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The Difference Between Manslaughter And Involuntary Manslaughter

The Difference Between Manslaughter And Involuntary Manslaughter

The Difference Between Manslaughter And Involuntary Manslaughter

From a legal standpoint, manslaughter is, “the unlawful killing of a human being without any malice aforethought.”

What that means is that something you did resulted in the death of someone else. What separates it from other types of murder charges is that you didn’t actively think you were going to do something that would trigger their death. There was zero premeditation.

What Is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter, which is sometimes referred to as voluntary manslaughter, happens when the court rules that the victim provoked you. A perfect example of this is if you’re at a bar and someone is harassing you. If you decide you’ve had enough and punch your heckler and they die, that’s manslaughter.

You didn’t plan on murdering the person and their actions provoked the attack, but at the same time, you knew when you threw the punch, there was a chance it could end with a fatality.

Manslaughter is often considered an event that takes place in the “heat of passion.” In most cases of voluntary manslaughter, the defendant realizes that they could have and should have walked away from the situation rather than engaging with the victim.

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter is a little more confusing. It happens when your actions directly led to the death of another, but you didn’t act maliciously. Examples of involuntary manslaughter often involve cars. Examples include getting into a fatal accident because you were speeding, texting, driving under the influence, or failed to properly maintain your vehicle.

Consequences Of Manslaughter

If you’re convicted of voluntary manslaughter in California, the potential legal consequences include:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Anywhere from 3-11 years in prison
  • Community service
  • Mandatory anger management counseling
  • Losing the ability to own a firearm

Voluntary manslaughter is one of California’s three-strikes law.

The legal consequence of involuntary manslaughter in California include:

  • 2-4 year in jail
  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Probation

You may also face additional charges such as reckless endangerment, DUI, etc.

 

Spring Break Is Here! Know What An Underage Drinking Charge Will Cost You

Spring Break Is Here! Know What An Underage Drinking Charge Will Cost You

Spring Break Is Here! Know What An Underage Drinking Charge Will Cost You

Spring break is finally here! It’s time to cut loose, forget all about your studies, and have a good time.

While there’s nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying yourself, don’t forget that you’re not allowed to drink alcohol until you’re at least twenty-one years old. If you choose to ignore this, an underage drinking charge won’t just ruin your spring break, it will also have a negative impact on your life over the next few years.

It doesn’t matter if you’re pulled over for speeding or if the cops show up at a party, if your blood alcohol content is over .05 and you’re under twenty-one, you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

For the record, a single beer is all it takes to put you over .05.

The days when an underage drinking charge resulted in a difficult phone call to your parents and some community service time are long over. California lawmakers have decided to crackdown on underage drinking during spring break.

The first time you get caught drinking while you’re underage, the potential consequences are:

  • Serving 24-32 hours of community service.
  • A $250 fine.
  • Attending an alcohol education program.

Each time you’re caught drinking while underage after the first conviction, the consequences are:

  • 36-48 hours of community service.
  • A $500 fine.
  • A one-year drivers license suspension.

The very first time you’re caught drinking and driving while underage, the potential consequences can include:

  • Spending at least 48 hours in jail.
  • Spending 3 years on probation.
  • Lowing your good driver status for 10 full years (this will lead to significantly higher insurance premiums).
  • Two points getting added to your current driving record.

Some California counties will also install an ignition lock on any vehicles that are registered in your name.

It’s important to remember that minors aren’t the only ones who can get into trouble for underage drinking. Anyone who allows minors to drink will also find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Parents who allow their children to consume alcohol while at home can get into serious trouble if that child is caught behind the wheel while under the influence. A guilty conviction of letting a minor drive while intoxicated includes a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.

If the court decides that you’ve contributed to the delinquency of a minor, they can hit you with a one-year jail sentence and a $2,500 fine.

Businesses that serve alcohol to minors face a misdemeanor charge that can include a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The charge can also jeopardize their business license.

It is in everyone’s best interest to remember that alcohol and minors shouldn’t mix this spring break.

 

Planning A Flight? Make Sure You’re On Your Best Behavior!

Planning A Flight? Make Sure You're On Your Best Behavior!

Planning A Flight? Make Sure You're On Your Best Behavior!

