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The Truth About Unemployment Fraud

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Unemployment fraud in California is hardly a new concept, but the pandemic has pushed it to new heights which have resulted in it overwhelming an already strained system.

What Is Unemployment Fraud In California?

The term unemployment fraud refers to the act of collecting unemployment benefits that you don’t really deserve.

Common examples of unemployment fraud include:

  • Continuing to collect unemployment benefits after you’ve returned to work.
  • Providing false information on your unemployment application.
  • Failing to report earnings from a part-time or freelance job.
  • Lying about how much you earned during an average workweek prior to applying for unemployment.
  • Using a false identity when applying for unemployment benefits.

The Impact Of Unemployment Fraud During The Pandemic

Since the pandemic hit, unemployment fraud cases have sky-rocketed. The Labor Department estimates that 10% of the unemployment benefits paid out during the pandemic have gone to people who don’t really need it and who are actually committing unemployment fraud. 10% doesn’t seem like much until you find out that it exceeds $63 billion.

While all states are struggling to deal with the reality of unemployment fraud, California has been hit particularly hard. Experts estimate that fraudulent scams have resulted in draining approximately $11 billion dollars of unemployment money in California. Another $19 billion has gone into suspicious-looking accounts that require additional investigation.

Consequences Of Unemployment Fraud In California

If you’re currently collecting unemployment benefits that you’re not technically entitled to, don’t assume that you’ll get away with it forever. Even if no one has looked too closely at your situation right now, it’s reasonable to assume that once the pandemic is over, steps will be taken to crack down on unemployment fraud. It’s likely that many cases that were filed during the pandemic will be investigated and charges will be filed.

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) is responsible for investigating unemployment fraud cases. They are experts at this type of white-collar crime and are meticulous about combing through unemployment applications, tax records, and financial histories and looking for signs of unemployment fraud. If they feel that they’ve collected enough evidence to mount a solid case against you, they work with the local prosecutor and file charges.

Unemployment fraud is one of California’s wobbler offenses. If you collected less than $950, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. If the amount is more than $950, you face felony charges.

If you’re found guilty of misdemeanor unemployment fraud, you face:

  • Having to make full restitution
  • Six months in jail
  • A $1,000 fine

If you’re convicted of felony unemployment fraud, you’ll face:

  • Having to make full restitution
  • A $10,000 fine
  • Spending a year in prison

The best way to avoid an unemployment fraud charge is to be completely honest about your work, income, and job application history. If you discover that you made a mistake on your unemployment application, report the issue right away.

 

What Happens If You’re A Drunk Passenger In A Car Driven By A Drunk Driver?

What Happens If You’re A Drunk Passenger In A Car Driven By A Drunk Driver?

What Happens If You’re A Drunk Passenger In A Car Driven By A Drunk Driver?

The law is clear. If your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher and you’re pulled over, you’ll be charged with a DUI. What isn’t clear is what happens if you’re the drunk passenger in a vehicle that’s being operated by a drunk driver.

The good news is that you can’t be charged with a DUI. That particular law only impacts people who are physically operating the vehicle at the time.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook. It’s entirely likely that the police officer will consider other things they can charge you. It’s not uncommon for drunken passengers to be charged with public drunkenness, underage drinking, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, etc. In many cases, the exact charges you face will be determined by how badly you behaved when the car you were in was pulled over. If you sit quietly, do everything the officer asks, and find a sober driver to give you a lift home, it’s likely the officer will let you go.

What If You Caused The Accident?

There have been cases when a passenger was charged with a DUI. Some of these cases involve a drunk driver, but there have been some where the driver was sober and was helping transport a drunk passenger. Most of these situations involved the passenger grabbing the steering wheel and yanking the car off course. Since you were behaving as the operator at that moment, you can be charged with a DUI.

Civil Liability

Things can take a different turn if the officer suspects that you knew the driver was drunk. It hasn’t happened in California yet, but some states have gone so far as to create DUI by consent laws that means anyone who knew the driver was drunk and failed to stop them from getting behind the wheel faces serious criminal charges.

In California, knowingly allowing someone to get behind the wheel even though you knew they were drunk creates the perfect situation for anyone who was hurt by the drunk driver to file a civil lawsuit against you. In many cases, this type of lawsuit favors the plaintiff, meaning you could lose everything. Not only could the victims of the drunk driving accident file civil charges against you, if your drunk driving friend is hurt or killed in the accident, their family might also name you in a lawsuit.

