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zero money down bail in san bernardino

Rescuing Someone from Jail Is Easy

zero money down bail in san bernardino

Learning that a close friend has been arrested can make it feel like the world is ending, but it isn’t. Your friend is not stuck in jail. You can help get him or her out by posting bail. The thought of this is intimidating to most people, because they do not know how bail works. Luckily, bail is a lot easier than people realize.

Despite what many people think, bailing someone out of jail can be easy, if you have the right team of people helping you. You want not only a team of friends and family members behind you, but a caring and professional bail agent as well. When the right people have your back, getting a friend out of jail is a piece of cake.

You can find the right bail agent to help you by contacting Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino. Our professional bail agents have years of training and experience behind them. They know exactly what they are doing. Our agents can answer any questions you might have, and guide you through bailing someone out of jail.

If you have friend and/or family members who are willing to help post bail, they can help by co-signing for the bail bond. If one of the co-signers meets one of the following requirements, then you all can qualify for a 20% discount of the price of the bail bond.

To get the discount, one of the co-signers needs to:

  • Be a member of the military.
  • Be a member of AARP.
  • Be a union member.
  • Be a homeowner.
  • Have a private attorney.

That’s all it takes to get a discount.

We make things even easier by allowing clients with approved credit to get a bail bond at 0% down. This gives our clients a chance to begin saving up for their first payment while still getting their loved one out of jail quickly.

When a client qualifies for 0% down, they basically get the first month of their payment plan free. Their loved one still gets out of jail that day, but they do not have to make a payment on the bail bond until a month later. This helps give our clients some time to save up some money, and even allows the person who was bailed out to help.

Let Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino show you how easy it is to bail a friend out of jail. With our help, you and your friend will be able to put this whole situation behind you in no time at all. In fact, we can have some clients out of jail in as little as 2 hours in some California counties. To get started with rescuing your friend, just talk to one of our bail agents.


Our agents can be reached at any time by calling 866-736-6977 or clicking Chat With Us now.


What Can Be Done about Squatters in California?

squatter laws in california

It is no secret that the state of California has a bit of a problem when it comes to homelessness. In fact, California had an estimated 134,000 homeless individuals in the year of 2017. This is almost half of the homeless population in the entire United States. Needless to say, this is a big problem, and it is only causing more problems.

One such problem is that of squatters, which are people who unlawfully occupy uninhabited property or land. These people do not have the right to live on that property because it belongs to someone else, and yet they live their regardless of the fact. This can cause problems for the property owner, which can get worse the longer the squatters remain on the property.

What is Considered Criminal Trespassing?

Here in California, and the rest of the country, a person is not able to walk on privately owned land or building unless they have permission to do so. Entering into someone else’s property without permission is considered trespassing. California Penal Code 602 makes this a misdemeanor activity. This means that trespassing can earn a person one of the following:

  • A fine no larger than $1,000.
  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Some combination of fine and jail.

Trespassing is not something that is taken lightly here in California. While one would think dealing with squatters would be plain and simple, that is not the case.

Do Squatters Have Rights?

California has what is known as squatter’s rights. This is a term that terrifies and concerns many property owners. Squatters in California can earn rights through what is referred to as adverse possession. This is a legal term that can allow a trespasser to eventually gain control of someone else’s property, which is bad for the property’s owner.

Adverse possession basically states that if a squatter has been living on a piece of property long enough, and has made noticeable improvements on the land while paying the land’s property tax, then he or she has a reasonable claim for ownership of the land in question. For this to occur, the property owner has to be pretty unaware of what is going on with the property for a very long time.

For adverse possession to take effect, the squatter has to live on the land continuously for 5 years, all the will using the land and making improvements on it. Once that is done, the squatter will have the right to claim the property as their own in court.

The government allows adverse possession because it takes land that was unused, and develops it, making it useable, and taxable. The 5 year requirement is to give the property owner time to notice the problem and try to deal with it.

