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Wobbler Laws In California

Wobbler Laws In California

Wobbler Laws In California

It’s not uncommon to look up a crime, such as disturbing the peace, and see that it is one of California’s wobbler laws. If you’re confused by the use of the word wobbler, you’re not alone. Few people who aren’t directly involved with California’s judicial process understand exactly what wobbler laws are.

How California’s Wobbler Laws Work

Wobbler laws aren’t complicated. Seeing the word wobbler attached to an offense simply means that the prosecution has an option. They have the luxury of charging the defendant with either a felony or a misdemeanor.

In most cases, the amount of damage the defendant has done determines which way the charge wobbles. For example, if you’re charged with a hit and run accident that only involved property damage, you’ll face misdemeanor charges. However, if someone was hurt or killed in that hit and run accident, you’re facing felony charges.

Examples of California’s Wobbler Laws

California has many laws that are considered wobbler laws, including:

  • Hit and run accidents
  • Forgery
  • Grand theft
  • Trespassing
  • Burglary
  • Making criminal threats
  • Some sex crimes
  • Some assault crimes
  • Stalking
  • Carrying a loaded firearm in public
  • Etc.

If you’re only charged with a misdemeanor you’ll only face time in a county jail instead of a state prison and likely be charged a significantly smaller fine.

Benefits Of California’s Wobbler Laws

If you’ve only committed the misdemeanor version of one of California’s wobbler crimes, the fact that the crime can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor won’t have much impact on your immediate future. However, if you’ve been charged with a felony, the wobbler status could prove to be massively beneficial. Having the ability to drop the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor gives the prosecution some maneuverability when it comes to offering deals and incentives. If you have committed a crime that the state considers a straight felony, there isn’t much that can be done to help you avoid prison time and massive felonies.

There are four clear points in time when the prosecutor who is dealing with your case can opt to decrease your felony wobbler crime to a misdemeanor. These points are:

  • When the charges are initially filed
  • During the felony preliminary hearing
  • During the sentencing
  • Following the completion of felony probation

A good defense lawyer will help you determine how you can convince the prosecution to change a felony charge to a misdemeanor charge.


COVID-19 In California Workplace

COVID-19 In California Workplace

COVID-19 In California Workplace

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the first things to change in California during 2021 is how workplaces report COVID-19 outbreaks.

Way back in the middle of September 2020, California’s governor signed off on a law, AB 685, that tweaks the way workplaces notify their employees and customers about COVID-19. The law officially went into effect on January 1, 2021.

The new law requires that employers must provide a written alert to everyone involved in the business, including sub-contractors, whenever the employer learns that there was a chance of COVID-19 exposure. The written notification has to be drafted and sent to all pertinent parties within one business day of the positive test results. In addition to serving as an alert warning of possible exposure to the virus, the written notice should also include information about what benefits those who were exposed are entitled to and information about what the employer intends to do to clean the workplace and minimize the risk of future problems with COVID-19.

The most interesting thing about the new law is that the employer must make the written notification available for a full three years following the COVID-19 exposure.

The employer’s responsibilities don’t end after they’ve completed the written notification. That’s just the first step. If three (or more) employees test positive for COVID-19, it’s considered an outbreak. The next thing the employer must do is contact their local health agency. This contact must take place within 48 hours of the positive test. The information the public health department collects includes the names of the infected employees, their occupations, and the places where they worked.

What happens if an employer fails to go through with the protocol established by AB 685?

Well, that’s not entirely clear. The law does mention that the employer will receive a citation: “The division shall enforce paragraphs (1), (2), and (4) of subdivision (a) by the issuance of a citation alleging a violation of these paragraphs and a notice of civil penalty in a manner consistent with Section 6317.”

The problem is that no one knows exactly what the citation is or how it will impact the employer. It’s unclear if they will face a fine or lose their business license. When you read through the law, you do learn that if the Health Department issues a citation, the employer does have the right to a trial during which they’re allowed to argue their case.

This new 2021 law impacts all employers, no matter how many employees they hire.


What Happens When You Bounce A Check In California

What Happens When You Bounce A Check In California

What Happens When You Bounce A Check In California

We all make mistakes. One of the mistakes that many of us have made at one time or another is not checking our account before writing a check. As a result, the check bounces and you face a series of problems.

The good news is that in most cases, the consequences of writing a bad check aren’t horrible. The person/business you wrote the check to contacts you. You’re embarrassed but cover the amount of the check plus whatever fee the business attaches to the returned check. There’s also a chance that your bank will charge you an overdraft fee. Once you’ve covered all of these costs, you can stop worrying about the matter and get on with your life.

In some extreme cases, the legal system gets involved.

Check fraud is covered by California’s Penal Code 476 PC. According to the law, you can be charged with check fraud whenever you do something with a check that leads the person who is receiving the check that they believe is good.

You can be charged with check fraud if you:

  • Write a check even when you know there aren’t sufficient funds in your account.
  • Create checks for an account that doesn’t exist.
  • Alter the routing or account number on a check.
  • Writing checks for an account you don’t own.
  • Altering the amount written on a check.

