Criminal Charges Vs. Civil Charges

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One of the things that makes the American legal system confusing is that we have both criminal charges and civil charges.

Criminal charges are a straightforward part of the legal process. If you break the law, you’re arrested and criminal charges are filed against you. You have the option of pleading guilty to these charges. If you don’t plead guilty, the case goes to trial and a jury will decide if you’re guilty.

Civil charges are more complicated. Civil charges involve the victims of the crime. The civil court provides victims with an opportunity to do two things. First, they can face the person who they believe impacted the quality of their life. The second thing civil charges do is provide the victims with an opportunity to seek financial retribution.

If you’re unlucky enough ...

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What Happens If I Make A Fake Or Prank 911 Call

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Making a fake or prank phone call to 911 might seem like good fun but it’s not something you want to follow through with. Neither law enforcement offices nor court officials have a sense of humor.

To put it simply, making fake or prank 911 calls is illegal. In some situations, that single phone call could even result in felony charges.

The best way to learn just how much trouble making a fake or prank 911 call can land you in is by setting aside a few minutes to read California’s Penal Code 148.3. When you do, you’ll learn that you can’t:

  • Call 911 and make a fake report of a crime, injury, or accident.
  • Make a 911 call that results in the dispatcher or a law enforcement making a 911 report.
  • Use 911 to report a fictional emergency.
  • Call 911 and make a report that you know...
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Disorderly Conduct In California

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One of the problems with California’s legal system is that sometimes it’s difficult to know that you’re breaking the law. In many disorderly conduct cases, people think they’re just having a good time or being opinionated until the police show up. Sometimes people don’t even know what they’ve done until they hear the charges as the booking officer works through the paperwork.

What is considered disorderly conduct can vary from one state to another. Some cities even have different rules regarding what is and isn’t disorderly conduct.

In California, disorderly conduct is generally considered behavior that irritates, stresses, or alarms those around you. That doesn’t mean your little sister can file disorderly conduct charges against you each time you annoy her while you’re at ...

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Understanding Slander In California

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Most Americans know that the First Amendment grants the right to free speech. The problem that many of us encounter is we don’t fully grasp the differences between free speech and slander.

What Is Free Speech?

Many of us interpret the First Amendment to mean that we’re free to say whatever we want, to whomever we want, and whenever we want. That’s not the way free speech works. The purpose of free speech is to provide Americans with the ability to openly speak against the government without fear of legal ramifications.

What freedom of speech doesn’t do is allow you to say whatever you want about neighbors, family, and businesses you don’t like.

What Is Slander?

The legal definition of slander is, oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about anothe...

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Understanding Assault With A Deadly Weapon

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Assault with a deadly weapon is basically what it sounds like. It means you are accused of assaulting someone and at the time you had something that could have been considered a deadly weapon. Like most legal issues, assault with a deadly weapon isn’t as simple as we would like it to be.

What Is A Deadly Weapon?

The first issue that comes up during assault with deadly weapon trials is if the object was deadly. Most of us hear deadly weapons and we instantly think of things like guns and knives. We don’t usually realize that many of the things that are simply laying around your house could be considered a deadly weapon in the right situation. In the heat of the moment, a shoe, pen, heavy beer bottle, or dog leash could become a deadly weapon...

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When Does A Prank Go Too Far?

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Most of us have been involved in pranks, both as the person pulling the prank on another and as someone who has been pranked. In most cases, the pranks are fun and no one is emotionally or physically hurt, but there is always an exception.

The best indicator that a prank has gone too far is when the police has gotten involved. In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter if you were pulling a prank or if you deliberately set about to hurt someone. If a law was broken, you could end up in jail.

Most pranks attract legal attention because someone has gotten seriously hurt or property was damaged during the prank.

Here is a small sample of the type of pranks that could potentially get you into hot legal water.

Making Prank Calls

Prank calls seem harmless...

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Think Twice Before Making A Prank Call

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When you’re the person making prank calls, it is a lot of fun, but you should know that each time you make one of those calls, you’re breaking California’s Penal Code 653m PC. This code also includes prank text messages and emails.

The problem with prank calls is that while you’re having a great time, the person on the other end isn’t. Having to deal with threatening and/or annoying calls is very stressful which is why the lawmakers got into the action. Don’t assume that your prank calls will simply get you a slap on the wrist. If the prosecutor decides to pursue the case and a jury finds you guilty, you’ll go through life with a misdemeanor on your record and could spend time in a county jail cell.

What Types of Call Violate Penal Code 653m PC

Most people assume that the on...

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What Happens If You’re A Drunk Passenger In A Car Driven By A Drunk Driver?

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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...

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The Difference Between Manslaughter And Involuntary Manslaughter

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

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

What Is Manslaughter?

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

You didn’t plan on murdering the person and their actions provoked the attack, but at the ...

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

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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...

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