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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
  • Broke the terms of your probation
  • Etc.
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:
  • Spouses
  • Registered domestic partners
  • Live-in significant others (also considered a cohabitant)
  • Someone who shares a child with the accused
  • Fiancées
  • Someone who has been in a steady romantic relationship with the accused.

Many people find that they have to complete a specific number of hours of community service as a part of their sentence. Some people love this because community service can...