Check fraud is another one of California’s wobbler laws. If the amount of check fraud doesn’t exceed $950, you’ll only face misdemeanor charges. A conviction can result in a sentence that could include:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • A maximum of one year in county jail
  • Restitution

If the amount of the check fraud exceeds $950, you can be charged with a felony. The consequences of felony check fraud in California can include:

  • One year in county jail
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • As much as $10,000 in fines

It’s important to understand that to be found guilty of check fraud in California, the prosecutor has to prove that you knew you were writing a fraudulent check. This is why most businesses don’t file charges for a small check. It’s easy to not realize you were $5 or $10 short when you wrote the check.

If you accidentally bounce a check, the best way to handle the situation is by apologizing and working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.


California DUIs In The New Year

California DUIs In The New Year

California DUIs In The New Year

You should never get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. If you plan on drinking, you should plan on walking home, or getting a ride from a sober driver, or using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.

In the past, a DUI arrest could have a huge and negative impact on your life. It still will, but thanks to Assembly Bill 3234 you may have some options that weren’t available to you before.

DUIs are one of the crimes that Assembly Bill 3234 targets. Instead of getting hit with a bunch of jail time and fines, you’ll have the option to enter into a diversion program. The diversion program will consist of several different components which will include taking classes that are designed to help you identify why your driving after drinking happened and complete a great deal of community service. You’ll also likely be charged a significant fine. You would also have to make restitution to anyone who was hurt by your actions.

It appears that you would have 24 months to complete the program. Once the program is completed, the matter would be erased from your record. Having the record erased means your actions would’t negatively impact your ability to qualify for housing, land great employment opportunities, or deal with sky-rocketing auto insurance rates.

The Bill officially kicks in in 2021. Taking advantage of the change requires that you work closely with a good defense lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the Bill and who will be able to help you argue your case before a judge.

At this point, it appears that judges are free to determine who should and should’t be entered into the diversion program. It’s not clear what judges will look at when they determine who will and won’t be granted the opportunity to clear the DUI from their record.

Assembly Bill 3234 can only be used in misdemeanor cases. If you’re charged with a felony DUI, it won’t help you.

It does’t appear that Assembly Bill 3234 will protect you from any civil cases that named you as the defendant in DUI cases.


Hitchhiking In California

Hitchhiking In California

Hitchhiking In California

Signs warning drivers about the dangers of picking up hitchhikers litter the sides of California’s highways. Upon seeing these signs, most of us assume that we’re close to one of the state’s prisons and that cops are worried that a hitchhiker could be an escaped convict. Few of us know that the reason there are so many signs warning about hitchhikers scattered along California’s immense span network of highways is because hitchhiking is actually illegal.

The issue of hitchhiking is addressed in CA Veh Code § 21957 (2018) 21957. The law states that “No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any vehicle.”

Clearly, the law doesn’t want anyone hitchhiking, but what if you’re vehicle has broken down and you need a ride into town? Are you supposed to walk the whole way? And what if you pick up a hitchhiker?

It’s obvious that the law was created to discourage hitchhiking, but it’s the language. you want to pay particular attention to. It states that you can’t stand in the middle of the road and try to flag oncoming traffic down and asking for a ride. If one of California’s highway patrol officers catches you doing so, they’ll likely stop and ask you to move off the road. They might even issue a ticket.

However, according to the strict language of the law, you are free to stand on the shoulder of the road and attempt to flag down an approaching vehicle. The trick is, you have to do it in such a way that you’re not disrupting traffic.

If you are a driver who spots someone who wants a lift, you’re allowed to stop and offer them one, but not if you’re on one of the state’s massive freeways. Stopping on the shoulder of one of the those could disrupt the flow of traffic and cause a serious accident. You’ll have to somehow signal to the hitchhiker that you’ll meet them at the next exit.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the person offering a hitchhiker a ride or if you’re the person accepting the ride, it’s important to remember that inviting a stranger into your car is a risk. Make sure you use sound judgment and be very careful.


California’s Video Taping Laws

California’s Video Taping Laws

California’s Video Taping Laws

There was a time when no one worried about what would happen if they videotaped someone. Prior to cell phone cameras, it was nearly impossible for the average person to videotape someone without the person being taped knowing about it. Now that everyone has a video camera on their cell phone, many people have accidentally broken California’s laws regarding videotaping people without their consent.

Cell phone cameras made it possible to videotape people without that person’s consent. Social media makes it possible for us to share these tapes. The combination has created legal problems for many people.

According to the current laws, you are allowed to record a video of people without their consent, but only if you don’t pick up any bits of their conversation. The state doesn’t have a problem with you capturing their image, just their words. If you want to record the conversation, you’ll have to get their consent. This consent should be written so that if the person does decide to sue, you can prove your case.

The one exception to this is if you’re in a busy place, such as a coffee shop. If you’re recording something and accidentally pick up bits of a conversation, you aren’t breaking any laws. The idea is that the person involved in the conversation was in a public area and therefore shouldn’t have expected complete privacy. The trick is proving that you weren’t deliberately trying to capture the snippet of conversation.

