Is Social Media a Danger to You?

Is Social Media a Danger to You?

Social media is extremally important to many of us. We use it to develop careers, stay in touch with friends and family, learn new hobbies, and make life altering connections. As much as we love social media, there are times when we find ourselves wondering if the channels we’re using could be potentially dangerous to us.

The truth is that there are some times and some circumstances when social media is a danger to you. The good news is that once you’re able to identify the signs that social media is potentially becoming dangerous allows you to tweak how you use your social media accounts so that you can restore them to the safe escape you previously enjoyed.

Over Sharing Information About Your Location

Honestly, the biggest way that social media becomes a danger to you is when you share information about your location. While letting friends and family members know exactly when you’re dining at a your favorite café and instantly sharing holiday pics might seem like a great idea at the time, they also provide criminals with a great deal of insight into your life. Doing share any information that lets people know when you’re not home, where your exact location is at a given time, or provides valuable insight into your daily routine. You simply don’t know when a criminal will be paying attention to your posts or how they could decide to benefit from the information.

Not Thinking How a Post Could Hurt Your Career

Before you post a cutting comment about your manager or an inappropriate photo of you at work, remember that you simply can’t trust your privacy settings. Assume that there are was your boss or co-workers could gain access to your social media account. Before you post a picture, comment, or share an article, take some time to think about if the social media post could negatively impact your career or even get you fired. If it could, resist the impulse to share the post.

Losing Track of Time

The biggest danger connected to social media is that if you’re not careful it can quickly take over your entire life. More than one person has logged onto their social media account with the idea that they will only spend a few minutes responding to a few comments only to lose track of time. This can result in negatively impacting your relationships, professional life, and even lead to a deterioration in your health.

Set a time each time you log onto your social media accounts and log out each time that timer goes off. This will do wonders to limit the impact the negative impact social media has on your life.

Bullying

There is something about social media that makes some people think that it is okay to engage is cyber bullying. This behavior has resulted in all sorts of psychological problems for the person who is being bullied. If someone’s online behavior is having a negative impact on your life, it’s time to block them from your social media accounts. If you’re unable to block them, deleate your accounts and dedicate the time you had spent on social media to self-care. You’ll be amazed by how much this improves our overall attitude towards life.

What steps have you taken to make sure social media doesn’t become a danger to you?

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The Difference Between a State and Federal Warrant

The Difference Between a State and Federal Warrant

Most of us know that the police can’t simply walk into our homes and start searching it unless you’ve given them permission to do so, or if they’ve gone through the correct legal channels and acquired a warrant.

The same is true when it comes to arrests. While there are some exceptions, such as drunk driving, you usually can’t be arrested unless the police have an actual arrest warrant.

What you might not know is that there are both state/local arrest warrants and federal arrest warrants.

The biggest difference between a federal and state/local warrant is the law enforcement agency that is involved in your case. 

If a federal warrant has been issued for your arrest, it means that you’re a suspect in a federal crime. To obtain a federal warrant, the agency working on the case must present a federal judge with sufficient evidence that you potentially committed the crime and that the crime is indeed a federal matter.

In some situations, trying to determine if a case is federal or state can be complicated. When this happens, a joint task force that consists of both federal agents and state officers is formed. The joint task force not only allows the different agencies to pool talent and resources but also makes it easier to obtain warrants.

How you should behave if there is a warrant for your arrest depends on how you learn about this information.

If you have heard (or suspect) that an arrest warrant has been issued, but the police haven’t actually knocked on your door, don’t even think about trying to run. Bolting will only make the situation worse.

The first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Tell them what you know and ask for their advice. They will likely encourage you to turn yourself in. By contacting a lawyer before you’re formally arrested, you can keep them by your side throughout the entire process and make sure that none of your civil rights are violated.

Since the police aren’t currently hauling you to the police station, take a little time to get your personal affairs in order. This is a good time to contact a bail bonds agency and alert them that you’ll likely need a bail bond. If you have children or pets, take steps to make sure they’re properly cared for if you have to remain in jail for a few days. Lock up your home, and make your way to the police station.

