the item or replace it with something else).

Is Bait And Switch Illegal?

Bait and switch isn’t just an immoral marketing tactic, it is illegal. If you have recently found yourself caught in the middle of a bait and switch scam, there are steps you can take to resolve the situation. The first thing you need to do is contact the FTC and file a formal complaint. This alerts them to the situation and triggers an investigation.

While you’re waiting for the FTC to respond to your complaint, find an experienced lawyer who will not only help you understand all the legal terms but who will also do everything in their power to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. If your lawyer decides you have a strong case, they’ll likely encourage you to file a lawsuit and seek out damages.

What you shouldn’t do, is share your experience on social media or leave scathing reviews on the business website. Saying the wrong thing not only could cost you your bait and switch case, but it could also cause the business to file a slander lawsuit against you. It’s in your best interest to stay quiet until the case has been resolved.

 

Getting Pulled Over In An Automatous Car

Getting Pulled Over In An Automatous Car

We’re getting closer to finally having fully automated cars that are capable of handling our daily commute without much input from us. While the idea is exciting, many are already asking some interesting questions. One such question is what happens if the police pull you over while you’re in an automatous car?

Theoretically, if you’re pulled over for a moving violation while you’re letting an automatous car handle the commute, you shouldn’t be responsible. Right?

Law enforcement agencies are already aware that they could have problems once automatous cars hit the streets. They also know that it’s likely that the issue will come up sooner rather than later which is why they’ve already started discussing the potential issues surrounding these smart vehicles and how to deal with moving violations and accidents.

The issue has brought some of the finest minds together. Members of the state and the federal government have met with bright law enforcement agents, scientists, and automotive manufactures. During their meetings, they’ve discussed issues like what will happen if the smart vehicle’s computer system is hacked, who is responsible when accidents happen, and how to handle ticketing drivers who are responsible for automaton vehicles.

If the technology is approved and you are lucky enough to own a vehicle that’s capable of handling our commute, it’s likely that the vehicle’s capabilities will play a role in whether or not you’re ticketed. If you shut off specific safety features, programmed the car to speed, or did something else that resulted in your violating a moving violation, you’ll likely receive a ticket.

No one really knows what will happen if a programmed car is pulled over for a moving violation that is determined to be the fault of the computer rather than the human driver.

What To Do If You Are Pulled Over

There’s nothing fun about getting pulled over. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done something serious, like running a red light and causing an accident or it’s a minor deal, like the police pulling you over to alert you to a burned-out taillight. The moment you see the lights flashing in your rear view mirror, you start worrying about what you’ve done wrong and how serious the consequences will be.

What You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Pulled Over

What you should do when you’re pulled over isn’t nearly as important as knowing what you shouldn’t do.

Don’t Run

The instinct to step on the gas and go into evasive driving mode as soon as you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror is perfectly natural. It’s an instinct you need to squash. Even if you’re lucky enough to evade the car that’s currently trying to pull you over, the officers will radio for help and someone will find you.

The only thing trying to run will accomplish is making the situation worse. In addition to whatever you were originally being pulled over for, you’ll also face leading a police chase and possibly resisting arrest charges.

Don’t Get Aggressive

Getting aggressive with the police officer who pulled you over won’t do you any good. It creates a tense situation. Not only does getting aggressive with the police officer increase the chances that they’ll issue a ticket rather than simply give a verbal warning, but it’s also likely they’ll get so irritated by your behavior that they find a valid reason to arrest you.

What You Should Do When You’re Pulled Over

When you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror, you should start looking for a safe place where you can pull over. The place you choose should be wide enough for your car, well lit, and if possible, dry. Make sure you pull your car well off the road.

Get your license, proof of insurance, and registration out while the officer walks to your car. By the time they reach your window, you should have everything you need and your hands should be visible. Make sure you keep your hands visible at all times.

You don’t have to be cheerful, but you should at least strive to be polite. Answer all of the officer’s questions honestly and in an even tone. The calmer you are, the calmer they’ll be. While staying cool, calm, and collected might not be easy, maintaining your composure increases the likelihood of you getting off with a warning rather than a ticket.

While you’re allowed to accept the ticket with good grace, you shouldn’t admit to doing anything wrong. As long as you don’t agree that you screwed up, you can always choose to fight the ticket and have it dropped from your driving record.