Dealing with Squatters

Unfortunately for property owners, dealing with squatters is not as simple as one would hope, even with California’s laws against trespassing. As far as the state law is concerned, a person who does not properly police and control their property, deserves to lose said property. This is why it is extremely important for a property owner to regularly inspect any property that they own, but do not currently use. They also need to make sure that are always paying their property taxes. Doing so will help them ensure that squatters do not reside there long enough to earn squatter’s rights, or achieve adverse possession.

Unfortunately, even after doing all of this, it can still be a lengthy legal process to remove squatters from a property, especially if they know about squatter’s rights. Skilled squatters are known to target abandoned properties and can often come up with official looking documents when confronted by police or other law officials. This can make them difficult to remove despite the fact that they are trespassing, however it is not impossible. A property owner just needs to be on top of the problem.

Do you know anyone who has issue with squatters? Can you remove squatters by force?

how to choose safe child care

Don’t Risk Your Child’s Safety

how to choose safe child care

Ask any parent what is the most important thing for them, and they will likely respond with their child’s safety. Pretty much all parents out there count their child’s well-being as the most important thing in the world. Despite this fact, there is a time when parents may throw their child’s safety to the wind, without them even realizing it.

When parents are hard pressed to be somewhere, they often look for someone to keep an eye on their kid. Sometimes this babysitter is a close friend or family member, other times it’s just a local babysitter. The idea of hiring a babysitter is to make it so that the child isn’t home alone and is kept safe.

Choosing a babysitter is a big deal when it isn’t someone you already know. There are some parents out there who don’t interview or screen potential sitters in any sort of way, which is risky. There have been far too many news stories out there of babysitters neglecting or abusing their charges. A parent cannot ignore this and needs to take the proper steps and precautions to ensure the safety of their child.

Hiring Someone Isn’t Easy

Most people do not hire other people on a daily basis which means that they really have no idea how to do it. Hiring someone can be very overwhelming if a person doesn’t know how to do it. When choosing a babysitter, a person is hiring someone to watch their kids. This should include a lot of questions and even an interview for each potential candidate.

Having an actual interview process will help ensure that a person gets the best possible babysitter for their family. It helps reduce the likelihood that a less than reliable babysitter will be hired, thereby ensuring the safety of the child.

Preparing for Interviews

Before a parent even starts conducting interviews, they should create a list for themselves. This list should contain certain qualities that they feel their sitter should have. This list can include things such as years of experience or CPR certified. Basically, this list contains whatever the parent wants their future babysitter to have.

Once that list is figured out, the parent can begin posting ads for a sitter along with the requirements they want. This will help filter some of the responses that will be received.

Since the hiring process is very serious business, a parent does not want to rush things. They should allow the ad to be up for several days, leaving ample time for candidates to respond to the listing. While the post is active, the parent can begin sifting through potential candidates for finalists who will get an actual interview. If for some reason one candidate doesn’t fit with the parent, they should send a simple no thank you message and move on with the process. No further explanation needs to be given.

Time for Interviews

After a few days, the parent can begin conducting phone interviews. This is the time when a parent should ask some of the more mundane questions, such as:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Birthday
  • Availability
  • Rates (Care.com has a calculator to help determine rates here.)
  • References

Arguably, one of the most important parts of this interview is the availability. If the sitter is not available when the parent needs them, then there is no point in going further with the interview. The next most important question would be their expected rates. If they want more than the parent can afford, than there is no reason to meet with the candidate in person.

For any candidate who won’t be a good fit, the parent should let that person know they will be hiring another sitter either over the phone, or through the application where the ad was posted. This is the courteous thing to do.

For the candidates that the parent liked, they should let that person know that they will be contacting any references that they offered and will get back to the person in a few days. Next, the parent needs to contact the references. Doing this will give the parent an additional bit of information from someone who has worked with the sitter before. This can help finalize the decision for the parent.
Once the parent has contacted all the references, they will be able to make an informed decision when picking a sitter. Once they have reached a decision, they should let the sitter know, and notify any other remaining candidates that the position has been filled.