If the police show up at your home with an arrest warrant, read the warrant and make sure all the information is accurate. If the information is accurate, calmly and quietly go with the officers. Don’t even think about trying to resist the arrest. Don’t answer any questions, take a plea deal, or discuss the case with anyone until your lawyer has arrived.

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Pickpocketing in California

Pickpocketing in California

When you think about it, you don’t often hear about pickpocketers these days. It’s not because pickpocketing is no longer a problem, but because crimes involving pickpocketers are either given different names and because they seldom generate any media attention.

According to the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, pickpocketing is still a common occurrence. They reported that on Muni in San Francisco, the number of reported pickpocketing incidents increased by 8 percent in 2018. 

Most pickpocketing incidents in California fall into the category of petty theft, which means that the thief’s adventures involved an amount that was less than $400. It’s actually in a pickpocket’s best interest to specifically target people who have less than $400 on them because if the thief is caught and eventually convicted the maximum sentence they ace is six months in a local jail and a fine that won’t exceed $1,000.

Depending on the pickpocket’s criminal history and the exact details surrounding the pickpocketing event, the judge could decide that a sentence of misdemeanor probation is sufficient.

On the other hand, if the pickpocket manages to lift more than $400 from a pocket and is eventually convicted of grand theft, the potential sentence is a maximum of three years in a state prison.

It is worth noting that if a pickpocket accidentally removes a gun rather than a wallet from its target’s pocket, it could be in more serious trouble than they anticipated. The involvement of the gun changes things. It doesn’t matter if the pickpocket knew about the gun or not, the fact that they attempted to steal it automatically means they will face a charge of grand theft in California.

Other factors that can quickly change things for a pickpocket is if they are armed when they picked a pocket if they got into a physical argument during the incident and if they made any verbal threats.

If a gun or knife was on the pickpocket’s person during the incident, the pickpocket will likely be charged with armed robbery. If blows/kicks/bites/etc were exchanged during the incident, assault charges will likely be filed against the pickpocket. If verbal threats were used during the incident, the pickpocket could face intimidation charges.

The best way to avoid pickpocketing charges and accusations is to keep to yourself whenever you find yourself in a crowded situation.

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Making Social Media Threats in California

Making Social Media Threats in California

Social media has had a strange impact on many people. There is a sense of anonymity and protection associated with the internet that makes us feel comfortable saying things via social media that we would never dream of saying in a real-world situation. The good news is that most of us understand that there are certain things we simply shouldn’t say or do, not even online, and we’re able to get through the day without overstepping any boundaries.

The bad news is that there are some people, even some exceptionally mild-mannered individuals who seem to develop an entirely new personality while they’re online. They don’t just become pushy and/or overbearing as they engage in online battles, but they will actually post some extremely vile threats on their social media accounts or use social media to bully other people.

In some cases, the situation has gotten out of control.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not okay to use any social media sites to post threats or to become dangerously aggressive. The issue of social media violence has gotten so bad that lawmakers and police officers aren’t just taking notice, they’re taking action.

In California, making social media threats can quickly escalate into cyberbullying. When it does, you could find yourself facing serious charges.

The issue of cyberbullying is dealt with in the California Penal Code 653.2 PC. When you read through the code, you’ll quickly come to realize that you don’t have to actually intend to go through with the threat. The only thing the court system is concerned with is if your victim thinks you intend to mean them harm. If the threat is designed to trigger fear, you could face criminal charges.

At this point, cyberbullying is a misdemeanor, though it’s possible a day could come when it turns into a wobbler offense. It’s also possible that law enforcement will find additional charges they can add to the cyberbullying accusation. If you’re convicted of using social media sites for cyberbullying the maximum sentence is up to a year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine. It’s likely you’ll also be asked to attend anger management classes and maybe have to do some community service.

The next time you’re poised on the brink of making threatening a social media associate, remember how much trouble you could get into, and curb the impulse.

