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Pepper Spray: California’s Laws And Ownership Regulations

Pepper Spray: California's Laws And Ownership Regulations

Pepper Spray: California's Laws And Ownership Regulations

If you consider pepper spray the perfect self-defense tool, you’re not alone. The world is full of people who feel safer when they have a small container of pepper spray in their pockets. The spray is affordable, easy to find and legal. Or is it?

Who Can And Can’t Use Pepper Spray In California?

Most people don’t realize that California prohibits several people from using pepper spray. The people who aren’t allowed to purchase or use pepper spray includes:

  • Anyone who has been convicted of either a felony or any type of assault case
  • Anyone who has a known drug abuse problem
  • Minors

Sixteen-year-olds are the one exception to the “minors who can’t use pepper spray” rule. A sixteen year old is allowed to both purchase and carry pepper spray but only when they’re in the presence of a legal guardian.

California’s Rules Regarding The Use Of Pepper Spray

California lawmakers didn’t want a bunch of people walking around who were randomly spraying people with pepper spray. To keep things under control they took their time and carefully drew up a law that restricted how and when you can use pepper spray.

You’re not allowed to spray pepper spray directly into every person who made a pass at you. The only time you’re allowed to legally use the pepper spray is when you feel a need to defend yourself. You’re not even allowed to pull it out and hold it up in a silent warning to an attacker that they need to back off. If you get it out, you must prove that you needed to save yourself.

It is illegal to use your pepper spray canister as a projectile. The pepper spray canister can not contain more than 2.5 ounces of the spray.

Consequences Of Breaking California’s Pepper Spray Law

If you’re unlucky enough to get caught breaking California’s pepper spray law, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. If found guilty, possible sentences include:

  • A $1,000 fine
  • Incarceration for 16 months, 2 years or 3 years

California won’t allow you to claim that the canister was empty or jammed as an excuse for breaking the pepper spray laws.

If you’re legally allowed to carry pepper spray in California, go ahead and do so, just be very careful that you keep the canister tucked into your purse or pocket. Only bring it out if you are genuinely convinced you need to defend yourself.

 

Ponzi Schemes And California Law

Ponzi Schemes And California Law

Ponzi Schemes And California Law

Ponzi schemes aren’t legal in California. The state considers these financial cons a type of financial fraud. California’s judicial system is currently set up in such a way that it helps protect whistleblowers and consumers from getting caught up in the legal drama that always surrounds Ponzi schemes.

Difference Between Ponzi Schemes And Pyramid Schemes

Many people mistakenly assume that Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are the same things. While there are quite a few similarities, there are also a few key differences.

Ponzi schemes are usually handled by a single person. That individual convinces investors to take part in something, usually a promised investment, that never comes to fruition. Investors are convinced that they can’t possibly lose money and will make a huge return on their investment. It usually takes a great deal of time for the investors to realize that the person who is “managing their portfolio” is actually running a con and is keeping their money.

The Bernard Madoff debacle is a perfect example of a Ponzi scheme. Madoff created the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC and was able to convince several people he was the real deal. His pitch was so good, he amassed close to 5,000 investors. It’s believed that his take was close to $65 billion.

A pyramid scheme is more elaborate and involves more people, some of which don’t realize that they’re committing a crime. With a pyramid scheme, a single person not only recruits investors but also recruits people who gather even more investors. The original person is the very top of the pyramid in this particular scheme. Most pyramid schemes involve a type of product that does actually exist.

Business in Motion is an example of an illegal pyramid scheme. The program revolved around the sale of economical vacation plans. Each person who bought into the program invested $3,200. If the person was able to sell additional vacation packages to friends and family, they’d earn a $5,000 commission.

Approximately 2,000 people bought into the pyramid scheme. In 2008, they launched a class-action lawsuit against the program’s creator. A judge agreed that the program was a pyramid scheme and awarded the investors a $6.5 million ruling.

The Legal Ramifications Of Running A Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi schemes are prohibited in California. The laws that address Ponzi schemes are found in the California Penal Code Section 319. The creators of Ponzi schemes in California can be charged with:

  • Laundering Money
  • Business Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Tax Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Theft

Charles Ponzi is considered the father of the Ponzi scheme. Ponzi was eventually convicted of mail fraud and spent 14 years in prison.