A Very Important Decision

Hiring a babysitter is a very important decision for a parent. Picking the wrong person can risk the safety of their child, which is something no parent wants to do. That is why they have to take hiring one seriously. After all, this is the person the parent is entrusting with their child’s well-being.

leaving kids in car

Is It Legal to Break a Window to Save a Child or Pet from a Hot Car

leaving kids in car

Summer is in full swing. Not only does this mean that the kids are out of school for the season, but that temperatures are at their peak. Summer holds a number of problems for parents. Not only do they have to try to figure out what to do with their children while still managing their normal work schedule, they also have to make sure their kids keep cool.

Nobody likes being in the heat for prolonged periods, and young children are especially susceptible to high temperatures. Younger kids don’t know how to take care of themselves and have to rely on their parent’s judgement. This means that a parent should never leave their child unattended in a hot situation.

One particular situation that might seem obvious to some, but is still shocking to others, is leaving a child alone in a car on a hot day. Some parents still think that this is an acceptable thing to do, but that is not the case. Something as simple as this can turn dangerous, or even deadly, in minutes.

Cars Equal Ovens

While driving a vehicle on a summer day, people often have the air conditioner cranked to max. This fills the cars with cool, comfortable air while it is being driven. However, the minute the car is shut off, this cool air disappears. Some parents believe that this cool air will last for five minutes while they are in the store. Their kid should be fine in the car alone for just a few minutes, right? Wrong.

Cars are like giant, solar powered ovens. Many people got the unpleasant experience of going down a metal slide on a hot day as a kid. Just touching metal that has been in the sun for a little bit is unpleasant, try being inside of it. On top of that, the glass windows of cars act like magnifying glass and amplify the Sun’s rays. This, combined with the lack of air movement inside the vehicle creates an oven that even cracking the windows or parking in the shade can’t fix.

Cracking the windows just a little bit does not allow enough air movement to cool the car down. Anyone who has ever been stranded on the side of a desert road, will attest to the fact that even having the door fully open doesn’t allow enough air movement inside the vehicle. Parking in the shade may slow the process slightly, but the hot air surrounding the vehicle will still increase the interior temperature of the vehicle.

Most experts agree that once the outside temperatures reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it is too hot to leave anyone in a vehicle. At this temperature, the inside of a car can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. If the outside temperature is 80 degrees, then the inside temps can reach 100 in just 10 minutes.

Basically, don’t leave anyone, child or pets, unattended inside a vehicle in weather that is warmer than 70 degrees.

What to Do If You See This

Unfortunately, people still have a tendency to leave children, and pets, inside their vehicles while they make a “quick” trip into the store. An estimated 22 kids have died in 2018 after suffering from heatstroke caused by being left alone in a car. This causes many people to want to help out if they see a child, or even a pet, alone in vehicle on a hot day. However, this is a bit tricky in California.

Last year, in 2017, the state of California passed a law allows people to break into vehicles in order to save the life of an animal trapped inside. AB 797 amended California Civil Code and Penal Code to ensure that a person who damages and/or trespasses within a vehicle while not face any criminal charges if the damage and trespass occurred while rescuing an animal from the vehicle. The protections only occur if the breaking into the vehicle was a last resort and that other methods were not tried first. This means that before anyone springs into action, they should first call 911. The operator can send help and may be able to guide the person through some other ways of getting into the without causing large amounts of damage.

It is important to note that the law specifically states this only happens when the person is rescuing an animal, not a child. The law makes no mention of protection if the actions are done to save a child’s life. This means that legally, you cannot break into a car to save a child inside who is suffering from heat stroke. If you see a child alone in a vehicle on a hot day, alert the proper authorities immediately, and stay close to the vehicle to keep an eye on the situation.

Summer Heat Is Here to Stay

As the summer progresses with its intense heat, parents need to be aware that they should never leave their child, or pet, inside a vehicle on a hot day. Several kids have already died this year to heatstroke cause by doing this, which is something no parent wants to face. If the kids can’t be left at home, then they need to go into the store with their parent. Simple as that.