If you are unable to convince a drunk friend to let you drive them home, it’s in your best interest to contact the police and alert them of the situation. By letting everyone know there is a problem, you create proof that you did everything in your power to stop them from driving which makes it difficult for anyone to mount a civil case against you.

 

California Takes Court Order Violations Seriously

California Takes Court Order Violations Seriously

California Takes Court Order Violations Seriously

California judges don’t issue court orders because they think it’s fun. They do so because they want you to follow the order. Failing to do exactly what the court order does or simply pretending it doesn’t exist will bring about some serious legal consequences. Violating a court order in California could potentially ruin your life.

The Legalities Of A Violated Court Order In California

The issue of violating a California court order is addressed in the California Penal Code Section 166 PC.

If you’re charged with violating a California court order, you’ll face a separate set of criminal charges that deal exclusively with that particular court order. This is separate from any other criminal charges you may currently face.

The burden of proof is on the prosecutor. During your hearing, they must prove that you knew about the court order, that you understood it, and that you deliberately set out to defy it. If the prosecutor proves that you knowingly violated the court order the case will be dropped.

What Happens If You’re Found Guilty Of Violating A California Court Order

It’s not unusual for the judge to decide to penalize you to the full extent of the law after you’ve been found guilty of violating a California court order. Even though this is only considered a legal misdemeanor, the guilty verdict can seriously disrupt your life.

The penalty for violating a court order in California can include:

  • Up to six months in a county jail
  • Probation
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

While defending yourself in a violation of a court order case isn’t easy, it can be done. The best defense is proving that you didn’t know/understand the terms of the court order. This defense works best when you can prove that the court failed to provide you with an opportunity to read the documentation.

Another common and highly successful defense is proving to the court that circumstances conspired against you, making it impossible for you to not violate the court order. An example of this is when you’re accused of violating a restraining order but the person you were supposed to avoid happened to show up at a venue and you were there before them.

The third most popular defense in a violating a court order case is proving that you were falsely accused.

Defending yourself in a violation of a California court order case isn’t easy. It’s in your best interest to make sure you fully understand every single aspect of the court order and follow it to the letter. If you’re in any way confused by the situation, you need to hire a good attorney who will explain the situation and advise you about your legal rights if you’re afraid you have already done something that violates the court order.

 

Warrants And The California DMV

Warrants And The California DMV

Warrants And The California DMV

If you’re worried about going to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) because you’re afraid that they’ll unearth an outstanding warrant and have you arrested, you can take a deep breath and relax. We’ve got your answers.

The issue of warrants and the California DMV is complicated. If you want to know if the DMV employee who is helping you can see if you have a warrant, the answer is yes… maybe.

The DMV’s computer system is linked to many law enforcement computer networks. What the DMV is looking for is any legal reason that would prevent them from driving. If you have warrants for things like driving on a suspended license, failing to have car insurance, unpaid driving tickets, or unpaid child support, the DMV employee does see this information. If the situation has progressed to the point that your license has been suspended, the DMV will take the appropriate action.

According to Legal Beagle, in Ohio, DMV employees alert a customer when they discover that the person they’re helping has an outstanding warrant. That’s not the case in California, where the DMV simply issues a hold on the license.

If you are trying to renew your license and are told you can’t, it’s likely that the California DMV employee will be able to tell you why and who to contact to learn what steps need to be taken in order to get your driver’s license reinstated.

For example, this is the case in Ohio, where courts advise the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when people have outstanding warrants. Similarly, in California, if you fail to appear for a court hearing or to comply with a court order, a DMV hold may be placed on you. This means that there is a good chance you won’t be issued a current driver’s license. It’s unlikely that the DMV will contact the police and have you arrested, particularly if the warrant is for a minor offense such as unpaid tickets.

If you’re concerned that there is a warrant for your arrest and aren’t sure how it will impact your driver’s license, there are third-party websites available where you can find out if you’re named on an arrest warrant. You’ll have to provide your full name, age, and state of residence.

The best way to make sure your driving privileges are never revoked is dealing with legal matters as soon as they happen.

 

What Are Your Rights When A Tenant Won’t Move Out Of Your Home?

What Are Your Rights When A Tenant Won't Move Out Of Your Home?

What Are Your Rights When A Tenant Won't Move Out Of Your Home?

Owning a rental property is a great opportunity to earn extra money while also helping resolve a small portion of California’s rental housing crisis.