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Think Before Posting those Vacation Photos

Think Before Posting those Vacation Photos

One of the best things about social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter is the ability to quickly post all of your photos so that your friends and family can admire them.

Those same pictures can also make you an easy and attractive target to anyone who is looking for a home to break into.

The problem with posting vacation pictures on your social media account is that if you’re posting those pictures while you’re still on vacation, you are literally telling any would-be burglar that your house is standing empty. This is especially true if you happen to answer a question about how long you’re going to be gone.

Don’t assume that posting vacation pictures is the only way you can get into trouble. The same is true if you make a comment about waiting for a flight, discuss an out-of-town business trip, or even a routine lunch date. Most importantly, don’t take advantage of the option some social media sites provide allow you to share your precise location with all of your friends and family.

Most people feel comfortable sharing vacation photos on social media accounts because they reason that they are all friends and that their friends would never steal from them. But take a moment to go through your current friend’s list. How many of those people do you really know and how many are people who you’ve simply met a few times at different events or through other friends? 

The first thing you should do is change your account settings so that the only people who can see your posts are your friends and family. If you also use social media for a business, then create a separate account for your business and make sure you don’t include any of your travel plans on it.

The next thing you need to do is refrain from sharing information about vacation plans, weekend getaways, and more on social media. When it comes to posting the pictures, wait until you get home. When you do decide it’s time to post those holiday snaps, make it very clear that you’re already home and that life has returned to normal.

Don’t assume that just because you’re not actively posting your vacation photos while you’re away from home that you don’t have to worry. Make it very clear to anyone you’re traveling with that you don’t want to be tagged in any of their vacation photos.

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Consequences of High-Speed Chases in California

Consequences of High-Speed Chases in California

High-speed car chases happen all over the country, yet whenever people hear about a high-speed chase, they automatically assume it took place in California. That’s because California, and more specifically, Los Angeles, is considered the Car Chase Capital of the World.

There are a few reasons that California and high-speed chases go together. The first is that there are a lot of people in California and an extensive highway system. That combination means more opportunity. In 2002, there were over 700 car chases just in Los Angeles. 

The second is that there is more media coverage, specifically helicopter film coverage, in the L.A. area, which means that rather than being a single paragraph buried in the bottom of an online newspaper column, the California chase makes it onto television and attracts a lot of attention.

The problem with high-speed car chases is that while they look fun on television, they are actually extremely dangerous, and often it’s the bystanders who get hurt and even killed as a result of the car chase.

It doesn’t matter how good a driver you think you are, you will never be able to outrun the police, who will use radios to stay on top of your exact location. Engaging in a high-speed car chase will simply get you in even more legal trouble than you faced prior to trying to flee the police. Even worse, there will be elements of the chase you simply can’t control.

A recent California car chase illustrated just how badly things can go when you attempt to flee the police. In June, a driver in a flatbed truck attempted to evade the police. At one point he was driving on the wrong side of the road. He lost control of his vehicle when the police deployed a spike strip and crashed his vehicle. The wreck was so severe the 10 Freeway was shut down while debris was removed.

California lawmakers call fleeing the police reckless evasion, a wobbler offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Reckless evasion is addressed in the California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor reckless evasion, you could be sentenced to:

• Up to one year in jail Fined $1,000

 
If you’re convicted of felony reckless evasion, the sentence can include:

• Up to 3 years in prison
• A fine that’s as large as $10,000
• The judge could order that the vehicle you used to flee from the police be impounded for thirty days, which will make you responsible for impound fees as well as towing.

 
In order to convict you of reckless evasion, the prosecution has to prove that:

• You intentionally evaded the police
• That it was clear both the vehicle the officer was in and the officer was a member of the police force 

 
It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about getting a ticket or if you’re about to be arrested for a serious crime, trying to evade the police and leading them on a high-speed chase will only make the situation much worse. Not only will the evasion lead to additional charges, but if your actions lead to property damage or if someone gets hurt, you could also find yourself as the defendant in a costly civil lawsuit.

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