 

California’s Three Strikes And Your Out Policy

California's Three Strikes And Your Out Policy

California's Three Strikes And Your Out Policy

California was once famous for its three strikes and your out brand of criminal justice.

How The Three Strikes Law Worked

The Three Strikes Law went into effect in 1994. The law was originally proposed in direct response to the horrific murders of Polly Klass and Kimber Reynolds.

The way the Three Strikes Law works is if someone already had a felony conviction on their record when they were found guilty of a second felony, the amount of time they served in prison for the second felony was instantly doubled. If the same felon found themselves in trouble for a felony a third time, they were automatically sentenced to 25 years to a life in prison term. It didn’t matter if they were convicted to two or three different types of felonies, the extended sentence stuck.

The purpose the Three Strikes Law served was to get dangerous felons off the streets for a long stretch of time. This law was written in such a way that:

  • Multiple sentences can’t be run concurrently. They have to be handled as consecutive sentences.
  • Suspensions and probation isn’t allowed.
  • While a felon is allowed to earn credits that shorten the amount of time they spend in prison, they can only use the credits to reduce the sentence by 1/5.

Changes To The Three Strikes Law

Nothing stays the same. As the years have passed, tweaks have been made to California’s Three Strikes Law. One such change took place on November 6, 2012, when the voting public approved Proposition 36.

One of the biggest changes brought about by Proposition 36 was that the third strike could only be enacted if the felony was considered serious or violent. Proposition 36 was written in such a way that felons were serving their third strike sentence but hadn’t been convicted of a serious or violent felony was allowed to appeal to the court for a reduced sentence.

Within a few months of voters passing Proposition 36, approximately 1,000 prisoners were released from California’s state prisons. Experts estimate that Proposition 36 has helped the state save over $1 billion during the course of 10 years.

Serious and violent felony offenses in California include:

  • Violent sexual assault including rape
  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Assault with the intent to commit robbery
  • Attempted murder

The Downside Of The Three Strikes Law

Some people aren’t happy about the Three Strikes Law. They’re quick to point out that extending sentences makes it difficult for the children of felons. Another issue is that by the time a second strike felon is released, the community they lived in before their arrest is so different it’s difficult for the felon to fit in, which increases the likelihood of them returning to a life of crime.

Does The Three Strikes Law Work?

While there have always been people who claim that the Three Strikes Law is too harsh and that it doesn’t work, the numbers seem to indicate otherwise.

According to the state, since implementing the Three Strikes Law:

  • There was a 10.9% decrease in rape convictions
  • There was a 4% decrease in homicide convictions
  • There was a 1% decrease in assault convictions
  • There was a 1% decrease in robbery convictions

If you’re concerned about the kind of impact the Three Strikes Law would have on you, keep in mind that as long as you don’t commit any serious or violent felonies, you won’t have anything to worry about.

 

We Are Here For You

We Are Here For You

We Are Here For You

No one ever wakes up and plans on one of their friends or family members getting arrested. However, thousands of people are arrested every single day here in California alone. This means that chances are, you’ll wake up one day and need to deal with an arrest. You may not even be the one who is in trouble, it could be a friend or family member.

If you have found yourself needing to rescue someone from jail, do not panic. You can get affordable and professional bail help by contacting David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Exeter.

We have helped Californians deal with bail for over 30 years.

You can trust that we know exactly how to help you and your loved ones.

All of our bail agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are ready and waiting to assist you. All they need to get started is for you to provide the name of the person you want to bail out, his or her date of birth and the location/county where the arrest took place. With that information in hand, our agents will be able to locate your loved one in the county jail system and begin filling out the paperwork for the bail bond.

As our agents work with you, they will walk you through each step of the bail process and answer all of your bail-related questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Our agents know that most people don’t have any experience with bail, so they know that most people have a lot of questions. Consultation is FREE, so ask away. Here at David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Exeter, we strive to make the bail process as simple to understand as possible.

Services we provide our clients include:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • Phone approvals
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Se habla Español

At David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Exeter, we know how shocking and intimidating the arrest of a loved one can be. That is why we are here to help. We have been dealing with bail since 1987 and can help you get your loved one out of jail at a price that you can afford. Call us today! We promise, we won’t let you down.

