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when can police do a search

When Can Officers Search You without a Warrant?

when can police do a search

Here in the United States of America, citizens are guaranteed certain rights and protections under the Constitution. The Constitution and its amendments are where most of our rights as citizens are written. Some of them, like the freedom of speech, are pretty well known. Meanwhile there are other rights that aren’t as well known, but are as equally important. A perfect example of this would the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizures. This means that police officers, and other government officials, can’t just decide to go through someone’s stuff without very good reason. In order for them to perform a search, they typically need a warrant from a judge. The warrant will give the officers permission to search through whatever it lists.

While typically a warrant is required, there are special instances where a warrant may not be required.

  • The person gives their consent to be searched.
  • The person is being arrested and searched for possible weapons.
  • Inspection searches at borders.
  • The police have probable cause there is evidence in a vehicle.
  • The incriminating item is in plain view.
  • It is an emergency situation and can prevent physical harm or damage.

In these instances, an officer may not need a warrant to search a person or their property.

Thanks to this law, officers cannot search a person’s personal property, real and digital, without the person’s consent or a warrant. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens and gives them privacy from law enforcement agencies.

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Can California Tax Text Messages?

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Everyone is different in their own, special way. However, there are somethings out there that we all do. Everyone needs to eat and drink, and we all like to stay connected with people that we care about. One of the most popular ways for people to stay connected is through texting. Local California lawmakers are aware of this, and looking to take advantage of this fact.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) wants to begin taxing text messages in order to help fund programs that provide phone services for the poor. They planned to vote on the measure in early January of 2019. The new tax would likely bring in millions of dollars for the programs.

However, while this idea was supported by the CPUC, it received immediate backlash from consumers and wireless service providers alike. Cellphone service providers were against the idea, because the tax would likely push users away from their messaging services to online messaging apps in order to avoid the tax.

Luckily, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has since intervened. They determined that text messages are an information service similarly to emails. They are not telecommunication services, which in theory means they cannot be taxed. However, not all supporters of the new tax are convinced that this is the end of the discussion on taxing text messages.

What do you think of California’s idea of taxing text messages? Let us know in the comments down below.

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Preparing for an Earthquake

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Here in California, is important to be prepared for an earthquake at any moment. Our state has dozens of earthquakes a day, it’s just that they are too small for people to notice. However, once in a while, California gets hit with a large earthquake that damages property and infrastructure. While rare, it is important to be prepared for these types of earthquakes. It could save your life, as well as the lives of your loved ones.


To begin with, it is important to have a good supply of food and water stored away. How much? Enough food and water to last each family member 3 days. That may seem like a lot, but resources may be hard to get in the first few days after a large earthquake.


It is also extremely important to have a family emergency plan. Try to come up with 2 ways to exit every room in the house. Designate a safe area outside where everyone in the family knows to meet after an earthquake. Make sure everyone knows where the shut off valves and switches are for the utilities. This means water, gas, and electricity. The shaking can damage these systems and cause leaks, which can be dangerous. That is why everyone should know how to turn these off in an emergency.

Everyone in the family should also know the location of emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. In addition, everyone should have a flashlight and a pair of shoes or slippers near their bed. These will come in handy if an earthquake happens during the night.

You should keep important documents, such as social security cards, birth certificates, and proof of ownership certificates in a fire proof safe. The safe should be stored in a safe place that can be accessed in times of emergency. Also, be sure to mount all tall object to your walls to prevent them from falling over during an earthquake.

Doing all of this is a great way to prepare for an earthquake. Knowing all of this can also help keep you and your loved one’s calm during such an event, which can save lives.

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You can Be Fined for Crossing the Street During the Countdown

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Believe it or not, a person is violating the law if they cross the street in the intersection when the hand is flashing with a countdown. Many Californians do not realize, or they forget, that it is actually illegal. They believe that they merely have that countdown left to get across the street safely. Actually, pedestrians may only legally cross the street when the signal shows the human figure.

Samuel Chu is learning this law the hard way. He was given a $202 citation from an officer for stepping into the street when the crossing sign was counting down.

In fact, it is not uncommon for officers to issue these citations. It simply is not widely reported, which is why citizens may not know the law. Over the last 4 years, Los Angeles police officers issued 17,000 such citations.

Now, a couple of Los Angeles politicians are looking to change up the law so that pedestrians are not slapped with such an expensive ticket for such a minor offense. Councilman Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago are pushing to ratify the law and let pedestrians legally continue crossing the street until the flashing light ends and the hand stops. As expected, there are pros and cons on both sides that are to be evaluated before any changes are made, which likely would not be for some time anyway.


A citation like this is often unexpected because most people who are given one do not realize they are violating the law. To them, they are merely crossing the street in the intersection as they should be. Nonetheless, it is against the law to cross the street when the signal is flashing.