If a person comes across a vehicle in a parking lot with a pet locked inside on a hot day, he can break into the vehicle to rescue the animal. Provided he has tried every other option and has contacted the local authorities already. When it comes to finding a child in the same situation, legally, the person cannot break into the car. He should contact emergencies services and proceed from there. Once he has done that, his next move is up to him.

Should You Leave Your Child Home Alone?

leaving kids home alone

Summer is here, and for a lot of parents, it means their children are home for the summer. While kids love this time of year, it can be particularly stressful on the parents. This is due to the fact that, unfortunately for adults, they don’t get a summer break. Adults still have to go to work to earn enough money to provide for their families.

The decision to leave kids alone is a big one. It is not something that should be done lightly. Some kids can handle the freedom and responsibility of being home alone, while others cannot. It is up to the parent to determine if their child can handle being on their own for extended periods of time.

The parents will constantly be worried that something might go wrong. What if there is a fire? They can’t help out or protect their kid when they are at work. That is why it is important to teach kids about fire safety and establish rules and emergency plans for the kid to follow in the event that something happens.

How Young Is Too Young?

When determining how young is too young for a child to be left alone, there is no definitive answer. It has to be determined on a case by case basis. Some kids mature faster than others, which leads to some being ready to be left alone earlier. In some states, there are age limits for how old a child needs to be in order to be left alone. In the state of California, there is no age restriction. Parents will have to use their best judgement to determine if a child is mature enough to be left alone.

While there isn’t a definitive answer, there are some recommended guidelines. Typically, children under the age are not capable of judging cause and effect, which can lead to bad decision making. It is recommended that no child under the age of 7 be left alone.

For ages 7 through 10, kids typically can’t watch over themselves for extended periods of time. However, they can be left home alone for short periods of time. Around the age of 12 is when kids usually become mature enough to be left alone for extended periods, though not overnight.

Teach Your Kids

If you have to leave a child home alone, make sure that he or she understands several things. Parents should create rules and make sure the kids understand the consequences of breaking those rules. For instance:

  • Young children should not answer the door when they are home alone.
  • Kids shouldn’t answer the phone when alone.
  • Children should stay within the house when they are by themselves.
  • Children should never use the oven by themselves.
  • Especially for young kids, they should not use sharp knives or scissors without adult supervision.
  • Kids should know to never play with matches.
  • They also should never mess around with electronics, such as taking apart a wall socket.

On top of that, it is important to teach the child about what to do is something goes wrong when they are by themselves.

  • They should know where the first aid kit is.
  • They need to know who to call if something bad happens, such as a parent, a trusted neighbor, or even the authorities.
  • Lastly, there should be an evacuation plan in place for the children in the event that there is a fire.
  • Kids should know to stay low to the ground in the event of a fire to avoid excess smoke inhalation.
  • They should know to get under a sturdy piece of furniture in the event of an emergency.

Giving children this knowledge should help keep them safe when they are by themselves. It will also help keep them safe in case an emergency occurs.

What Happens if Something Goes Wrong

Hopefully, nothing ever goes wrong, but that is not always the case. If something goes wrong, the parent will be responsible for the child and any damages. This is on top of any injuries the child might have sustained. This is every parent’s worst nightmare, which is why it is important to carefully consider whether or not a child should be left alone. The wrong decision could have extreme consequences.

Of course, this is all dependent on the child. Some kids mature faster than others and are capable of being left alone at an earlier age. A parent needs to know their child, and teach him or her how to properly behave when home alone. This can drastically reduce the chances of something going wrong while the parent is away at work this summer.

spying vs stalking california laws

How to Deal With Nosy Neighbors

spying vs stalking california laws

Everybody likes their family and friends. These are the people that the person has hand-selected to be in their life. These are the people we like most, however, they are not typically the people one lives closest to. Those people are called neighbors, and no one gets to pick who their neighbors are. This tends to lead to a bit of conflict.

Neighbors don’t always get along with one another since they tend to be very different people. Due to those differences, some neighbors may become suspicious of one another, which can lead to snooping. Seeing your neighbor snoop through your garbage, or spy on you from their window across the street can be a bit disturbing.