To learn more about our affordable bail bonds, just call David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Exeter at 1-866-485-6356 or 661-326-0608 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

What Would You Do If A Loved One Was Arrested?

What Would You Do If A Loved One Was Arrested?

What Would You Do If A Loved One Was Arrested?

Everyone has a group of people in their life that they deeply care about and they claim they would do anything for these people. Does that include bailing them out of jail? This is something most people don’t think about. They don’t plan on any of their loved ones ever getting arrested, which can lead to them facing the decision to post bail or not. With bail costing several thousands of dollars on average, this is a tough decision to make.

Most people don’t have a lot of money just sitting around that they can spend on bail. Add on the fact that bail isn’t cheap, and you can see where people start to have problems. The thing is, you don’t have to face bail alone. You can talk to the professionals here at David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Dinuba about getting an affordable bail bond.

Here at David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Dinuba, we do everything that we can to make it so our clients can afford to rescue their loved ones from jail. To start with, our bail bonds only cost 10% of the bail that they are for. This means that you can save 90% just by coming to us for help. In addition, we also provide the following for our clients:

  • 24/7 Bail Bond Service
  • FREE Consultation
  • 20% Discount
  • Phone approvals
  • 0% Interest Payment Plans
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Collateral with Working Co-Signer
  • Se habla Español

We know how expensive and intimidating the prospect of bail can be, which is why we try to simplify it for our clients. Our bail agents will do all of the hard work for you and answer all of your questions. We will also provide you with a personalized payment plan that comes with 0% interest on it. This way you can take your time paying for your loved one’s bail while still getting them out of jail right away.

If you care about a person and they end up getting arrested, you should help them out. Posting bail can be expensive, but it allows your loved one to be free during their trial. It allows them to have a semi-normal life. That is worth the cost, and besides, with David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Dinuba helping you, it will be more affordable than you think. You can rest easy knowing that with us on your side, you’re in good hands.

Talk to one of our bail agents and get your FREE consultation by calling David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Dinuba at 1-866-485-6356 or 661-326-0608 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

Strange Laws From The Golden State

Strange Laws From The Golden State

Strange Laws From The Golden State

When people think about laws, they often think about sensible rules that make sense. However, it is important to remember that laws are made by people, and this means that some real nonsense can be made into actual laws that govern the people. This is true of every country, state and city. California is no exception.

The Golden State is home to its own bits of weirdness thanks to some odd laws. Many of these strange laws were created long ago, and as such, show their age. Others are a little more recent, and while it may be possible to see what the lawmaker was going for, the wording of the law isn’t quite right.

Why Are These Even Laws?

California became a state on September 9, 1850. Over the last 170 year period, a lot of laws have been enacted and removed across the state’s 160,000 square miles. Some of the laws have made sense, such as don’t steal from people and don’t kill each other. Others are a bit stranger. Some of the weird laws that are still technically active in California include:

  • A person can only wear cowboy boots in Blythe if they own two or more cows.
  • A person cannot wash someone else’s car without the owner’s permission in Los Angeles.
  • Cursing on a golf course in Long Beach is illegal.
  • Detonating a nuclear device in Chico will result in a $500 fine.
  • Flying a kite higher than 10 feet is illegal in the city of Walnut.
  • Garages in San Francisco are meant for storing personal vehicles and nothing else.
  • In California, it is illegal for women to drive cars while wearing housecoats.
  • In San Francisco, ugly people are not allowed to walk down the street.
  • It is illegal to drive in reverse in Glendale.
  • It is illegal to pour salt on Hermosa Beach streets.
  • Men and boys are not allowed to dress as women in Walnut unless it is for a play, or they receive a permit from the sheriff.
  • Peacocks always have the right of way in Arcadia.
  • San Diego homeowners can be fined $250 for having their Christmas lights up after February 2nd.
  • Vehicles without drivers cannot drive over 60 mph.
  • Visitors of Fresno city parks are prohibited from bothering lizards.
  • Women may not wear high heels in Carmel city limits.

What Are The Penalties?

With how easily some of these laws can be broken, some people may wonder what would happen to them if they did break any of these laws. Luckily, the enforceable laws are pretty unknown by most law enforcement agents. Even if they do know about these laws, no one in their right mind would fault someone for breaking these laws.

