A California man was recently arrested on the negligent discharge of a weapon charge. In this particular case, the man was allegedly firing BBs at passing traffic. It’s unclear how many windows he shot out or how much property damage might have occurred. It is estimated that approximately 100 different vehicles were struck by BBs.
Many people aren’t aware of what a charge of negligent discharge of a weapon in California means.
To learn the exact ins and outs of this particular charge, you have to look at California’s Penal Code (PC) 246.3 PC. When you read through it, you’ll discover that California lawmakers determined that a firearm was being used in a negligent way whenever the person handling the gun did so in a manner that could easily result in another person getting hurt, or in a grossly negligent manner.
One of the interesting things about this particular charge is that for the charges to stick, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you willfully fired the gun and that you understood that doing so could result in someone getting hurt or possibly even killed. You can’t be charged with negligent discharge of a weapon if firing the gun was an accident or if you couldn’t reasonably expect someone was going to get hurt.
Negligent discharge of a weapon is one of California’s wobbler laws. Whether you’re charged with a felony or misdemeanor depends on the circumstances surrounding the event, how many people were involved, criminal history.
If you’re convicted of misdemeanor negligent discharge of a weapon in California, you could be sentenced to a full year in jail and fined up to $1,000. You’ll likely be asked to make restitution and possibly be required to take some gun safety classes.
If you’re convicted of felony negligent discharge of a weapon in California, the sentencing could include:
Summer is finally here which means long days and lots of freedom for your kids.
While you want your kids to have a great time and make lots of good memories this summer, you also want them to stay safe. The good news is that it’s possible to do both.
Preventing Heat Stroke
One of the summertime dangers parents don’t always think about is heatstroke. While heatstroke in kids is rare, it does happen and it can be deadly.
Most cases of heatstroke in kids occur in cars. The inside of a car can heat up quickly during the summer months and if a child is strapped into a car seat, they can quickly develop a case of fatal heatstroke. This usually happens when a guardian has completely forgotten the child in the car.
The best way to make sure you never accidentally leave your child in the car while you run into the store is by creating a reminder. One grandmother puts her shoes near the car seat. Other parents stick a note on their steering wheel. Some put their purses or cell phones next to their infant. What you do isn’t important as long as it makes it impossible for you to accidentally leave your child in the car alone this summer.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that since you’re only going to be away from the car for a moment or two, that it’s okay to leave your child alone. It’s not. A single delay can be deadly. Even if your child is sleeping, take them with you.
If you don’t want to bring your child into the doctor/bank/grocery store. Have a responsible adult stay in the car with them. Make sure you leave the car running and the air conditioner parked. If possible, park in the shade. Make it clear that the person watching your child is not to leave the vehicle unless they take the child with them.
While Playing Outside
While it’s unusual for kids to suffer from heatstroke while playing outside, young bodies appear to have an easier time adapting to elevated temperatures than adult bodies, it can happen. The best way to prevent your child from suffering from heatstroke when they are outside playing is making sure they take frequent drinks of cool water and encouraging them to play in the shade during the warmest parts of the day.
Signs that your child is in danger of developing heat stroke are:
Skin is clammy and cool to the touch
Your child’s body temperature has surpassed 104˚ Fahrenheit.
It seems like you’ve been waiting your whole life to finish school. Many people consider the summer between high school and the time when they start college (or trade school, or simply start working full time) to be one of the most exciting and fun times of their life. While it’s okay to have fun and celebrate your accomplishments, it’s also important that you remember to play it safe during this time.
One of the biggest mistakes teens make after they graduate from high school is getting drunk, which is bad enough, and then compounding that mistake by getting behind the wheel. Don’t be the person in your group who spends the months following high school graduation dealing with the consequences of a drunk driving charge.
The first thing to remember as you celebrate your freedom from high school is that even though you’re legally an adult, you still aren’t old enough to legally drink. You should avoid alcohol as you celebrate your life. Getting caught with booze at this point in your life will result in you being charged with a “minor in possession.”
If convicted of minor in possession charges, your sentencing could include:
Catfishing isn’t the art of catching the bottom-dwelling fish that taste greatly fried. Catfishing actually refers to the act of using a false social network profile that allows you to pretend to be someone you’re not. This differs from a ghostwriter creating an account for their writing profile because the catfisher’s account exists purely for malicious purposes.
Each catfisher has their own reasons for creating the fake profile, some use the account to extort financial information, some use it for bullying purposes, some like to get compromising photos of their victims. The end result is that the catfisher almost leaves victims in their wake.
Is Catfishing Someone Illegal?
