Most Common Reasons People Are Arrested During the Holiday Season

Most Common Reasons People Are Arrested During the Holiday Season

The holidays are here. For most of us, that means spending time with friends and family members we love. This is a time when we make good memories and spread love.

Unfortunately, not all of us will enjoy the holiday season. Some studies indicate that crime rates increase during the holiday season. There are a few different reasons for the surge of crime. First, people have time off work which gives them more time to get into trouble. Second, many people who don’t usually overindulge will often misjudge how much alcohol they’ve consumed. The increased alcohol content lowers inhibitions and results in them doing things they’d never have considered if they were sober. The third reason crime rates increase during the holiday season is because money is often tight.

Police have noticed that there are certain crimes that surge more than others during the holidays.

Drunk driving offenses are always a problem during the holidays. People get together and want to have a good time which often involves alcohol. The problem is that many don’t plan to spend the night where they are drinking and fail to have a DD at the ready so they slide behind the wheel and ultimately get caught driving while intoxicated. 

The best way to make sure you aren’t charged with a DUI this holiday season is to only drink while you’re home, always having a DD at the ready, or arranging to take a cab/Uber home. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get yourself home safely, stay away from the alcohol. Staying sober might not seem like fun, but it beats spending a night in jail and dealing with the fallout of a drunk driving arrest.
Retailers report that shoplifting increases during the holiday season. This is likely due to the fact that some people find themselves short of money and unable to purchase gifts for their families. If you’re contemplating stealing a gift this holiday season, please reconsider. Store managers are going to be on the lookout for sticky fingers and with more stores installing elaborate video surveillance systems, the odds of you getting away with the theft are small. Instead of trying to steal a gift, consider making a homemade present.

Domestic violence arrests also increase during the holiday season. There are likely a few different reasons for this. First, stress over finances and strained family relationships can push some people over the edge. Second, people are often home rather than working and the increased contact can result in some pushed buttons. Third, having family and friends around can encourage the victim to report the violent acts which they may not have felt they could do in the past.

Recognizing that emotions run high during the holidays, it’s in your best interest to recognize when your temper is getting short and remove yourself from the situation before you react with violence. It’s better to take a walk or go for a long drive than to get arrested for domestic violence during the holidays.

Stay safe this holiday season!

Read more >

Avoid a Drunk Driving Charge This Christmas

Avoid a Drunk Driving Charge This Christmas

No one wants to spend the Christmas season sitting in a jail cell with a DUI charge hanging over their head, yet that’s exactly what will happen to several people this holiday season. Drunk driving is one of the most common reasons people are arrested during the holidays. 

Don’t assume that since it’s the holiday season, you can safely make it home after spending a few hours in the bar. You simply can’t anticipate every single situation you’ll encounter during the journey. There’s always a chance that something will happen and you’ll get into an accident. 

The other problem with taking a chance during the holiday season is that state and local officers know that there are going to be more drunk drivers on the roads than during other times of the year. They’re prepared for this. There will likely be more officers patrolling the streets and they are going to be on the lookout for the erratic driving habits that indicate the person behind the wheel has had a few too many. They will pull you over and if you’ve been drinking, you will be arrested.

No one is going to go lightly on you just because you were caught driving while under the influence during the holidays. The potential sentence for a first offense will be a misdemeanor charge with a potential sentence of 3-5 years of probation, up to $1,000 in fines, losing your driver’s license for six months, and substance abuse school. If you’re in an accident that involves an injury or death, you’ll face additional charges that have significantly more serious penalties.

The thing you must understand about DUIs during the holidays is that they are actually pretty easy to avoid. If you’re going out, either with friends or by yourself, assume that you will drink too much and come up with a plan to get home. Arrange for someone to pick up when it’s time to leave the bar or party. If you can’t find a friend or family member to come to get you, take a cab or book an Uber. Spending a few bucks on the fare is considerably cheaper than getting convicted of a DUI.

Make this a happy holiday season that is full of good memories. The best way to do that is to make sure you only get behind the wheel when you’re completely sober.

Read more >

What to Do if Your Neighbor’s Christmas Decorations are Over the Top

What to Do if Your Neighbor’s Christmas Decorations are Over the Top

The holiday season is here. For many of us, that means breaking up the average, boring scenery with decorations that depict your favorite part of the holiday. Most of us love seeing how creative our neighbors are and will even sometimes engage in holiday decoration contests where you try to see who can upstage whom.

For the most part, holiday decorations are fun and everyone enjoys them but there are always exceptions. Sometimes a neighbor will go too far and instead of being a source of joy, the holiday decorations are actually an annoyance. 