Most of us have been on a flight where at least one passenger seemed to go out of their way to be difficult. They were loud, overly active, got sassy with the flight attendants, etc. In some cases, the passenger’s bad behavior was amusing. In other situations, it was irritating. Sometimes it even becomes concerning.

The airlines have decided that enough is enough and they are no longer going to tolerate unruly passengers on flights.

Federal safety officials announced last January that they are no longer tolerating bad behavior on flights. The decision was made after multiple airline workers reported that they’d had confrontations with individuals and groups who were flying into Washington D.C. with the intention of joining the protests/riots that shook the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flights throughout the country experienced, “a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”

This is not the first time this issue has come up. Bad behavior on flights has been an ongoing concern since passenger flights first became popular. In 2001, the issue was finally addressed following the 9/11 attacks. Since then, the FAA has continuously explored different methods for identifying and quelling disruptive issues that occur both while in the air and in the actual airport.

Just a few examples of this include a couple who were arrested after they got into an altercation about a bag dispute in the Detroit Metro Airport. Another famous incident involved Alec Baldwin who refused to power off his electronics, despite being asked to do so by a flight attendant.

Stephen Dickson who serves as the administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) listened to recent complaints about unruly behavior on flights and signed what is basically a zero-tolerance policy. It’s a one-strike and you’re out policy. If you are accused of being unruly and disturbing the peace while you’re on an airplane, you’ll face serious legal consequences. These extend well beyond being asked to get off the plane.

If you behave badly while in flight, it’s likely you’ll be arrested right after the plane lands. You could be charged up to $35,000 in fines and even serve jail time.

At this point, the FAA considers assaulting or threatening your fellow passengers or the staff who is serving on the plane a disruption of peace. At this point, the order is in effect through March 30. It’s unclear if the FAA will move to extend the order following that date.

If you intend on flying in the next few weeks or months, it is in your best interest to be quiet and be on your best behavior until you reach your destination.

 

Stay Out Of Jail This Saint Patrick’s Day

Stay Out Of Jail This Saint Patrick’s Day

Stay Out Of Jail This Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is a great holiday. It’s one of those fun holidays where you’re encouraged to cut loose and have a good time. The problem with Saint Patrick’s Day is that it’s also a time when many people get a little too relaxed and end up in jail. Happily, there are things you can do to make sure you enjoy the holiday and also stay on the right side of the law.

Check Out Current Pandemic Restrictions

Last year, Saint Patrick’s Day was interrupted and virtually cancelLed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year it doesn’t look like things will be quite as restricted but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do whatever you want. Before heading out, check both state and local restrictions and know exactly what you can and can’t do. Also, make sure you adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear your face mask while you’re in public areas.

Have A Designated Driver

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Expect that the cops will be out and that they will be looking for drunk drivers. If you plan on drinking, do the smart thing and have a designated driver on hand. If none of your friends want to be the designated driver, at least arrange for a rideshare program or cab to take you wherever you want to go.

The best way to avoid the temptation of getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking is leaving your car at home and getting a ride both to and from your favorite bar.

Don’t Lose Your Head

While drunk driving makes up the bulk of Saint Patrick’s Day arrests, it’s not the only thing that can result in your spending a night in jail. Other common arrests during the holiday include drunk and disorderly, assault, and public intoxication charges. If you’re prone to drinking to the point where you lose all your inhibitions and do things you’ll regret, either bring a friend along who will remain levelheaded and prevent you from doing something you shouldn’t or restrict your celebrating to your home.

Stay safe and use good judgment this Saint Patrick’s Day!

 

What Is The “Bait And Switch” And When Is It Illegal?

What Is The “Bait And Switch” And When Is It Illegal?

What Is The “Bait And Switch” And When Is It Illegal?

Bait and switch is a cute term that refers to a nasty con game. If you’re the victim of a bait and switch scam you’ve purchased one item only to be given something that doesn’t match the description of what you purchased. Bait and switch typically involve businesses who use the tactic to lure customers in by advertising a great product at a fantastic price only to provide something that’s quite different.