The only law on the above list that will result in penalties, and rightfully so, is detonating a nuclear device within Chico city limits. However, the consequences for doing so will probably be more than just a $500 fine. The person will have to pay at least $500.

These Laws Are Still In The Books

What seems to happen with a lot of these odd laws, is that they just get laughed at and forgotten. No one in this day and age is going to fine someone for wearing cowboy boots when they don’t own a cow or arrest a woman for wearing high heels. Most of these laws are so outlandish that a person has nothing to worry about. These laws serve only as jokes at this point.

 

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked In Public?

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked In Public?

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked In Public?

Back in 2016, Californian voters chose to approve the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. The law went into effect at the start of 2018, and so for the last two years, people have been able to enjoy marijuana recreationally. However, even though marijuana usage has been legal for 2 years, there is still a lot of confusion around the law.

Two years isn’t a lot of time in legal terms. Many of the laws that people are familiar with have been around for decades, which is why people are so familiar with them. Since the marijuana laws are so new, the general public hasn’t had enough time to get to know every single detail, leaving some people still confused.

Where Can Marijuana Be Smoked?

One of the biggest questions people still have is where can marijuana legally be smoked and consumed now. Even though the usage of marijuana has been legalized, there are still restrictions on where it can be used. When people aren’t aware of these restrictions, they can find themselves in trouble with the law.

The laws surrounding marijuana usage are practically identical to the laws surrounding alcohol and cigarettes. A person can get a good understanding of when and where marijuana can be consumed by looking at those regulations.

Since smoking cigarettes is banned in most businesses and public areas, smoking marijuana is also banned in those areas. Just like people have a right to not be exposed to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, they also have the right to not be exposed to marijuana.

The usage of marijuana is banned on all government property, especially schools. Employers are permitted to keep their workplaces marijuana free just like they can keep them alcohol-free. They also are legally allowed to test their employees for marijuana.

Marijuana also cannot be consumed while a person is in a car, especially if they are driving. A person cannot consume or have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, so they cannot do the same with marijuana.

The biggest thing to note about the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana is the recreational part. Primarily, a person is only allowed to consume marijuana in places where they would normally relax, such as their home or backyard.

Penalties For Using Marijuana – Where It Is Prohibited

The penalties for misusing marijuana in California can vary greatly depending on where the person consumed marijuana. If a person smokes or consumes marijuana at their job, where it is banned, they may not face legal consequences, but they could be fired.

If a person is caught with marijuana on school grounds, they could be charged with a misdemeanor that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $250 for a first offense.

Simply having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle can get a person charged with an infraction that comes with a fine of up to $100.

If a person is charged with DUI, then they could face:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Up to 9 months of DUI school.
  • A 4 month driver’s license suspension.

Be Considerate Of Others

It is important to remember that while the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized here in California, it is still illegal at the federal level. This means that even if a person follows all of the rules laid out in the state legislature, they could still be arrested at the federal level. Luckily, this is unlikely to happen unless a person is doing a lot of illegal things with marijuana or they bring it onto federal property. Some common examples of federal property include airports and federal government buildings.

The recreational use of Marijuana was legalized to allow people who wanted to consume it to do so in ways that don’t bother other people. Most people do not enjoy the smell of marijuana and would prefer to not have to smell it when they are out in public. Then there is the fact that no one wants their kids exposed to marijuana.

If a person is wondering if they can have marijuana in a certain area, such as a public park, they should think about whether cigarettes or alcohol are allowed there. Most parks ban smoking, so that includes marijuana.

 

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

When it comes to laws, there are plenty of terms that people hear regularly. Despite that, some of the terms are a bit unclear for people. Take for instance disorderly conduct. What exactly does that term mean? What counts as disorderly conduct?

Disorderly conduct is a broad term that covers a variety of different acts that could be considered disruptive to the general public. Knowing this can help a person avoid getting into any trouble with the law.

California’s Disorderly Conduct Laws

There are a couple of different laws here in California that can fall within the category of disorderly conduct. For starters, there is Penal Code 647. This is California’s primary disorderly conduct law and covers a variety of different activities.