If you’re ticketed, make sure you pay the fine right away. Delaying payment means the California DMV could choose to suspend your driver’s license.

 

Finding Out If A Person Has An Arrest Warrant

Finding Out If A Person Has An Arrest Warrant

Whether you’re looking because you’re worried an arrest warrant has been filed against you or because you need to know about a person you’re dealing with, everyone has their own reasons for needing to know how to go about finding out if a person has an arrest warrant.

The most common reasons to find out if a person has an arrest warrant include:

  • You want to know if the police are going to knock on your door.
  • You’re worried about what might happen if a traffic cop pulls you over.
  • You need to run a background check on a potential renter/employee.

The good news is that it’s not difficult to find out if a person has an arrest warrant. All you need is a computer, a reliable internet connection, a third party website that deals with a criminal history, and some basic information about the person you’re researching.

The type of information you need to have when launching your search includes:

  • The person’s full, legal name.
  • Their age.
  • The state they’re located in.

The only problem is that sometimes you’ll get information about a different person who has the same name and is the same age. If you suspect you’re looking at the arrest record of someone who isn’t the person you’re researching, you may have to whittle down the search by using a precise address. Once you’ve provided this basic information, you’ll discover an entire treasure trove of interesting information.

In addition to learning if the person has an arrest warrant, you’ll learn:

  • When and where the criminal offenses took place.
  • What types of charges the person has dealt with.
  • The individual’s conviction history.
  • If they have any outstanding arrest warrants currently sworn out against them.

While the criminal history you uncover while trying to see if a person has an arrest warrant is complete though it might be more basic than what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a solid internet connection and know what counties are involved, you can contact the county clerk directly and ask them if you or a person you’re investigating has any arrest warrants. The county clerk should be able to tell you if there are any outstanding arrest warrants and also some basic information about the cases.

While you’ll be able to find out if a person has an arrest warrant and criminal history, there are some situations where the county clerk will be unable to provide much information. Traditionally they’ll be hesitant to provide details about cases that involve:

  • Domestic violence
  • Juveniles
  • Cases that involve family law
  • Cases that are under intense investigation

This is where Martinez Bail Bonds comes in to help.

We provide FREE warrant checks for anyone who needs one.

All you need to do is talk to one of our bail agents, and provide us with your name, birthday, and the county where you think the warrant was issued. If it is in a county where we can look for our clients, we will. If we cannot check-in that county, we will let you know how to find out for yourself.

Here is a list of counties where we can check for warrants:

  • Fresno County
  • Kern County
  • Orange County
  • Riverside County
  • Sacramento County
  • San Bernardino County
  • Stanislaus County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Tulare County – We will also need the case number for warrants in this county.

And sometimes, we can do warrant checks in:

  • Kings County
  • San Joaquin County

If you need to check for a warrant in any of these counties, we will be more than happy to help you. Unfortunately, we are not able to check for warrants in all counties due to each county having different rules when it comes to warrants. This is why we can check for warrants in one county, but not another.

No matter what your situation is, Martinez Bail Bonds will do whatever we can to assist you with your situation. Talk to one of our professional bail agents and get your questions answered. Consultation is FREE!

You can reach Martinez Bail Bonds at 925-228-5858 and click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

What Happens To Debts Of A Deceased Loved One?

What Happens To Debts Of A Deceased Loved One?

Nothing about the death of a loved one is easy. Not only do you have to deal with your grief and sense of loss, but it also won’t be long before you find yourself trying to straighten out their finances and learning what debts they still owe. Figuring out the finances and making sure all outstanding debts are paid is stressful, time-consuming, and confusing.

The first thing you need to figure out is which of your loved one’s debts have to be honored and which became irrelevant when your loved one passed.

Are You Responsible For Your Deceased Loved One’s Debts?

While very few debts simply disappear when a loved one has passed, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to dip into your own bank account to pay them off. The only time you’ll have to dip into your own money is when you co-signed on a loan with the loved one.

The money from any outstanding debts your loved left behind comes out of their estate. Shortly after your loved one’s passing, public notices are issued. At this point, any creditors you’re loved one owed money to will have to contact you or the lawyer you’re using and alert you to the amount of the debt that’s still owed.

The Estate Enters Probate

Many people mistakenly assume that they’ll collect their inheritance within days of their loved one’s passing. That’s never the case. When you’re loved one passes, everything is put into probate. At this point, the person who has been assigned to act as executor of the will steps in and starts managing the estate. If you’re the executor it’s in your best interest to obtain the help of an experienced probate lawyer.