It’s important to know how to respond when your neighbor’s holiday decorating goes too far.

The first thing you should do is remind yourself that the holiday season is relatively short. The odds are good that the decorations will only be up for a few weeks. Try to decide if this is something that you really can’t live with for the short term.

If the decorations are really driving you crazy, have a friendly chat with your neighbor to discuss the situation. Explain exactly what the problem is and ask if they think there is a way you can compromise. If it’s a case of the flashing lights or sound effects keeping you up at night, maybe they will agree to turn off the problem decorations at an earlier time in the evening.

If they have decorations you simply find offensive, maybe you can convince your neighbor to move that particular item to a different part of their property where you don’t have to see it.

When meeting with your neighbors about their decorating, you must be prepared to compromise. It took a great deal of time to plan and set up the decorations which they obviously love. They won’t be willing to undo all of that hard work. When you’re willing to compromise, rather than simply making demands, your neighbor will be more willing to consider your side of things.

If the issue isn’t the decorations themselves, but rather the sheer amount of traffic the elaborate display is attracting, you can contact the police and ask them to patrol the area which will encourage traffic to continue moving.

Good luck and enjoy the holiday season!

Read more >

What Happens if You’re Caught With Heroin in your Possession in California

What Happens if You're Caught With Heroin in your Possession in California

California lawmakers have adopted a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to heroin. It doesn’t matter if you transporting it, using it, dealing it, or anything else, getting caught with heroin is a serious offense. 

California has a number of specific laws that pertain to heroin. They include:

• Possession for personal use
• Possession with the intent to sell
• Driving under the influence of heroin
• Being caught under the influence of heroin

The state is so serious about cracking down on heroin use, charges can even be filed against you if you happen to be near someone who is using or in possession of heroin.

The majority of the heroin cases that make their way through the California legal system are cases that deal with the simple possession of heroin. Simply having heroin in a pocket or stored in your car is a violation of HS 11350. This is a misdemeanor offense. The good news is that if you’re convicted, the amount of time you spend in jail isn’t terribly long, the maximum sentence is a year in a county jail. The bad news is that the conviction could come as a serious financial blow, with a maximum fine of $20,000.

Many people who are caught with simple possession of heroin opt to take part in California’s drug diversion program.

If you are convicted of possession with the intent to sell heroin, you’re guilty of violating Health and Safety Code 11351 HS. This is a felony conviction. The sentencing includes 2-4 years in a California state prison and a fine as large as $20,000.

The amount of heroin you have on you at the time of your arrest will also play a huge role in how serious the sentence is. If you have more than one kilogram of heroin on you when you are arrested, the judge will take the original sentence they’ve issued and add anywhere from 3-25 years to the amount of time you have to serve in prison. The $20,000 fine could also be increased to several hundred thousand of dollars.

Any heroin arrest that involves the intent to sell automatically disqualifies you from the drug diversion program.

But what if you’re not using heroin but simply happen to be hanging out with someone who is? If you know that they are using heroin while you’re with them, you can be charged with breaking Health & Safety Code 11365 HS. While this isn’t a good charge, it’s not nearly as serious as being in actual possession of heroin. If convicted, you’ll have a misdemeanor charge added to your record and could be potentially sentenced to 6 months in a county jail.

Read more >

California’s Drug Diversion Program

California’s Drug Diversion Program

Drugs are a serious problem in California. They are one of the main sources of criminal activity which is why California lawmakers are exploring ways that they can reduce the number of drug addictions in the state. The California Drug Diversion Program is a huge part of the state’s attempt to help those who are dealing with serious drug addictions.

The program is designed to provide individuals who have been charged with either using drugs or being in possession of drugs with an option to seek help rather than facing jail time and hefty fines. To be eligible for the program, the individual must not have been involved in a violent crime.

For most people who are facing drug possession charges, the most appealing thing about the program is that it provides them with the means to potentially avoid spending time in jail. The way this works is that the defendant has to express a genuine desire to successfully participate in the program. If the judge is willing, they will defer the jail sentence until the defendant either completes the program or drops out of it. 

Not serving jail time for a drug possession charge enables the defendant to continue doing things that allow them to improve their life. For example, as a program participant, you’ll be free to continue pursuing your schooling and work. You may even be able to hide the news of your recent arrest from some of your friends and family members.

If the defendant fails to complete the program, they will have to serve the original sentence.