While it seems like catfishing should be considered fraud and illegal, at this point, there are no actual laws pertaining to the actual act of catfishing. But, in many cases, the catfisher uses their fake social media identity for some sort of illegal activity. In many cases, the catfisher knows that they’re engaged in illegal activity but assumes that since they’re using a fake profile, they won’t get caught. Catfishers also hope that their victims will be so embarrassed that they were taken in by the fake profile that they won’t even report the crimes. Another challenge victims who do report the crime face is that the catfisher may live in a different state, making it difficult to pursue legal action.
How To Help Identify A Catfisher
Examples of laws catfishers commonly break include:
Computer hacking crimes
Fraud (uses false pretenses to gain money/goods/services)
If you hate telemarketers, you’re not alone. Legal Beagle reported that in 2017, Bank my Cell conducted a survey that revealed that out of 1,200 people, 75% of them actively avoided calls that they knew were from telemarketers. 85% of the people who responded to the survey reported that even the thought of dealing with telemarketers triggered anxiety-related issues.
The reason most of us loathe dealing with telemarketers is that the calls are time-consuming and the person on the other end of the line keeps pushing even though we’ve told them no several times. Most of us also hate feeling guilty when we have no option but to hang up on the irritating telemarketer.
It turns out, there’s another reason to avoid telemarketers. That reason is telemarketing fraud.
What Is Telemarketing Fraud
Cornell Law School defines telemarketing fraud as:
“Phone and telemarketing fraud refers to any type of scheme in which a criminal communicates with the potential victim via the telephone. Because many reputable companies use telemarketing to conduct business, criminals can often effectively use the method as a way to obtain a victim’s credit card information or identity and then use this information to make unauthorized purchases elsewhere. Victims have difficulty distinguishing between reputable telemarketers and scam artists. Frequent victims of telemarketing scams include the poor, the elderly, and immigrants without strong English skills.”
Examples of common telemarketing fraud include:
Selling a fake product via the telephone
Telling you that for a seemingly nominal amount of money, you’re eligible for a free
product/service/trip that the telemarketer has no intention of giving you
One of the more confusing criminal charges California has is the accessory after the fact. Many people don’t know that it’s possible to get into trouble for a crime that they weren’t involved with until well after the crime happened.
California law stipulates that anyone who basically takes steps to hinder a criminal investigation could be charged with accessory after the fact. This means that if you help or conceal a loved one who has committed a crime, you will likely find yourself in hot legal water.
An accessory after the fact charge isn’t something you should joke about. It’s a felony that comes with a potential sentencing that includes a three-year stay in one of California’s state prisons.
Accessory after the fact charges are touched on in California’s Penal Code 32 (PC). It states that:
“Every person who, after a felony has been committed, harbors, conceals or aids a principal in such felony, with the intent that said principal may avoid or escape from arrest, trial, conviction or punishment, having knowledge that said the principal has committed such felony or has been charged with such felony or convicted thereof, is an accessory to such felony.”
Accessory After the Fact Crimes
What the laws doesn’t get into is how serious a charge is or how to prepare to defend yourself against the charge.
Examples of things that could result in your being charged with an accessory of the fact include:
Giving a person of interest a ride so they can evade law enforcement
Providing a person of interest with a place to stay and failing to let the authorities know
Giving someone money so they can run from criminal charges
California has three different types of warrants. Each one serves a different purpose. Search warrants and arrest warrants are the ones that most people are familiar with, mostly because they play huge roles in various procedural shows. The third type of warrant is called a bench warrant.
The majority of the warrants currently active in California are bench warrants.
While a bench warrant means you can be arrested if the police find you, they aren’t the same as an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant typically means you’re suspected of committing a crime or wanted for questioning in regard to a crime.
Bench warrants are typically issued because you failed to do something you were supposed to take care of. Common reasons bench warrants are sworn out include:
You failed to report to a court date (a bench warrant can be issued even if you were supposed to be on the jury or serve as a witness)
Failed to pay a court fine/traffic ticket
Fell behind on court-ordered child support
Failed to follow an order that demanded you vacate a property
While everyone knows that stalking is a crime, few realize that it can be a felony or a misdemeanor (and in some cases, the accused might be charged with both a felony and a misdemeanor.)
Every single state has stalking laws. While the nuances of stalking laws vary from one state to another, for the most part, each state has the same description of what can be considered stalking. As a rule, any behavior that can be considered prolonged harassment, an obvious attempt to frighten someone, the unwanted monitoring of a person, using proximity to threaten a person, or actions that lead to emotional distress is covered by stalking laws.