Many people have questions about what is and aren’t okay when it comes to their neighbors. Where is the line between snooping, and stalking?

What Is Considered Stalking

California is considered to have the toughest stalking laws in the country. A person is considered stalking when they willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harass a person while causing fear for life or family.

Examples of stalking can include:

  • Threatening to make an ex’s life hell after a break up.
  • Repeatedly following a person home and making threats to him or her.
  • Sending multiple flowers and/or gifts to an acquaintance and demanding that the love be returned and threatening that there will be consequences if it isn’t.
  • Continually harassing a person to the point that he or she fears for their safety, or that of their loved ones

Basically, any repeated threatening act that can cause a person to fear for their own safety, or the safety of the people they care about, can be considered stalking within the state of California. The penalties for stalking can vary from case to case. The crime is considered a wobbler, which means it can be charged either as a misdemeanor, or as a felony.

As a misdemeanor, a person can face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A fine no larger than $1,000.
  • Some combination of a fine and jail time.

These penalties are not very strict, but as a felony, a person can face up to 5 years in a state prison. The person could also be required to register as a sex offender.

Based on this definition of stalking, unless a person fears for their safety based off of a nosy neighbors actions, it’s not likely that the neighbor is guilty of stalking.

Are There Laws Against Spying?

Here in California, there are two laws that are considered “Peeping Tom laws.” These laws make it illegal for a person to spy on, or take pictures or videos of, another individual who is someplace where they could reasonably expect privacy.

These two laws are:

  • Penal Code 647(i): peeking while loitering.
  • Penal Code 647(j): invasion of privacy.

Penal Code 647(i) is the law that criminalizes the stereotypical Peeping Tom scenario. This makes it illegal for a person to peek into an inhabited house while loitering on private property. In other words, it makes it illegal to sneak onto somebody else’s property without permission to watch them in their home.

Penal Code 647(j) covers three different aspects of invading someone’s privacy.

These aspects are:

  • Using a device, such as binoculars, to invade a person’s privacy. This can include using a device to look into someone else’s home.
  • Secretly filming or photographing a person’s body under their clothes for sexual purposes.
  • Secretly filming or photographing a person in a private room in order to view their body or undergarments. This can include their home, public restrooms, and public changing rooms at stores.
  • Both of these crimes are considered misdemeanors in California, which means that a person can face up to a year in jail, and fine no larger than $1,000.

What about Neighbors Rummaging Through My Trash?

This is something that some neighbors do, and upsets a lot of people. Many believe that this is an infringement on their 4th Amendment rights, which protects them from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, this is not the case.

In the Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood, 486 U.S. 35(1988), the Court ruled that the 4th Amendment does not cover the search and seizure of garbage, as it is just that. By placing something in the trash and setting the trash out on a curb, or wherever the trash can goes to get picked up, the person has relinquished their ownership of the items within the trash receptacle.

Plus, the 4th Amendment only protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures performed by the government, not private individuals. This all means that it is okay for a nosy neighbor to go through another person’s garbage, even if it is a bit creepy.

When should I Contact the Police Then?

When it comes to contacting the police about nosy neighbors, the right time is up to the individual. In most cases, the police will only concern themselves with the problem if a person feels unsafe because of the neighbor’s actions. The best thing to do in these kind of situations, is try talking to the neighbor first, if that can be done safely.

If that cannot be done, then consider contacting the police, but do so in a calm way. Don’t call 911, unless it is an actual emergency. Instead find the local stations number contact it that way. This way emergency lines are not tied up, and the person may be able to get helpful insight from an officer who is more acquainted with the laws of the area.

A person rarely gets to pick their neighbors, which can lead to conflict. However, it is important for an individual to try to remain on friendly terms with their neighbors. After all, these are the people they will likely be living next to for a while.

celebrating fourth of july safely

How to Celebrate the Fourth of July in California

celebrating fourth of july safely

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many people are getting ready for quite a show. Everyone knows that America’s Independence Day is celebrated with fireworks. These colorful controlled explosives will be lighting up the night and filling the air with a never ending sound of thunder. A good Fourth of July fireworks show is quite a sight to behold.