The second-best thing about participating in the program is that it provides you with the means to erase the drug possession incident from your record. Once you’ve successfully completed the program, which takes a year, the drug possession charge will be removed from your record. This is a great deal since that single drug possession charge could have come back to haunt you whenever you applied for a job, loan, state license, etc.

If the program works, when you complete it, you should have overcome your drug addiction and be able to enjoy a clean life and no longer have to constantly worry about things like random drug tests or the police searching your car when you’re pulled over for speeding.

Read more >

What to do if You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated From Your Job

What to do if You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated From Your Job

There are valid reasons for an employer to let an employee go. There are also invalid reasons which are considered wrongful terminations. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, it means that you feel your employer violated public policy or state/federal law.

Unless your employer was doing something that broke the law, such as asking you to help them embezzle funds, you probably won’t be able to file criminal charges against them. What you will be able to do is file a civil suit. If you win the case, you should be able to recoup some of your lost wages and possibly even some punitive damages.

The first step you need to take when you believe you were wrongfully terminated from your job is figuring out exactly why your employer fired you. This isn’t always easy. 

The most important step in proving that you were wrongfully terminated is getting a copy of all your performance reviews. Ideally, you would have received and saved copies of these during your time with the company, but if you didn’t you’ll have to request them from your former employer. In addition to the performance records, you should also have a copy of the contract you signed when you started working for the employer and any paperwork you received when you were let go. The better your records are, the easier proving your wrongful termination case will be.

If you’re missing some of the paperwork you need, refrain from verbally requesting the missing information. It’s far better to submit a written request. Make sure you keep a copy of this written request. Your records should have when the request was submitted, how it was submitted, who took the request, and how long before they should provide you with the requested information.

Most wrongful termination cases involve the employer telling the employee that they are being let go because they violated one of the company’s policies. When this happens, immediately request proof of this violation. This is called Proof of Misconduct. The proof generally comes in the form of written disciplinary action. Your employer should be able to provide you with the Proof of Misconduct as soon as they let you know that you’ve been terminated.

Depending on the situation, it may be possible to find other employees who have had the same experience with your former employee. These are valuable resources as they will help you establish a pattern of behavior.

Once you have all of these things, the next step is finding a good employment law attorney who will advise you on the best way to handle the situation. 

Read more >

California Vehicular Manslaughter Law

California Vehicular Manslaughter Law

Vehicular manslaughter is a crime that terrifies most drivers. The thing about vehicular manslaughter is that it’s the type of crime that’s done completely without intent and often happens during a split moment of inattention.

According to the law, vehicular manslaughter in California happens when a driver drives in a manner that’s either negligent or unlawful. As a direct result of the driver’s actions, another person is killed. A driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if the fatality occurred in a different car, if it was a passing pedestrian, or even if it was a passenger who was sharing the car with the driver.

One of the issues that makes vehicular manslaughter such a challenging crime in California is that there is almost a sliding scale that’s used to determine just how at fault the driver was which plays a huge role in the legal consequences of their actions.

When dealing with a vehicular manslaughter case, the prosecution has to look at many things including factors such as weather, visibility, and the history of that area (is there a high rate of accidents at the location) and the driver’s history while they put together a case.

One of the first things the prosecution does is decide if you acted with gross negligence or ordinary negligence. This determines whether you’re charged with felony vehicular manslaughter or misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in California.

Two examples of gross vehicular manslaughter in California would be getting involved in a fatal accident while intoxicated or knowingly driving a vehicle that had faulty brakes.

Examples of normal negligent vehicular manslaughter in California would be failing to notice a traffic sign and getting into an accident. This may change to gross negligence if your driving history indicates that you routinely ignore traffic signs or the rules of the road.

In both cases, the only way the court can secure a guilty conviction for vehicular manslaughter in California is by proving that you caused the accident.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter the maximum sentence you’ll face is up wot a year in a county jail. It’s possible that the judge will include probation and fines to the sentence. You may lose your driving privileges as well. 

A guilty conviction of felony vehicular manslaughter in California carries a maximum sentence of six years in a state prison.

In addition to legal consequences, the victim’s family will likely pursue a civil case which names you as a defendant.

Read more >

The Unlawful Taking of Pictures and Video Recording

The Unlawful Taking of Pictures and Video Recording

Thanks to built-in cameras on smartphones, most of us have a camera at our disposal 24/7. We’re able to record everything. We use the phone camera for selfies, points of interest, and to record the actions of others. We’ve grown so accustomed to taking photos and videos of everything that we rarely stop and think about the fact that there are certain times, places, and situations when taking pictures and video recordings is actually against the law.