While there are many good things that go along with owning a rental property there are also some downsides. One such drawback is when you have a tenant who simply refuses to move out of your home.

The good news is that there are some things you can do.

California law states that you have a right to tell your tenant that they’re evicted when they’ve:

  • Failed to pay their rent.
  • When they do something that blatantly breaks the rental contract, such as having a dog in a no-pets property.
  • The tenant has done so much damage to the property that it’s lowered the overall property value.
  • The tenant is on the property when they break the law.
  • The neighborhood has repeatedly reported that the tenant is a nuisance.

You can also evict a tenant when they fail to move out after the lease agreement has expired.

California doesn’t allow you to simply tell your tenant that they’re evicted and need to vacate the premises. There’s a legal process you must go through.

The first step involves sending a formal lease termination notice to the tenant. It’s in your best interest to send this notice via registered mail. One exception to the lease termination notice is that in California landlords are allowed to send a simple 60-day notice instead.

Before you can file for an eviction, you must provide the tenant with a minimum of three days to either get caught up on repairs or deal with whatever contact violation led to the eviction notice. Just because three-days have passed doesn’t mean you can change the locks. Now it’s time to file and get the court system involved. The fact your tenant didn’t respond to the eviction notice indicates that they want to fight the situation.

The tenant has the right to remain on the property until the court says they have to move out.

As the landlord, you’ll be pleased to know that most tenants don’t want to get the court involved. Most prefer to leave your property quietly because they don’t want an eviction on their record. That kind of black mark makes it nearly impossible for them to find a nice place to rent in the future.

Just because your tenant has moved off your property, it doesn’t mean you’re done with them. They will want their security deposit back. You have 21 days to go through the property and make a note of any damage they left behind. At this point, you have to either refund the security deposit or explain why they won’t get it. If you’re not returning the full security deposit you have to provide your former tenant with a written explanation. The explanation should include an itemized list of deductions that make it clear that the repairs needed match or exceed the security deposit.

 

Finding Out If A Person Has An Arrest Warrant

Finding Out If A Person Has An Arrest Warrant

Finding Out If A Person Has An Arrest Warrant

Whether you’re looking because you’re worried an arrest warrant has been filed against you or because you need to know about a person you’re dealing with, everyone has their own reasons for needing to know how to go about finding out if a person has an arrest warrant.

The most common reasons to find out if a person has an arrest warrant include:

  • You want to know if the police are going to knock on your door.
  • You’re worried about what might happen if a traffic cop pulls you over.
  • You need to run a background check on a potential renter/employee.

The good news is that it’s not difficult to find out if a person has an arrest warrant. All you need is a computer, a reliable internet connection, a third party website that deals with a criminal history, and some basic information about the person you’re researching.

The type of information you need to have when launching your search includes:

  • The person’s full, legal name.
  • Their age.
  • The state they’re located in.

The only problem is that sometimes you’ll get information about a different person who has the same name and is the same age. If you suspect you’re looking at the arrest record of someone who isn’t the person you’re researching, you may have to whittle down the search by using a precise address. Once you’ve provided this basic information, you’ll discover an entire treasure trove of interesting information.

In addition to learning if the person has an arrest warrant, you’ll learn:

  • When and where the criminal offenses took place.
  • What types of charges the person has dealt with.
  • The individual’s conviction history.
  • If they have any outstanding arrest warrants currently sworn out against them.

While the criminal history you uncover while trying to see if a person has an arrest warrant is complete though it might be more basic than what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a solid internet connection and know what counties are involved, you can contact the county clerk directly and ask them if you or a person you’re investigating has any arrest warrants. The county clerk should be able to tell you if there are any outstanding arrest warrants and also some basic information about the cases.

While you’ll be able to find out if a person has an arrest warrant and criminal history, there are some situations where the county clerk will be unable to provide much information. Traditionally they’ll be hesitant to provide details about cases that involve:

  • Domestic violence
  • Juveniles
  • Cases that involve family law
  • Cases that are under intense investigation

This is where David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Visalia comes in to help.

We provide FREE warrant checks for anyone who needs one.

All you need to do is talk to one of our bail agents, and provide us with your name, birthday, and the county where you think the warrant was issued. If it is in a county where we can look for our clients, we will. If we cannot check-in that county, we will let you know how to find out for yourself.

Here is a list of counties where we can check for warrants:

  • Fresno County
  • Kern County
  • Orange County
  • Riverside County
  • Sacramento County
  • San Bernardino County
  • Stanislaus County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Tulare County – We will also need the case number for warrants in this county.