There are thousands of options to choose from when it comes to seeing a fireworks display, many Americans prefer to put on their own show. Not only does this let them control the action, it lets them be a part of everything.

While this sounds great, it can also be dangerous. Thousands of homes are set on fire every year by personal fireworks. This has led to some state being more restrictive with fireworks than others. California is definitely one of the stricter states, and for arguably good reasons.

The Laws and Why They Exist

As a state that is famous for getting multiple wildfires a year, it is understandable why there are some regulations against fireworks. As fun as fireworks are, they are still explosives with the potential to be dangerous. It is very easy for someone to injure themselves, another person, or cause a fire with fireworks. In order to reduce all of those risks, the state of California tightly regulates fireworks.

Within the state of California, all fireworks are classified into one of two groups:

  • Safe and sane
  • Dangerous

Safe and sane fireworks can be used by any legal adult, provided it is permitted in the city or area. Many places in California have outlawed the use or sale of state approved fireworks in order to prevent fires caused reckless use of the explosives.

All safe and sane fireworks will come with a seal from the office of the California State Fire Marshall showing that they are permitted for public use. Due to state law, these kinds of fireworks can only be purchased from June 28th to July 6th from a stationary vendor. After that set timeframe, all public fireworks sales within the state come to a halt. This is due to a state law which limits the sale of safe and sane fireworks.

Dangerous fireworks cannot be sold to the general public. These are the kind of fireworks that one would see if they went to a professional fireworks display. Only licensed professionals are allowed to purchase, transport, and set of these kinds of fireworks within the state of California.

Breaking most fireworks safety laws can result in a misdemeanor charge. The penalties can include:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • A maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Some combination of the two.

How to Handle Fireworks Safely

One should never forget that fireworks can be dangerous if misused or handled improperly. A person needs to be very responsible when using fireworks, which is why only legal adults are allowed to use dangerous fireworks. In order to buy or use any safe and sane fireworks, that’s anything one could buy from a fireworks stand, a person has to be over the age of 16. Giving a minor under the age of 16 fireworks is illegal, and can result in a misdemeanor charge.

When it comes to setting off fireworks, there are a few things that a person should always do to ensure everyone’s safety.

  • Have a bucket of water close by to dispose of used fireworks. By soaking the fireworks after use, they are prevented from going off again if they were not finished.
  • Always have a hose connected to a water source ready to go in case of a fire. Hopefully this won’t be needed, but just in case.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at people. They are explosives and they can hurt someone.
  • Never use fireworks near dry grass or other flammable materials. These can easily alight and start to burn out of control.
  • Never use fireworks under a roof. The roof can be manmade, or a natural one such as under a tree.
  • If a firework is a dud, do not attempt to fix it or set it off again. Doing so is an easy way to have a firework explode in someone’s face.
  • Always be aware of local laws. Fireworks laws frequently vary by community, so a person will need to do some research before setting off any fireworks.

Pets and Fireworks

While we humans love to watch fireworks and listen to them explode, our pets don’t really enjoy them. Pets don’t understand fireworks very well, and as such, some can get very frightened by the loud explosions and the bright colored lights. It is important to remember this, and consider a pet’s needs this Fourth of July.

For dogs, prep work can start earlier in the day. Take dog for a long walk so they will have less energy to devote to being scared that evening. On top of that, create a safe space for pets that is away from windows so that the pet has a nice, comforting place to sleep. Close blinds and curtains while leaving lights and a radio or TV on. This will help keep out flashing lights and help muffle the sounds of the explosions. If the pet has to stay outside, double check that all gates and the fence are secure.

Lastly, try to keep the pet distracted with toys and treats, and don’t make a big deal about the fireworks going off. Doing so could reinforce the scared behavior and make things worse.

Happy Fourth of July!

