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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

Figuring Out How Stimulus Checks Impact Your 2020 Tax Returns

Figuring Out How Stimulus Checks Impact Your 2020 Tax Returns

Figuring Out How Stimulus Checks Impact Your 2020 Tax Returns

2020 has finally ended which means we now have to think about our 2020 taxes. The issue is complicated by the fact that many of us received a COVID-19 stimulus check during 2020 and now have to figure out how that impacts our federal tax situation.

The Stimulus Isn’t An Income

The biggest concern most of us have is whether the stimulus check counts as income. In some of our cases, that simple check is enough to change our tax bracket and can seriously impact how much we owe the IRS.

According to Kathy Pickering, chief tax officer at H&R Block, you don’t have to worry about how the stimulus check will impact your income because it doesn’t count as income. That’s a relief for many people who are already struggling to pay their bills and simply can’t afford any more financial blows.

What If You Didn’t Get A Stimulus Check?

Where the stimulus check will come into play is if you didn’t get one or if you got one but it was for less than what you were entitled to. There are many reasons this may have happened including having a child in 2020, experiencing an economic setback, the IRS didn’t have the correct information on file. When you file your tax return, the IRS will become aware of the issue. They won’t send you a separate check, but they will add the missing amount to your tax refund.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you didn’t get a stimulus check, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional tax preparer who will go over your return and make sure everything is correct and that it’s very clear that the IRS still owes you a stimulus check. Utilizing a professional tax expert spares you from potentially making a mistake on your tax return which could cost you thousands.

File Early And Be Patient

Don’t expect this tax season to be just like the ones before it. The IRS is backlogged and has already pushed the filing start date back by two weeks. You can’t submit your 2020 tax return until February 12. The IRS has said that while it might take them a little longer than normal to process the return, they still hope to have the refunds sent within 21 days of you filing your return.

Things that will shorten the amount of time it takes to get your tax return include filing electronically and accepting direct deposits.

 

What Is Disorderly Conduct In California?

What Is Disorderly Conduct In California?

What Is Disorderly Conduct In California?

Disorderly conduct in California isn’t really one specific charge. It’s a blanket term that covers a surprisingly large array and variety of charges.

Charges that fall under the category of disorderly conduct in California include:

  • Trespassing
  • Rioting
  • Begging
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Prostitution (both soliciting and engaging)
  • Public intoxication
  • Loitering
  • Invasion of privacy
  • And many more

If you’re going through California’s laws, you’ll find disorderly conduct mentioned when you read PC 647.

The exact consequences of disorderly conduct in California depend on what type of crime you’ve been charged with. In most cases, you could face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 or community service.

The biggest consequence connected to disorderly conduct crimes in California is the damage they do to your reputation. They’re a misdemeanor, so once you’ve put the matter behind you, legally it doesn’t have much impact on your life. However, it does mar your reputation and can have a negative impact on your personal relationships and also make it harder to find employment.

The exact defense you and your lawyer decide to mount in a disorderly conduct case will depend heavily on the situation. The most common defenses involve:

If you’ve been accused of a disorderly conduct crime, it’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer right away. The sooner you start working with a lawyer, the stronger you’re defense will be.

 

Why Does Bail Even Exist?

Why Does Bail Even Exist?

Why Does Bail Even Exist?

For most people, bail is a bit of a mystery. They understand the basic concept, pay money to get out of jail, but that’s all they know. Some people wonder why bail even exists at all. These people often do not want criminals to get out of jail just by paying money. The problem is, these people do not typically have a good idea on how bail works.

    Bail exists for two main reasons:

    1. To try and prevent overcrowding of jails.
    2. To avoid punishing someone before they have been found guilty.

Bail has existed for hundreds of years, and its origins can be traced back to medieval England. Back then, not every town had its own judge to determine a person’s guilt. Many towns shared judges, and so arrested individuals could spend a long time in jail before ever getting their day in court. This led to overcrowding, and local sheriffs would need to release arrested person’s to free up some room.

In these situations, the sheriffs found that many of the arrested individuals did not like to return for their day in court. They found that the best way to ensure that someone returned for their court date, was by making them pay for their release, and promising to return the money after their court date. This idea has stuck around since then, and it has proven to be very effective.

The important thing to remember about bail, is that only people who have not had their final day in court can bail out of jail. Once a person has been found guilty, they can no longer bail out of jail. A person can only bail out of jail when they are still in the trial process. This means this person is technically innocent, since everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Keeping the person in jail during their trial process is like punishing a person for a crime before it has been determined they actually committed the crime.

Bail exists to be fair to those accused of a crime. After all, they are still people and they still have rights. It is important to remember that there is a screening process for assigning bail. A person can only be granted bail if it is deemed that he will not cause trouble for the community. So dangerous people will never be released on bail.

If you want to learn more about bail, you can talk to a bail agent at David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Visalia by calling 1-866-485-6356 or 661-326-0608 or by clicking Chat With Us now. Consultation is always FREE!

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