And sometimes, we can do warrant checks in:

  • Kings County
  • San Joaquin County

If you need to check for a warrant in any of these counties, we will be more than happy to help you. Unfortunately, we are not able to check for warrants in all counties due to each county having different rules when it comes to warrants. This is why we can check for warrants in one county, but not another.

No matter what your situation is, David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Visalia will do whatever we can to assist you with your situation. Talk to one of our professional bail agents and get your questions answered. Consultation is FREE!

You can reach David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Visalia at 1-866-485-6356 or 661-326-0608 and click Talk To An Agent Now to chat.

 

What Happens To Debts Of A Deceased Loved One?

What Happens To Debts Of A Deceased Loved One?

What Happens To Debts Of A Deceased Loved One?

Nothing about the death of a loved one is easy. Not only do you have to deal with your grief and sense of loss, but it also won’t be long before you find yourself trying to straighten out their finances and learning what debts they still owe. Figuring out the finances and making sure all outstanding debts are paid is stressful, time-consuming, and confusing.

The first thing you need to figure out is which of your loved one’s debts have to be honored and which became irrelevant when your loved one passed.

Are You Responsible For Your Deceased Loved One’s Debts?

While very few debts simply disappear when a loved one has passed, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to dip into your own bank account to pay them off. The only time you’ll have to dip into your own money is when you co-signed on a loan with the loved one.

The money from any outstanding debts your loved left behind comes out of their estate. Shortly after your loved one’s passing, public notices are issued. At this point, any creditors you’re loved one owed money to will have to contact you or the lawyer you’re using and alert you to the amount of the debt that’s still owed.

The Estate Enters Probate

Many people mistakenly assume that they’ll collect their inheritance within days of their loved one’s passing. That’s never the case. When you’re loved one passes, everything is put into probate. At this point, the person who has been assigned to act as executor of the will steps in and starts managing the estate. If you’re the executor it’s in your best interest to obtain the help of an experienced probate lawyer.

The first thing that happens is that all of the assets your loved one acquired during their life are collected and valued. In this situation, the only assets that matter are the ones that have monetary value, such as houses, vehicles, investments, jewelry, life insurance policies, and bank accounts. Trinkets and non-valuable belongings can be distributed according to the will. If there’s not a will, the items can simply be divided between family members and friends.

The executor of the will (or the probate lawyer you’ve enlisted) contacts all of the creditors who are still owed money. The creditors have a time frame during which they are allowed to file a claim. If the claim is valid, the debt is paid via actual cash your loved one left or via the liquidation of their assets.

Ideally, there will be enough money to pay off all debts. If there isn’t, high priority debts are the first to be paid.

Examples of high priority debts include:

  • Mortgages
  • Bank loans
  • Student loans
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Unpaid taxes

It’s only after these debts are paid in full that credit card debt and personal loans are dealt with.

There are some things that aren’t entered into probate. These are considered “pass outside a will” assets. They include:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Brokerage accounts
  • IRAs
  • 401(k) plan
  • Payable on death accounts

Once all of the outstanding debts are paid off, any financial assets that remain are pooled together and distributed according to your loved one’s wishes.

 

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

It has happened to all of us. You’re driving along at what you think is a perfectly acceptable speed when you notice a car behind you. Under most circumstances, the other car wouldn’t bother you, but this driver has decided you’re not going fast enough so they proceed to get as close to your bumper as they possibly can with the hopes that it will encourage you to step on the gas.

Some of us can ignore this behavior. Other drivers will speed up. Then there are those of us who decide this is the perfect time for a brake check.

What Is A Brake Check?

A brake check is stepping on your brakes, hard, for no reason other than to startle the driver behind you into backing off.

Are Brake Checks Legal?

While the idea of brake checking the driver behind you seems appealing, you should stop and consider the consequences before you do so. California’s highway patrol is quick to point out that drivers who brake check are quite possibly breaking vehicle code 22109. That means you could be the person who gets the ticket.

The problem with brake checking is that most of these instances tend to involve two aggressive drivers. The driver in the lead is irritated that they’re being pushed. The driver that’s tailgating is irritated that they’re not traveling faster. Too often what starts off as tailgating and brake checking leads to a nasty road rage incident.

How You Should Respond If Someone Is Tailgating You

Rather than brake checking the driver who is tailgating you, you should employ one of two methods designed to get them off your bumper.