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How Bail can Affect Credit Score

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It is no secret that posting bail costs quite a bit of money, even with a bail bond, because it can still be thousands of dollars. Most people who need to pay for something this expensive will typically do so using a credit card because it is the fastest and most secure way to do so. It is not often a person can pay for something so expensive with just cash.

When someone is paying for a bail bond with their credit card, they are more concerned with getting it done quickly. They want their loved one to be freed as soon as possible. They are not as concerned about how doing so might affect their credit score. It is a generous, selfless act for them to pay for a bail bond, but it is still important for them to consider their financial situation once the legal troubles begin to mellow out.

Here are a couple situations where your credit score could be affected should you use credit to pay for a bail bond:

  • Taking out a loan could lower your credit score, but it could also boost it, depending on the type of loan and the policies attached to it.
  • Paying the entire bail with your credit card, but not being able to pay it off in full immediately may cause your score to suffer later down the line. The best practice for paying off credit cards is to always pay it off in full as soon as possible, rather than paying a portion and letting the rest roll over to the next credit card due date.

Every person is in a different scenario so one person can pay their bail with a credit card and their credit will not be affected, while another person could see their credit score change. It not only depends on how much they have to pay for the bail bond, but also how they are set up with their bank and how much credit balance they are allowed to have. In addition, it could also depend on the bail bond company they are working with. Some bail bond companies have a higher fee than others, and some are more flexible in terms of payment due dates and schedule.

Before committing to one bail bond company, and before committing to paying the entire bail on your credit card, conduct some research and get consultations from different bail bond companies to see what they charge and what their bail process is like.


You will also want to review your financial situation and check with your bank to review options on how you can afford to pay off the bail. A good bail bond company will work with you on a custom plan to fit your needs, and so will a good bank.


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How Bail Works for Undocumented Immigrants

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A United States citizen who is arrested for committing a crime will stand before a judge to learn whether or not he or she can post bail to be released from custody pre-trial. What happens if an undocumented immigrant is arrested? Will they be handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and then deported as soon as possible?

Undocumented immigrants are not left hopeless if they are arrested. They are not automatically deported. Although they are not citizens, they still have rights and resources that will assist and protect them as much as possible, including a handful of immigration bonds. The immigration bond will allow the immigrant to be released from custody until his or her court date.

    Delivery Bond
    For someone to be released on a delivery bond, the immigrant has to obtain an arrest warrant and a notice of custody conditions. The delivery bond will ensure the immigrant will appear for their court hearing.

    Voluntary Departure Bond
    The only way an immigrant can be released on a judge’s voluntary departure bond is if they voluntarily leave the U.S. by a specific date. The immigrant can avoid any and all remaining court hearings if they qualify for and agree to this bond. If the immigrant fails to leave the United States by their specified date, the bond is revoked and they will face further legal consequences.

    Order of Supervision Bond
    Order of supervision bonds are reserved for individuals who must leave the United States, but are taking a little extra time while they obtain passports and other documents for their family, such as children. During this extra time, they are supervised by an agent and they must report to them on a regular basis to keep them updated on their progress.

Immigrants can pay for their immigration bond in two ways:

    1) With a surety bond where they work with a bond agent who typically will charge 15-20% of the total bond amount and is not refundable.
    2) With a cash bond where they pay ICE the full bond amount in cash or money order, which is refunded once the immigrant attends all their court hearings.


You will also want to review your financial situation and check with your bank to review options on how you can afford to pay off the bail. A good bail bond company will work with you on a custom plan to fit your needs, and so will a good bank.


Since immigration bonds are different than bail bonds, many bail bond companies do not provide them. A person seeking an immigration bond will have to find a company that specializes in immigration bonds.

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Cyber-bullying is a Crime in California

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In California, cyber-bullying is a crime that is defined by a victim being specifically targeted, harassed, annoyed, or intimidated through electronic communications such as text messages or through social media. Cyber-bullying is taken seriously, whether it was a joke or not, because the situation can end with serious consequences.

Two common types of cyber-bullying. One is when the bully wants to threaten their victim and cause them to fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones. The other is when the bully teases their victim with the intent to embarrass them and bring them shame. These are misdemeanor crimes in California and can be punished with up to 1 year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.

Cyber-bullying is particularly evident among students, and schools are supposed to take the matters seriously. In fact, all schools have anti-bullying policies in place, as well as procedures to prevent and address this type of misconduct.


In the most unfortunate and saddening incidences, the bullied victim takes their own life, or they attack their abusers, and/ or other innocent individuals by bringing a weapon to school.


Social media sites are common places for cyber-bullying to take place due to how popular they are. These kinds of sites can reach many people. Just like schools have anti-bullying policies in place, social media networks also have certain anti-bullying policies as well. In addition, they monitor the content that is posted online so they can catch inappropriate content, such as threats, and report it.