Some other laws that can be considered disorderly conduct include:

  • Penal Code 404: Rioting
  • Penal Code 415: Disturbing the Peace
  • Penal Code 416: Failure to Disperse
  • Penal Code 602: Trespassing

Penal Code 647 lists all of the following acts as disorderly conduct:

  • Lewd Conduct In Public
    This occurs when people perform lewd or sexual acts in public.
  • Prostitution
    This is pretty self-explanatory, but for those unaware, this occurs whenever someone pays or gets paid for a sexual act with another person.
  • Aggressive Panhandling
    Panhandling is legal; however, being very aggressive with it is not. A person cannot accost or harass another person while asking for money.
  • Squatting
    This occurs when a person lives in another person’s home or building without permission from the owner to do so.
  • Public Intoxication
    This doesn’t mean a person can’t be drunk in public. This just means that a person cannot be so drunk that they become a threat to the safety of others and themselves.
  • Loitering
    This occurs when someone hangs around on someone’s property with the intent of committing a crime.
  • Peeping
    This occurs when a person is loitering on someone’s property with the intent of peeking into an inhabited building.
  • Invasion of Privacy
    This occurs when a person uses a device to peek into and/or record someone’s home, a private bathroom or changing room.
  • Revenge Porn
    This occurs when a person distributes pornographic images or videos of a person without his/her permission.

Under California law Penal Code 404: Rioting is defined as 2 or more people doing the following without legal permission:

  • Using force or violence.
  • Disturbing the peace.
  • Threatening to use force or violence and having the means to back up that threat.

Under Penal Code 415: Disturbing The Peace is defined as a person playing excessively loud music, fighting with someone or using offensive language to start a fight.

Penal Code 416: Failure To Disperse occurs when a person assembles or gathers for the purpose of disturbing the public and then failing to leave after being ordered to do so by law enforcement agents.

Lastly, Penal Code 602: Trespassing. Under this California law, it is illegal for a person to enter or remain on someone else’s property without their permission.

Penalties For Disorderly Conduct

Anyone who commits one of the above acts is guilty of disorderly conduct and will face penalties under one of the above laws. Penal Code 647 is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

Penal Code 404: Rioting is also a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

Penal Code 415: Disturbing The Peace is a wobbler offense that can be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor depending on the facts of the case. The worst penalties for disturbing the peace are:

  • Up to 90 days in county jail.
  • A max fine of $400.

Penal Code 416: Failure To Disperse is another misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Paying restitutions for any damages caused by the crime.

Trespassing is usually charged as either an infraction or as a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony in rare instances. The first time someone trespasses on a particular piece of land, they will face an infraction charge that comes with a $75 fine. A second offense on the same piece of land, the fine increase to $250. A third, or any subsequent offense, earns a person misdemeanor charges that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

Trespassing can be charged as a felony when a person makes a credible threat against another individual and then within 30 days of issuing the threat is caught trespassing on the victim’s property or place of work. When this occurs, a person will face:

  • 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

Just Be Mindful Of Others

As one can see, there are plenty of different ways that a person can be accused of disorderly conduct. However, most of these acts are pretty easy to avoid. After all, it is not like a person is faced with the possibility of being in a riot every single day. As long a person is on their best behavior and doesn’t try to start fights with other people, they will be fine.

 

Laws To Know Before Flying A Drone

Laws To Know Before Flying A Drone

Laws To Know Before Flying A Drone

As the weather warms up and gets nicer, people are beginning to venture outside once again. They are looking for something to do. One thing that is a lot of fun and doesn’t create or need a crowd of people is flying a drone.

Drones give people a bird’s eye view of the area and it can be quite exhilarating to see. Whether it is someplace new or someplace a person has lived all their life, seeing things from the air is very different from seeing things from the ground.

The thing is, a person needs to be careful when flying a drone or else they could end up in trouble with the law. There are several laws that a drone pilot has to follow here in California, and the nation as a whole, to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Federal Drone Laws

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all drones over 0.55 pounds or 250 grams to be registered. All registered drones will be given an identification number that must be displayed on the drone at all times. This number will be valid for 3 years and enables the drone to be identified and linked back to the registered owner.
  • A person must be 13-years-old or older to register a drone in their name.
  • A very important law for drones applies to airports. Drones cannot be flown within a 5 mile radius of any airport. This is for safety reasons, to help prevent any aircraft from colliding with a drone. If a person wants to fly a drone within 5 miles from an airport, they need to contact air traffic control or airport management to get permission. When a person does this, they will be asked a couple of questions, such as how long they plan on flying and where they plan on flying.
  • If a person is flying their drone for work, then they need a special license to do so.
  • All drones must be flown within the line of sight of the operator.