The first is to simply ignore them. If they don’t want to pass, simply keep driving until they finally give in and either slow down or work their way around you. If you decide to do this, don’t slow down, which the other driver could perceive as an aggressive move.

The second thing you can do is pull over and let the other driver go around you. Only do this when you’re in a location where you can safely do so.

If the situation doesn’t get better or you feel that the other driver poses a threat, you can call the police and report the situation. Make sure you give them your location, the direction your traveling, and a description of the car that’s tailgating you.

 

California Probation Violations: Here’s What Happens In California

California Probation Violations: Here’s What Happens In California

California Probation Violations: Here’s What Happens In California

When you’re on probation, the courts will let you know what requirements you have to meet, but no one is going to hold your hand and remind you of those requirements every single day. It’s up to you to remember what you are and aren’t allowed to do. If you violate your probation, no one will be interested in excuses.

The issue of probation violations in California is covered by Penal Code section 1203.3. The code gives the court the option to decide to revoke or modify your probation following a violation.

When your probation officer alerts the court to a violation, you’ll have to appear at a probation revocation hearing.

Probation revocation hearings are different from traditional trials. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The only thing the prosecution has to do is prove that the probation violations that have been leveled against you are likely true. You are allowed to have a defense attorney argue your side of the case.

One of the more fascinating aspects of probation revocation hearings is that if the alleged violation took place during an alleged crime, you can actually be acquitted of the crime but still be found guilty of the violation, which could result in your probation getting revoked. The reason is that even if you didn’t commit the actual crime, you placed yourself in a situation where you could have done something illegal which is a violation of your probation.

You should get a letter that notifies you of the time and place that the probation revocation hearing will take place. The letter should also provide some insight into what you allegedly did to violate your probation in California.

The exact consequences of your probation violation will depend on how severe the violation was. In extreme cases, the judge will decide to completely revoke your current probation and decide that you should serve the maximum sentence for the crime you committed. In some situations, this can result in your spending years in prison.

Another judge might decide that you shouldn’t be sent to prison for the violation. Instead, they will extend the amount of time you have to remain on probation. Once again, this could mean spending years dealing with strict rules and a probation officer before you finally regain your complete freedom.

If the violation involved using substances, drinking alcohol, or getting into a fight, there’s a good chance that the judge will require that you enroll in a counseling program.

When it comes to minor violations, some judges opt to either add some additional terms to the current probation. Another option for mild probation violations is requiring that you do some sort of community service.

When all is said and done, it’s best to stay on the straight and narrow path and obey all the rules while you’re on probation.

 

Distracted Driving In 2021

Distracted Driving In 2021

Distracted Driving In 2021

Most of us are familiar with drunk driving and know that it’s something we should avoid. Few of us know about distracted driving. Distracted driving is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re ticketed for distracted driving, it means that rather than paying attention to the road, the bulk of your attention was focused on something else.

Most distracted driving tickets are issued because the driver was using their cell phone while driving, but you can be ticketed for getting in an argument with your passengers, trying to set your navigation system while your vehicle is in motion, or even trying to mop up coffee that you’ve spilled all over yourself.

Distracted driving became a thing when manufacturers started installing radios in cars and people started getting into accidents because they were changing the station rather than watching the road. Today, cell phones are the biggest source of distracted driving. Stats indicate that sending a short text while you’re behind the wheel means your 23 times more likely to get into an accident. Many of these distracted driving accidents end with someone getting hurt.

California drivers have been getting distracted driving tickets for several years, but now that 2021 has begun, those tickets are a much bigger issue.

California law refers to distracted driving as “anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or hands off the steering wheel – especially when texting or using your phone.”

The tweaks made to the distracted driving law in 2021 focus exclusively on anyone who is using their cell phone while they are behind the wheel.

The first time you’re caught using a cell phone while driving, you’ll be issued a ticket for $162. Any distracted driving tickets you collect after that first one will cost a whopping $285. If you get two or more tickets that are connected to using a cell phone while driving, the state will add a point to your license. Too many points and the state could suspend your driver’s license.

If you’re in an accident or cause a moving violation while you’re driving, the police officer will likely write additional tickets. When all is said and done, deciding to answer a text message while you’re behind the wheel could destroy several months of careful budgeting.

At this point, you will only receive a distracted driving ticket if you are using your hands to operate your cell phone. Hands-free phone operation is still allowed.

Tougher distracted driving penalties are just one of the changes drivers will encounter during 2021.

 

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