When Social Media Pranks Turn Into Crimes

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Do not be surprised if you post incriminating content on your social media and then a few days later, the police come knocking at your door. Social media is no longer just about exchanging memories and connecting with friends. It is now also about business, politics, and even fighting crime. If something suspicious pops up on social media, you can bet that it will go viral and the social media company and the police will get involved.

Southern California police are investigating a teenager who can be seen on videos uploaded to social media, going on a rampage and committing various pranks that eventually cross the line into criminal acts. The video shows the teenager entering a Popeye’s kitchen, grabbing several pieces of chicken, then walking out. Other videos show the teenager stealing pizza from a delivery man, stealing a bowling pin from a bowling alley, and making messes in a 7-Eleven and a liquor store.


The police are investigating all of these incidents and possibly others. While it is unlikely the boy will be taken to court as an adult, he will certainly face consequences as a minor. This could include community service, fines, and possibly attending programs or classes in an attempt to settle this behavior.


Rebellious and punk are words commonly associated with teenage years, but the rise of social media has certainly fueled the behavior. People see others doing similar things all the time, and posting it on social media to gain likes and comments. It is like instant fame and attention. They believe they can and should do the same because it is what they want, but seldom do they think about the damages and consequences of their actions. Let alone the consequences of bragging about their actions on social media. Social media can make it worse because at that point, more people are talking and gossiping.

The bottom line is that everyone, not just teenagers, needs to be cautious of what they post on social media. If what they post is later used against them, they must deal with the consequences properly.

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It is Illegal to Not Disclose Certain Health Information to Sexual Partners

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As singer Usher is learning the hard way, it is a crime to fail to let your sexual partner or partners know that you have an STD before engaging in sexual contact. Usher is now facing a lawsuit because of his neglect. It is unfortunate for him, but hopefully many others, probably who follow celebrity gossip, will learn the law before they accidentally break it themselves.

There are a number of California laws that involve transmitting or exposing STDs. Three in particular address people who have a sexually transmitted disease or HIV.

    1. Willful Exposure – If a person who has any contagious disease and exposes themselves to another person, they are committing a crime. This is a misdemeanor offense where the person can face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The individual may also get up to 5 years of probation.
    2. Donating Tissue – It is a felony to donate tissue, blood, semen, breast milk, and other bodily products if you know you are HIV positive. These individuals face up to 8 years in prison and a fine greater than $1,000.
    3. Sexual Intercourse – It is also a felony to intend to infect another person with your HIV strain by engaging in unprotected sex with them. People accused of this face up to 8 years in prison and a fine greater than $1,000.


If an infected person commits certain crimes, they face heightened penalties, worse than what they may have faced if they did not have an STD or HIV. For example, if a healthy individual is being accused of a sexual crime and faces 10 years in prison, an infected person would face 13 years in prison for the same crime. In regards to prostitution, an infected person would be served a consequence as if they were being convicted for a second time, not the first time.


It is more than just morally wrong not to disclose your health status to a sexual partner where they could also contract your disease, it is illegal. It is a very serious matter because STDs are life changing for the worse, and it is not something that can just go away. Due to its seriousness, the consequences are serious. Hope others can learn from Usher’s mistakes. The media attention is unfortunate for him, but perhaps it is fortunate for a portion of the general public who are in a similar situation themselves.

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When the Police Don’t Need a Search Warrant

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Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, people are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures conducted by law enforcement. This means that the police cannot conduct a search, or seize anything, unless they either hold a valid search warrant executed by a judge, or the search falls under an exception to the requirement of needing a warrant.

Here are instances when a search warrant is not needed:

  • During consented searches, where the individual allowed the police to search and possibly seize items rather than asking the police to come back with a warrant.
  • During inspection searches, like those done at international borders.
  • During an emergency situation where the police have strong evidence that harm or damage can be prevented immediately, or when the police would be able to catch a suspect immediately.
  • During a lawful arrest, and the police look for weapons that can be used against them or they look for evidence that can be destroyed, such as a computer in the process of erasing all of its data, which is pertinent to their arrest and case.
  • During a lawful search and an incriminating item is in plain view.
  • During a stop and frisk search while the person is being temporarily detained.
  • During a vehicle inspection where the police have probable cause that there is evidence in or on the vehicle.

The court and the police are supposed to abide by their authority and boundaries in order to conduct lawful searches. If a person denies the police a search, they must come back with a warrant, no questions asked. The police will approach a judge to request a search warrant, and they must prove to the judge that they have probable cause and reason to conduct this search. If approved, the search warrant will list specifically where the police may search, and what items. The officers cannot search any place that is not listed on the warrant, nor may they seize anything not related to the warrant.


If a person believes they were searched unlawfully, they can consult with a lawyer to figure out if they have a case or not.