The first thing that happens is that all of the assets your loved one acquired during their life are collected and valued. In this situation, the only assets that matter are the ones that have monetary value, such as houses, vehicles, investments, jewelry, life insurance policies, and bank accounts. Trinkets and non-valuable belongings can be distributed according to the will. If there’s not a will, the items can simply be divided between family members and friends.

The executor of the will (or the probate lawyer you’ve enlisted) contacts all of the creditors who are still owed money. The creditors have a time frame during which they are allowed to file a claim. If the claim is valid, the debt is paid via actual cash your loved one left or via the liquidation of their assets.

Ideally, there will be enough money to pay off all debts. If there isn’t, high priority debts are the first to be paid.

Examples of high priority debts include:

  • Mortgages
  • Bank loans
  • Student loans
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Unpaid taxes

It’s only after these debts are paid in full that credit card debt and personal loans are dealt with.

There are some things that aren’t entered into probate. These are considered “pass outside a will” assets. They include:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Brokerage accounts
  • IRAs
  • 401(k) plan
  • Payable on death accounts

Once all of the outstanding debts are paid off, any financial assets that remain are pooled together and distributed according to your loved one’s wishes.

 

Strange Storage Rules You May Not Know

Strange Storage Rules You May Not Know

If you’re lucky enough to own a home that has a garage you probably assume that you’re free to store whatever you want inside. You probably don’t think it matters if you park a car, use it to store boxes of books, or keep a collection of landscaping tools in your garage.

In most parts of California, no one really cares what you have in your garage. However, if you live in San Francisco or Long Beach, local lawmakers are very concerned about what you do and don’t have in your garage.

The issue is addressed in San Francisco’s Housing Code. You’ll find it in the sixth chapter. The code specifically states that, “Private and public storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall be used only for storage of automobiles.”

What happens if you break the law and store something in your garage besides an automobile? If city officials find out, they’d be within their rights to charge you a $500 fine.

Not only does this law prohibit you from storing things like rakes, boxes of clothing, garden hoses, canned goods, extra appliances, and spare pet supplies in your garage, it also means that even the items you use to care for your car, such as extra quarts of oil, a spare gallon of windshield washer, and air compressors shouldn’t be in your garage.

There is no information available about how many people were busted for storing items other than their vehicle in their garage.

In 2014, the city supervisor did attempt to get this rule, and a few others that were considered silly or outdated, removed from the book of housing codes.

 

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 cancelLed 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 designated driver, 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!

 

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

It has happened to all of us. You’re driving along at what you think is a perfectly acceptable speed when you notice a car behind you. Under most circumstances, the other car wouldn’t bother you, but this driver has decided you’re not going fast enough so they proceed to get as close to your bumper as they possibly can with the hopes that it will encourage you to step on the gas.

Some of us can ignore this behavior. Other drivers will speed up. Then there are those of us who decide this is the perfect time for a brake check.

What Is A Brake Check?

A brake check is stepping on your brakes, hard, for no reason other than to startle the driver behind you into backing off.

Are Brake Checks Legal?

While the idea of brake checking the driver behind you seems appealing, you should stop and consider the consequences before you do so. California’s highway patrol is quick to point out that drivers who brake check are quite possibly breaking vehicle code 22109. That means you could be the person who gets the ticket.

The problem with brake checking is that most of these instances tend to involve two aggressive drivers. The driver in the lead is irritated that they’re being pushed. The driver that’s tailgating is irritated that they’re not traveling faster. Too often what starts off as tailgating and brake checking leads to a nasty road rage incident.

How You Should Respond If Someone Is Tailgating You

Rather than brake checking the driver who is tailgating you, you should employ one of two methods designed to get them off your bumper.

The first is to simply ignore them. If they don’t want to pass, simply keep driving until they finally give in and either slow down or work their way around you. If you decide to do this, don’t slow down, which the other driver could perceive as an aggressive move.

The second thing you can do is pull over and let the other driver go around you. Only do this when you’re in a location where you can safely do so.

If the situation doesn’t get better or you feel that the other driver poses a threat, you can call the police and report the situation. Make sure you give them your location, the direction your traveling, and a description of the car that’s tailgating you.