The Fourth of July is meant to be a fun holiday, and it truly can be. Just be sure to follow the laws and keep everyone happy and safe. This includes pets, of course. After all, nobody wants to end up on the news because they set someone’s house on fire.
Happy Independence Day everyone!

secret home video surveillance laws

What’s Legal and What’s Not When Placing Hidden Cameras in Your Home

secret home video surveillance laws

The Fourth Amendment was designed to protect people while they were in the comfort of their own home. It prevents law enforcement from entering the home without a warrant. The problem with the Fourth Amendment was that it was written and signed into law long before secret video surveillance was even possible.

Many people believe that the secret home video surveillance is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, however courts across the country disagree. They feel that if an undercover agent is invited into a person’s home, even if they don’t have a warrant, they’re allowed to use a hidden camera to videotape what is located in the house and what activities are currently taking place within the home.

Whenever the topic of secret home video surveillance and the Fourth Amendment come up, prosecutors refer back to a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, Hoffa v. U.S. In that particular case, the Supreme Court justices ruled against Hoffa, stating that just because the incriminating data had been gathered by an undercover officer without Hoffa’s knowledge, it didn’t mean the evidence wasn’t admissible in court.

Another example of when the courts felt that secret home video surveillance didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment was when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched an investigation against Ricky Wahchumwah. The agency suspected that Wahchumwah was illegally poaching and selling eagles and various eagle parts. The agency assigned a special agent to the case. He approached Wahchumwah and struck up a relationship with the suspected poacher, claiming that they shared an interest in eagles. The special agent even went as far as purchasing eagle wings from Wahchumwah, something that was very illegal.

Later, when the special agent visited Wahchumwah in the suspect’s house, he had a video recording unit hidden on his body. The agent used the video recorder to keep a record of everything that was in Wahchumwah’s house, including a notebook that contained detailed information about previous sales. The Fish and Wildlife Service used the video as grounds to obtain a warrant to search Wahchumwah’s property. The video, combined with other evidence they uncovered during the search, was enough to get an arrest warrant.

Wahchumwah was found guilty of violating the Lacey Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. He appealed the conviction and brought it to the Supreme Court who ruled that the since Wahchumwah knowingly revealed the information that was used to obtain the search warrant, the Fourth Amendment wasn’t violated.

Today, law enforcement agencies through California use secret home video footage to obtain information about drug, gang, and even fraud related cases.

Can the Police bug your house? Do they have the right to do it?

First, a court order is required to enter a home and install a listening device. The Court will only issue such an order if a law enforcement officer, under oath, swears there is probable cause (meaning a reason to believe) that someone is committing or about to commit a serious crime inside the house, that particular communications concerning that offense will be obtained through intercepting the conversations, and that agents have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain information concerning such criminal activity through other means –or that it would be too dangerous to try. If the agents and prosecutor persuade the judge to authorize the placement of a listening device in the home, it will only be for thirty days unless the judge extends it.

Conversations that do not involve criminal activity should not be recorded or listened to once their non-criminal nature is determined. Progress reports should be filed with the Court periodically so the Judge can assess whether the goals of the investigation are being met by the interceptions. Bedrooms and bathrooms are rarely bugged due to the obvious enhanced privacy interests in such rooms. And finally, some of the above may not apply in the case of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which establishes procedures for electronic surveillance of foreign agents.

Is it ok to record conversations with a hidden audio device?

The laws on audio surveillance are a bit clearer than the laws governing hidden camera surveillance. If you’re planning to record a telephone call or an in-person conversation (using either a standalone audio recorder or a video camera that also captures sound), federal and state laws require that at least one of the parties consent to the recording. Currently, a majority of states allow “one-party consent.” States that require two-party consent include California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. (Hawaii is something of a hybrid state. It allows one-party consent for audio recordings, but it requires two-party consent if the recording device is located in a “private place.”)

Today, law enforcement agencies through California use secret home video footage to obtain information about drug, gang, and even fraud related cases. Do you know if someone has installed a secret surveillance camera in your house? Do you notice something unusual?

protecting your home while on vacation

How Safe Is Your Home While On Vacation

protecting your home while on vacation

Going on vacation is lots of fun but coming home and finding out that your house has been broken into isn’t. There are several things you can do to keep your home safe while you’re having a good time.