You do not want to be accused of recording someone’s conversation in California. The state is very serious when it comes to punishing people who don’t first get consent. The issue is addressed in California Penal Code § 632(a).

The worse thing about taking an audio recording of someone without their consent is that you can’t use it as part of your defense. For example, if you recorded the person because you wanted to prove to your boss that they were bullying you, not only can you not use the recording, but you’ll also find yourself in the middle of a legal battle that you likely won’t win.

The penalty for violating the recording an audio recording of a conversation can include a year in jail and a $2,500.

It is important to note that using your camera to take a quick video of someone in a public setting is completely different than conducting video surveillance on them.


What Is Housing Discrimination?

What Is Housing Discrimination?

What Is Housing Discrimination?

It is incredibly difficult to find affordable housing in California. The average price of a home in California is $600,000 which is double the national average.

There are several reasons for the housing crisis, including:

  • The number of homes/apartment buildings that have been destroyed by wildfires in recent years.
  • High construction costs.
  • A discrepancy between the average wage and the average cost of a home.
  • Not enough construction companies/workers.
  • Lack of housing subsidies.

The situation is so bad that some California residents who make middle wage or lower report that they have spent 3-5 years trying to find an apartment.

The Role Housing Discrimination Plays In California

In an attempt to keep a roof over as many heads as possible, California lawmakers have passed housing discrimination laws. These laws are very similar to many workplace discrimination laws. The housing discrimination laws prevent landlords and real estate companies from using someone’s sex, sexual preference, race, religion, marital status or disability when determining who should and shouldn’t be allowed to live in a particular property.

The housing discrimination laws specifically prevent landlords/real estate agents from:

  • Openly using personal discrimination as a reason for refusing to lease, sell or rent to a person.
  • Being so biased that they’re unwilling to negotiate with an interested party.
  • Learning a person’s gender/age/race and suddenly deciding that a unit is no longer available.
  • Using personal bias as a reason to provide inferior living conditions.
  • Behaving in a harassing manner.

Do The Housing Discrimination Laws Work?

It’s difficult to determine just how effective California’s housing discrimination laws are. While they likely prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant because of race, there’s no way to tell if a prejudice against a tenant’s age/marital status/gender doesn’t cause the landlord to seek out a reason to evict the person or to reject someone else’s application.

How To Handle Housing Discrimination

If you feel that you have been the victim of housing discrimination, it’s in your best interest to take a proactive stance. The first thing you need to do is record everything that happened to you, particularly the episodes/conversations that made you feel like you were being discriminated against.

Once you have collected your evidence, approach a knowledgeable lawyer, and ask for their help. Not only will they determine whether you have a housing discrimination case, but they’ll also offer advice about how you should proceed.


Do You Require Bail Bond?

Do You Require Bail Bond?

Do You Require Bail Bond?

Getting arrested for any reason is a life-altering event. Not only do you face public ridicule, but you also must figure out how you’re going to launch your defense, how you’re going to provide for your family and how to deal with the aftermath of the arrest. The entire situation is stressful, time consuming and costly.

First Things First

One of your first priorities is getting yourself released from jail. Despite how things are portrayed on television, the legal process moves at an incredibly slow rate. If your case goes to trial, it could take as long as a year before the matter is resolved. You do not want to spend that time sitting in a jail cell. Getting released allows you to continue working, to easily meet with lawyers and lets you maintain control of your life until the legal matter is resolved.

Getting Out Of Jail – Understanding Bail Bond

The court system uses bail as a means of encouraging individuals who have been charged with a crime to stay involved in the court process and make all their court appearances. If you do as your supposed to and appear before a judge at the appointed times, the court system returns the bail. If you do not, the court keeps it. When determining how much your bail will be, the judge considers the charges filed against you, your community ties and your criminal history.

In most cases, the judge determines the amount of your bail, but some crimes have a predetermined bail schedule. In Los Angeles, anyone charged with sexual assault receives a minimum of $25,000 bail. Manslaughter cases involve a $1,000,000 bail.

The Role Of A Bail Bond Company

Once a judge has determined how much bail is required for you to leave jail and resume your life, it’s up to you to figure out how to fund your freedom. In cases where the bail is low, you may have enough money in the bank to cover the cost. Or you may have a family member who is willing to loan you the money. If you cannot come up with the funds yourself, you contact David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Visalia and we’ll help you out.

When you contact us about putting up your bail, we run a risk assessment on you and determine if our underwriters will allow us to cover your bail. Factors we consider include:

  • Your professional and personal connection to the community
  • Your financial situation
  • The charges filed against you
  • The amount required

If we believe you’re not a flight risk and that you’ll appear for all of the court dates we work with the court to get you released from your jail and back with your family.

In many cases, we do require that you find someone who is willing to co-sign for your bail bond. The reason for this is to lower our risk.

Once you’re freed from jail, it’s important that you are diligent about making every single official court appearance, that you stay in communication with both us and the court, and that you don’t do anything else that attracts negative attention from the police.

Call 1-866-485-6356 or 661-326-0608 or click Talk To An Agent Now to chat. The sooner you contact David Ortiz Bail Bonds in Visalia, the sooner we can help you return to your regular life.


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