Identifying That You Were A Victim Of Bait And Switch

The FTC has done an excellent job of creating guidelines that clarify when a “bait and switch” situation has happened.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you weren’t a victim of a bait and switch con if you:

  • Were convinced to buy something different.
  • If the seller simply runs out of whatever item they were promoting, especially when the business clearly stated that they only had limited quantities of the promoted item.

The only way you are a true victim of bait and switch is when the seller clearly had no intention of selling the promoted product.

Bait and switch occurs when:

  • The seller had no intention of parting with the promoted item.
  • They fail to be honest about warranties, availability, repairs, description, etc.
  • The do something that actively discourages their sales team from selling the promoted item.
  • Simply refuses to sell the bait.
  • Fails to honor the terms of the promotion (such as failing to ship the item in a reasonable amount of time causing you to cancel the item or replace it with something else).

Is Bait And Switch Illegal?

Bait and switch isn’t just an immoral marketing tactic, it is illegal. If you have recently found yourself caught in the middle of a bait and switch scam, there are steps you can take to resolve the situation. The first thing you need to do is contact the FTC and file a formal complaint. This alerts them to the situation and triggers an investigation.

While you’re waiting for the FTC to respond to your complaint, find an experienced lawyer who will not only help you understand all the legal terms but who will also do everything in their power to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. If your lawyer decides you have a strong case, they’ll likely encourage you to file a lawsuit and seek out damages.

What you shouldn’t do, is share your experience on social media or leave scathing reviews on the business website. Saying the wrong thing not only could cost you your bait and switch case, but it could also cause the business to file a slander lawsuit against you. It’s in your best interest to stay quiet until the case has been resolved.

 

Getting Pulled Over In An Automatous Car

Getting Pulled Over In An Automatous Car

We’re getting closer to finally having fully automated cars that are capable of handling our daily commute without much input from us. While the idea is exciting, many are already asking some interesting questions. One such question is what happens if the police pull you over while you’re in an automatous car?

Theoretically, if you’re pulled over for a moving violation while you’re letting an automatous car handle the commute, you shouldn’t be responsible. Right?

Law enforcement agencies are already aware that they could have problems once automatous cars hit the streets. They also know that it’s likely that the issue will come up sooner rather than later which is why they’ve already started discussing the potential issues surrounding these smart vehicles and how to deal with moving violations and accidents.

The issue has brought some of the finest minds together. Members of the state and the federal government have met with bright law enforcement agents, scientists, and automotive manufactures. During their meetings, they’ve discussed issues like what will happen if the smart vehicle’s computer system is hacked, who is responsible when accidents happen, and how to handle ticketing drivers who are responsible for automaton vehicles.

If the technology is approved and you are lucky enough to own a vehicle that’s capable of handling our commute, it’s likely that the vehicle’s capabilities will play a role in whether or not you’re ticketed. If you shut off specific safety features, programmed the car to speed, or did something else that resulted in your violating a moving violation, you’ll likely receive a ticket.

No one really knows what will happen if a programmed car is pulled over for a moving violation that is determined to be the fault of the computer rather than the human driver.

What To Do If You Are Pulled Over

There’s nothing fun about getting pulled over. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done something serious, like running a red light and causing an accident or it’s a minor deal, like the police pulling you over to alert you to a burned-out taillight. The moment you see the lights flashing in your rear view mirror, you start worrying about what you’ve done wrong and how serious the consequences will be.

What You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Pulled Over

What you should do when you’re pulled over isn’t nearly as important as knowing what you shouldn’t do.

Don’t Run

The instinct to step on the gas and go into evasive driving mode as soon as you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror is perfectly natural. It’s an instinct you need to squash. Even if you’re lucky enough to evade the car that’s currently trying to pull you over, the officers will radio for help and someone will find you.

The only thing trying to run will accomplish is making the situation worse. In addition to whatever you were originally being pulled over for, you’ll also face leading a police chase and possibly resisting arrest charges.

Don’t Get Aggressive

Getting aggressive with the police officer who pulled you over won’t do you any good. It creates a tense situation. Not only does getting aggressive with the police officer increase the chances that they’ll issue a ticket rather than simply give a verbal warning, but it’s also likely they’ll get so irritated by your behavior that they find a valid reason to arrest you.

What You Should Do When You’re Pulled Over

When you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror, you should start looking for a safe place where you can pull over. The place you choose should be wide enough for your car, well lit, and if possible, dry. Make sure you pull your car well off the road.