Talk to Your Neighbors/Friends

An abandoned house is one that attracts burglars. You want there to be some activity in your home while you’re vacationing. One of the simplest ways to do this is having a friends and neighbors pull into your driveway a few times a day. Other good solutions is hiring a house sitter, a pet sitter who stays in your home. If you can’t arrange from someone to come to your home while you’re gone, set some of your lights on timers. It’s best if the lights come on and go off at random times which gives the impression of a person moving around the house.

Stop Your Mail and Paper

Talk to both the post office and your newspaper company and have all deliveries stopped. A bunch of papers and an overflowing mailbox is one of the first things burglars are looking for when they drive through a neighborhood looking for a likely target. You should also make sure that you’re not going to get any packages delivered while you’re gone.

Restrict Your Social Media Posts

The biggest mistakes that many people make when they’re going on vacation is announcing their plans. This is a horrible idea. It’s impossible to know who is and isn’t monitoring your social media posts. By saying you are leaving on vacation, burglars know that your home is standing empty. Not only should you not post that you’re leaving, but you should also restrain yourself from posting vacation pictures until you’re back home. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to hold onto a few photos that have been taken at our home and posting those while you’re away.

Boost Your Home Security

Don’t leave your home vulnerable when you take off on vacation. Before leaving home you should go through your home and make sure it’s secure. This is the time to make sure that all your windows are closed and locked. If the locks look worn or damaged, it’s time to get a locksmith into to repair or replace them.

Don’t forget to move any hidden keys to a more secure location before you leave on vacation.

Once you know that your home is safe, you’re free to sit back and really enjoy your vacation.

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What is Megan’s Law

what is megans law

Way back in 1995, New Jersey became the first state to enact Megan’s Law, which requires that law enforcement authorities notify any community that a convicted sex offender has moved into the area. In short, it was the law that first created the sex offenders’ registry. In California you can search if a sex offender lives near your area by going to MeagansLaw.com. This website provides information on registered sex offenders pursuant to California Penal Code § 290.46 so that members of the public can better protect themselves and their families.

The History Behind Megan’s Law

The law was named in honor of Megan Kanka, a young girl who was raped and then murdered by a person who’d been previously convicted of sex crimes. The logic behind the law is that had Megan’s parents known that a dangerous sex offender was living in the area, they would have been able to take steps that would have kept their little girl safe.

Shortly after New Jersey implemented the law, the federal government took steps that required every single state enforce their own version of Megan’s Law, however it’s important to understand that each state, including California, has its own version of Megan’s Law.

California’s Take on Megan’s Law

Megan’s Law has been in effect in the State of California since 1996.

In California, Penal Code S 290.46 deals with the ins and outs of Megan’s Law. When an individual with a sex offender history is released from prison, information about them and their crime is entered into the California Sex and Arson Registry (CSAR.) This information is than passed onto local law enforcement agencies.

If a person is required to provide their information to CSAR and fails to do so in a timely manner, a judge can order them to pay a fine that doesn’t exceed $1,000 and sentence them to as much as six months in jail.

Misusing Megan’s Law

The great thing about California is that they have steps in place to deal with individuals who misuse Megan’s Law, either for their own advantage, or to unjustly diminish the quality of life of a registered sex offender. California’s law clearly states that the information provided on the CSAR can only be used to help a person protect themselves and their family from a perceived threat. It can’t be used to bully or threaten an individual who has served out their initial sentence.

No one can use the CSAR to withhold basic needs such as:

  • Credit/Loans
  • Employment opportunities and benefits that accompany the employment opportunity
  • Health and other types of insurance
  • Educational opportunities
  • Housing

If a person is caught using the information on CASR for anything other then protecting themselves from a sex offender, they face misdemeanor charges that can include a $250 fine. The person who suffered as a result of the misuse of Megan’s Law can file civil charges against the person who misused the law and potentially collect a $25,000 settlement.