Learning that there are cases where a person has broken the law with videos or photos they’ve snapped can make you have second thoughts about using your camera. The good news is that the odds are pretty good that you’re not going to record anything that will break the law. Both federal and California laws are written in a manner that allows you to legally take a photo of anything that’s plainly visible. You’ll be pleased to learn that this includes federal buildings and even police officers who are working.

You’re also legally allowed to take photos and videos of things that can be seen from public property. For example, as long as you can do so from the road, you’re allowed to photograph an interesting-looking barn. 

If you’re on private property, the property owners get to make rules about what you can and can’t take photos/videos of. For example, if snapping a few shots of the barn requires you to walk across a private hayfield and jumping a fence, the property owners could insist that you destroy the images and also file trespassing charges against you. The same is true if you walk up to someone’s house and start snapping pictures or videos through their windows. You’re not legally allowed to take photos or videos of a person (or their belongings) if the property owner had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

If you’re caught taking photos or videos in an area where the property owner had a reasonable expectation of privacy, they can file invasion of privacy charges as well as trespassing charges against you. If you’re convicted of invasion of privacy, the judge could sentence you to up to six months in a county jail and order you to pay a fine of $1,000. If this isn’t the first time you’ve been convicted of invasion of privacy, the sentence could double.

The best way to avoid getting into trouble while you shooting pictures or videos is to make sure you’re feet are always firmly planted on public property.

Read more >

Failure to Appear on Felony Offense in California

Failure to Appear on Felony Offense in California

A failure to appear in court is a serious problem for the legal system, which is why there are serious consequences attached to a failure to appear on a felony offense conviction.

The reason the court takes such a tough stance when it comes to failure to appear charges is because they know that if people realize that they simply don’t have to show up to court, they don’t have to worry about paying fines or possibly going to jail. If this were to happen society would dissolve into a world of chaos and lawlessness, something California lawmakers want to avoid.

The hope is that the consequences of a felony failure to appear conviction are harsh enough that it inspires everyone, including those facing life-altering charges, to show up for their court date.

The first thing you need to understand about failure to appear charges is that the severity of the charge depends on the charges you originally faced. You can’t be charged with felony failure to appear if the court date you missed dealt with misdemeanor charges. Felony FTA only applies to felony charges.

If you are convicted of felony failure to appear in California, you could be sentenced to up to three years in a state prison. This will be in addition to any prison time you are sentenced for the original charges. 

If you’re convicted of felony failure to appear in California, you don’t have to worry about that particular conviction impacting your ability to own a gun, though other felony convictions could make it illegal for you to be a gun owner. A felony failure to appear conviction in California will not negatively impact immigration consequences.

It is possible to have a felony failure to appear conviction expunged from your criminal record provided you have first successfully completed the original sentence. 

In the long run, your life will be simpler if you simply make sure you attend every single one of your appointed court dates. If there’s any question about whether you have to attend a court date, check with your lawyer and bail bond agent and they will set you straight.

Read more >

Selling Stolen Vehicles in California

Selling Stolen Vehicles in California

If you’ve somehow acquired a stolen vehicle and are wondering if you can sell it in California, the easy answer is no. Knowingly selling a stolen vehicle in California could result in legal charges being filed against you.

It is possible to be driving around in a stolen car and not know that the car was stolen. If you honestly don’t know that the car was stolen, it’s possible that you could sell it, however, if a case develops around that car and the police find out you were involved, it’s going to be up to you to prove that you didn’t know the car’s history when you sold it. 

The best way to make sure you’re not charged with selling a stolen vehicle is carefully researching the vehicle before you purchase it. You should save all of your research steps. 

First, create screenshots of the vehicle’s advertisement and save them in a secure location. This proves that when you went to look at the car, you honestly had no reason to suspect that it was stolen. 

It’s not enough to simply ask the owner about the vehicle’s history. If they’re selling a stolen car, they will lie. Look a the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You’ll often find it near the windshield washer fluid container, on the driver’s door frame, or under the spare tire. Make sure it doesn’t look like the sticker was tampered with. Next, make sure the VIN that’s on the car matches the one that is posted on both the registration and vehicle title.

The final step is running the VIN through the National Insurance Crime Bureau website and making sure it doesn’t ping.

If you’ve done all of that, and the vehicle checked out, you can be reasonably sure that the vehicle wasn’t stolen. If you later learn that the seller had tinkered with the VIN making the vehicle look legit, don’t try to eliminate yourself from the equation by selling the vehicle. It’s in your best interest to take the car and your story to the police and let them decide how to handle the situation.

It’s up to you to take the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Read more >