Anyone who engages in the following types of behavior will likely be charged and convicted of stalking in California:
Going out of your way to follow a person
Frequently showing up at locations where you know a specific person will be
Using GPS to monitor a person’s movements
Constantly filming/photographing someone without their permission
Obsessively monitoring someone’s social media accounts, phone calls/texts, reading their emails, and studying their computer activities
Going out of your way to gather as much information as you can about a specific person
Leveling threats against a person or their loved ones (including pets) if they don’t spend time with you
Instigating property damage
Sending gifts and other forms of communication after you’ve been told to stop doing so
Domestic violence is a complex crime so it shouldn’t come as surprise to learn that the laws dealing with domestic violence are equally complicated.
The first step in unraveling this complex system is knowing exactly what domestic violence is.
California defines domestic violence as actions that either harm or threaten to harm an intimate partner.
It’s important to understand that there are sub-categories of domestic violence which include:
Domestic battery (actual physical abuse)
Domestic assault (the use of words or actions to threaten physical abuse)
It’s not unusual for domestic violence cases to involve both domestic battery and domestic assault.
Who Can File Domestic Violence Charges
California law is written in such a way that only a limited number of people can file domestic violence charges. At this point, domestic violence charges can only be filed by:
Registered domestic partners
Live-in significant others (also considered a cohabitant)
Someone who shares a child with the accused
Someone who has been in a steady romantic relationship with the accused.
Chat room crimes are a term that typically refers to specific cases that ultimately deal with the solicitation of a minor. The term first became popular after it was used by the television show, To Catch a Predator.
Chat room crimes typically involve an older person, usually, a male, who uses things like chat rooms and instant messaging to connect with and ultimately lure a minor. In many cases, the minor thinks that they are chatting with someone who is of a similar age to themselves.
Chat room crimes are typically covered by solicitation of a minor laws, which are outlined in California Penal Code (PC) 288.2. The code states that:
“Every person who knows, should have known, or believes that another person is a minor, and who knowingly distributes, sends, causes to be sent, exhibits, or offers to distribute or exhibit by any means, including by physical delivery, telephone, electronic communication, or in person, any harmful matter that depicts a minor or minors engaging in sexual conduct, to the other person with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of that person or the minor, and with the intent or for the purposes of engaging in sexual intercourse, sodomy, or oral copulation with the other person, or with the intent that either person touches an intimate body part of the other, is guilty.”
Chat room crimes can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies. It isn’t entirely clear how the prosecutor decides whether they want to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges. What we do know is that they look at both the type and amount of evidence the police collected and your personal/criminal history before making a decision.
Examples of prosecutable chat room crimes include:
Sending messages to a minor that are full of unmistakable sexual content
Sending messages to a minor with the intent of meeting with them to engage in either consensual or non-consensual sex
Sending videos/pictures with overtly sexual themes to minors
If you call California home, there are a few laws you should familiarize yourself with to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law.
DUI Threshold Laws
Everyone knows that getting arrested for DUI is a serious, life-altering problem. The problem is that few people know what when they have crossed over the threshold from legally able to drive and become too drunk to drive.
It doesn’t matter if you are the kind of person who gets buzzed after a few sips or someone who really can hold their liquor. If you’re pulled over and your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher, you will be charged with a DUI.
Data Privacy Laws in California
One of the great things about calling California home is knowing that you have a legal right to know exactly what type of data businesses collect about you and what they’re using it for. The California Consumer Privacy Act went into effect on January 1, 2020.
The California Consumer Privacy Act is written in such a way that you:
Can delete personal data a business has collected
Block the sale of personal data
Have the ability to learn exactly what data is collected/sold/shared/etc.
Getting arrested and charged for DUI once in California is terrifying and life-altering. The second time you’re arrested for the same thing is even worse.
Like many states, California lawmakers have...
Rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft are a great way for some people to supplement their income. The programs are designed so that you get to choose your hours. In some cities, people have found that they were able to live a respectful living as a rideshare driver.
The problem some people encounter is that they aren’t properly prepared for the reality of becoming part of a rideshare program. There are some legal issues you should review before you pick up your first customer.
As rideshare programs gained popularity, California lawmakers realized that they needed to step in and start regulating the practice. This led to the creation of several state laws. It’s important to understand that these state laws pertain to anyone who is part of a rideshare program, it doesn’t matter if you’re a full-time driver or if you’re picking up your first passenger.
California state laws rideshare drivers must familiarize themselves with include:
A sticker that identifies you as a rideshare driver has to be prominently displayed on your vehicle.
One sticker on the windshield, one on the rear window.
You must consent to an annual background check
The vehicle you use for rideshares must be inspected every 12 months or every 50,000 miles
You must pick up and transport customers who have service dogs
Vehicles used for rideshares must adhere to California’s current climate emission levels