Get your license, proof of insurance, and registration out while the officer walks to your car. By the time they reach your window, you should have everything you need and your hands should be visible. Make sure you keep your hands visible at all times.

You don’t have to be cheerful, but you should at least strive to be polite. Answer all of the officer’s questions honestly and in an even tone. The calmer you are, the calmer they’ll be. While staying cool, calm, and collected might not be easy, maintaining your composure increases the likelihood of you getting off with a warning rather than a ticket.

While you’re allowed to accept the ticket with good grace, you shouldn’t admit to doing anything wrong. As long as you don’t agree that you screwed up, you can always choose to fight the ticket and have it dropped from your driving record.

If you’re ticketed, make sure you pay the fine right away. Delaying payment means the California DMV could choose to suspend your driver’s license.

 

Strange Storage Rules You May Not Know

Strange Storage Rules You May Not Know

Strange Storage Rules You May Not Know

If you’re lucky enough to own a home that has a garage you probably assume that you’re free to store whatever you want inside. You probably don’t think it matters if you park a car, use it to store boxes of books, or keep a collection of landscaping tools in your garage.

In most parts of California, no one really cares what you have in your garage. However, if you live in San Francisco or Long Beach, local lawmakers are very concerned about what you do and don’t have in your garage.

The issue is addressed in San Francisco’s Housing Code. You’ll find it in the sixth chapter. The code specifically states that, “Private and public storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall be used only for storage of automobiles.”

What happens if you break the law and store something in your garage besides an automobile? If city officials find out, they’d be within their rights to charge you a $500 fine.

Not only does this law prohibit you from storing things like rakes, boxes of clothing, garden hoses, canned goods, extra appliances, and spare pet supplies in your garage, it also means that even the items you use to care for your car, such as extra quarts of oil, a spare gallon of windshield washer, and air compressors shouldn’t be in your garage.

There is no information available about how many people were busted for storing items other than their vehicle in their garage.

In 2014, the city supervisor did attempt to get this rule, and a few others that were considered silly or outdated, removed from the book of housing codes.

 

Speeding In California

Speeding In California

Speeding In California

Sometimes the urge to have fun overrides our common sense. All of us know how to drive defensively and know that failing to do so could lead to an accident. Yet, when it comes to a wide-open expanse of highway, the urge to do something reckless can be overwhelming. This urge can lead to making some illegal driving moves.

While getting reckless on the open highway feels good, it can also have some painful consequences.

If you’re caught driving well over the speed limit both your driving record and your checkbook will take a hit.

The consequences of speeding down the open highway vary. How much you were speeding directly impacts how much you’re fined.

Base fines for speeding tickets are:

  • If you’re only 15 miles (or less) over the speed limit, you’re looking at a $35 ticket.
  • If you’re going 16 to 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, the ticket jumps to $70.
  • If you’re stopped while going 26 miles per hour over the speed limit (but still less than 100 mph) you’re looking at a $100 ticket.

In California, the maximum fines for speeding tickets are as follows:

  • $238 for driving at a speed of up to 15 mph over the maximum speed limit.
  • $367 for driving 16 – 25 mph over the maximum speed limit.
  • $490 for driving more than 26 mph over the speed limit.
  • $900 for driving faster than 100 mph.

If you are in a construction zone, maximum speeding fines increase to:

  • $367 for driving at a speed of up to 15 mph over the maximum speed limit.
  • $525 for driving 16 – 25 mph over the maximum speed limit.
  • $648 for driving more than 26 mph over the speed limit.

These fines might seem painful, but they’re nothing compared to what you’ll face if you’re driving over 100 miles per hour. When the speedometer passes 100, the consequences get more severe, especially if it isn’t the first time you’ve been caught going that fast.

  • First Offense: $500 fine and a 30-day license suspension.
  • Second Offense in a three year period: $750 fine and a six-month license suspension.
  • Third Offense in five years: $1000 fine and a one-year license suspension.

The speeding ticket may only be part of your worries. In many cases, excessive speeds also create just the right circumstances for the officer to also charge you with reckless driving. The first time you’re convicted of reckless driving, you could spend 5-90 days in a county jail and be charged a fine that ranges from $145 to $1,000.