California Drone Laws

California has some laws specifically related to drones. Civil Code 43.101 is a law that makes first responders not held liable for any damages done to a drone that was interfering with their response to an emergency. An example of interference would be flying a drone near a wildfire, as doing so interferes with firefighting officials’ abilities to combat the blaze from above.

Since the drone is interfering with emergency operations, the pilot could face charges under Penal Code 402, sightseeing at an emergency situation. This is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

Since most drones these days have video cameras on them, a person also needs to be aware of privacy laws here in California and how they have been updated to include drone footage. Under Civil Code 1708.8, a person is liable for any invasion of privacy that might occur from entering airspace without permission and capturing any footage or audio. In other words, if a drone pilot flies their drone over someone else’s backyard or any other place where a person would reasonably expect privacy and records someone, then they have broken this law.

Don’t Break The Law

This is just a small sample of the laws that affect drones and their pilots. A drone pilots needs to be aware of these laws and any county or city ordinances that may exist wherever they are choosing to fly their drone this summer. If a pilot fails to take the proper precautions, then they could end up doing something illegal, which could get them into trouble with the law. No drone pilot wants that, they just want to have some fun.

 

Can Police Search My Vehicle Without A Warrant?

Can Police Search My Vehicle Without A Warrant?

Can Police Search My Vehicle Without A Warrant?

Pretty much every driver has experienced the slight panic of seeing a police car behind them while driving even if they haven’t done anything wrong. That shows how much people don’t want to get pulled over. On those occasions where people are pulled over, they can then find themselves worrying about the officer searching through their vehicle.

Despite what people might think, police officers and other law enforcement officers cannot just search a vehicle without reason or a warrant. This is a protection granted to every United States citizen under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement agents from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendment also sets forth guidelines for how warrants are issued.

When Is A Warrant Unnecessary?

If a law enforcement officer ever wants to search anything, including a person’s vehicle, they usually need a warrant. However, there are 5 instances when a warrant isn’t required for an officer to conduct a legal search of a vehicle. These instances are:

  1. Consent was given.
    If a driver gives the officer their consent, then the officer can search the vehicle without a warrant. The consent for the search has to be given voluntarily, not under duress from threats by the officer.
  2. There is probable cause.
    Probable cause is when the officers have reliable information from an informant, can see contraband in the car or the driver is acting suspiciously. In these instances, an officer can search the vehicle without a warrant since they have evidence that would have earned a warrant, but they had to act quickly because vehicles can be easily moved.
  3. An occupant is being arrested.
    If someone in the car is being arrested and the officer have reason to believe there is evidence in the vehicle, then they can search it without a warrant. This also applies if someone being arrested was within reaching distance of a vehicle and the officer suspect the person may have hidden something within it.
  4. An occupant is being temporarily detained.
    Otherwise known as stop-and-frisks or Terry stops, these occur when officers reasonably suspect a person of being involved in criminal activity. The officers are allowed to temporarily detain the person and search them or their vehicle for any weapons or drugs.
  5. The car has been impounded.
    Law enforcement officers are allowed to search vehicles that have been impounded to take inventory of the vehicle.

If a person’s vehicle is searched without a warrant for any reason other than those mentioned above, then the search was illegal and any evidence that may have been found within the vehicle will have to be ignored during the trial.

They Need A Warrant

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution was created by the Founding Fathers to protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures that were commonly conducted by occupying British forces at the time. They wanted to ensure that US law enforcement agents didn’t become as corrupt as their enemies had been.

If a driver is ever pulled over, they should know that unless the officer has good reason to suspect them of any wrongdoing, the officer cannot search the vehicle without a warrant. To do so would be against the law, and therefore any evidence that the officer may have found could be dismissed in the court case since it was acquired by illegal means.

 

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