In addition to the fines connected to your speeding tickets, you will also experience a notable increase in your monthly insurance premiums. As tempting as speeding down that stretch of open California highway might be, it’s important to remember that you can’t predict where a patrol officer might be hiding. In the long run, it’s better to ease off the gas and obey all posted speed limits.

 

Community Service In Criminal Cases

Community Service In Criminal Cases

Community Service In Criminal Cases

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 the community service can reduce fines and jail time. Others hate having to do so much work without getting paid.

Judges have the right to make community service a part of a sentence. Sometimes the community service replaces fines, jail time, and probation. In other cases, it’s used in tandem with the other consequences.

Community service has become so popular amongst judges that some large communities discovered that they had to hire another person and even create whole new county offices just to help with the community service portion of sentencing. These separate offices help people find promising community service opportunities, track hours, and make sure everything is properly reported to the sentencing judge.

The great thing about community service is that there are lots of different options. The only stipulation is that the work has to be done in connection with a non-profit organization and that you don’t get paid for it. You can choose to complete all of the hours by working with a single non-profit or you can divide your time up with multiple organizations.

Some communities also have government programs that qualify as community service.

When you find out that you need to complete X amount of hours of community service, the first thing you need to do is sit down and think about what you like. The entire process will be more enjoyable if you’re doing work you like or at least working for a cause you’re passionate about.

Popular community service choices include:

  • Helping out at animal rescues.
  • Assisting at homeless shelters.
  • Helping organize non-profit events, such as awareness runs, and festivals.
  • Community improvement/beautification projects.
  • Speaking to school groups.

The list goes on and on.

Once you’ve identified the type of work you’d like to do, it’s time to contact the non-profits and find out their requirements. Make it clear that the volunteering work you’re doing is for the courts. Some non-profits choose not to track hours for the courts. Others require a background check that you won’t pass because you have a criminal record.

If the first non-profit you contact doesn’t work out, contact another one until you find one that’s happy to accept you.

Create a schedule and stick to it. You want to complete your community service hours as quickly as possible so that the judge doesn’t revisit your sentencing and decide you’re shirking your responsibilities. If for some reason, you do run into a problem and won’t be able to complete the required number of hours by the court-appointed deadline, you need to contact the court and let them know. It’s likely that as long as you can prove that you’re making a genuine effort they’ll choose to extend your deadline.

Be diligent about recording the number of hours you’ve worked at your community service project. Get the person who is supervising you to sign off on your time after each session. Turn the information to the court.

The great thing about community service is that you can sometimes use it to make important new connections, develop skills, and possibly even find a program you want to continue helping even after you’ve fulfilled your community service requirements.

 

Abandoned Pets In California

Abandoned Pets In California

Abandoned Pets In California

There is little that tugs on the heartstrings more than a family pet that has been abandoned. A startling number of these stories involve a family suddenly moving and leaving a cat or dog behind, often on the property. If you happen to be the person who either rents or purchases the property, it’s important to understand your legal rights.

California lawmakers addressed the issues of abandoned pets. The law was designed to protect both landlords and incoming residents from inheriting responsibility for the pet the previous tenants left behind. All you have to do is report the pet to animal control. When you report the pet, local animal control officers will arrive at the property and remove the animal. Prior to the law change, everyone had to leave the pet where it was for a full two days after its discovery to see if the previous owners planned on returning for it.

This new law makes it possible for the pet to receive shelter, food, and any veterinary care it requires.

If you are getting ready to move and are considering leaving your pet behind, you need to think again. This is a serious problem that law officials are starting to really crackdown on.

Even if there is a legitimate reason your pet can’t make the move with you, you’re legally obligated to take care of them. That means that if you aren’t able to convince a friend or family member to assume ownership, you’ll have to go through a shelter.

It’s important to understand that abandoning your pet is illegal. The resulting charge is a misdemeanor. If you’re found guilty you could be fined $50-$500 and possibly spend time in jail.

If the stress of the move causes a pet to run away, you need to report them as a lost animal as quickly as possible. Reporting them as lost not only increases the odds of them getting safely returned to your family, but eliminates the possibility of you being charged with animal abandonment in California.

 

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