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Do Not Consent to a Police Search

Did you know that police officers cannot search your car without a warrant stating probable cause?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that we have the right to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This includes police conducting searches of your vehicle without the proper legal work. However, once you verbally consent to a police search, any evidence found may be used against you in a court of law. So if you consent and the officer finds illegal substances in your car, then this can and will be used against you during trial. For example, if you were pulled over for speeding and the officer asks to search your car and you consent, you will be charged for the cocaine you’re keeping hidden in your trunk—regardless if the initial crime was speeding. If you don’t consent and the police officers search your car anyways, it is considered an “unreasonable search and seizure.”

So, what exactly constitutes something as an “unreasonable search and seizure?”
An unreasonable search and seizure is defined by th law as “a search and seizure by a law enforcement officer without a search warrant and without probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is present.”
There are two important things here to note: (1) without a search warrant and (2) without probable cause.
As mentioned above, it is unconstitutional to search a car without a warrant—a legal document authorizing a police officer or other official to enter and search premises—stating probable cause. Unfortunately, the 4th Amendment, only states that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause”, but fails to specify what “probable cause” actually means. Although the Supreme Court has attempted to precisely define “probable cause,” it has come to been understood generally as “a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed (for an arrest) or when evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched (for a search).”

Despite the murky circumstances that constitute “probable cause,” a physical warrant needs to be presented to you before a police officer can legally search your car—so if an officer asks you if you are granting them to search your car without a warrant, just say NO.

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California Gun Laws V. Federal Gun Laws

Did you know that state gun laws usually differ from federal gun laws?
Before you purchase firearms, it is important to note that state laws may differ from the federal laws—especially in California, where the Golden State’s many restrictions makes it one of the strictest in the nation.
These are the ways that California’s gun laws differ from federal gun laws:

Waiting Period: Under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a dealer may transfer a firearm to you as soon as you pass a background check—which can take minutes. Although there is no federal waiting period, under California law, you must wait ten days before a firearm can be released to you.

Assault Weapons Ban: It is important to note that although not legal under federal law, you cannot possess certain AR-15 rifles with “bullet buttons” in the state of California and must have them modified.
There are 3 categories of assault weapons under California law:
Category One: Firearms specified on the original Roberti-Roos assault weapons list.
Category Two: Firearms specified on the AK and AR-15 series weapons listing.
Category Three:
Firearms defined as assault weapons based on specific generic characteristics, often called “SB 23 assault weapons.”
Firearms that do not have a fixed magazine, including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool.

Purchase Limit: Federal law does not limit the number of guns you can buy in any given time. California law, on the otherhand, prohibits you from purchasing more than one gun in a 30-day period—unless under special circumstances. However, there is no limit on the number of rifles and handguns that can be purchased.

Permit: Although neither federal law nor California law requires you to obtain a permit to purchase a firearm, you must pass a Firearm Safety Certificate test prior to the purchase.

Registration of Firearms
: Federal law does require you to register your firearms; however, new California residents must report their ownership of firearms to the DOJ or sell/transfer them within 60 days.

Permit to Carry Concealed Weapons in Public: California requires you to obtain a permit issued by a sheriff or police chief in order to carry a weapon—except, in “off limits” areas. There must be a reason — usually self defense—and the person must be of “good moral character.” As a “May Issue” state the issuance of a permit is left entirely up to the discretion of the local sheriff: some counties, including Los Angeles, refuse to issue permits. Regardless, a permit issued in one jurisdiction allows you to carry a gun anywhere in the state. However, a concealed carry permit issued in a different state will not be honored in California.

Purchasing and Possessing A Firearm: Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by people who fall within certain categories, such as: convicted felons, domestic abusers, illegal drug addicts or abusers, people with specific kinds of mental health histories, undocumented immigrants, dishonorably discharged service members, and people with restraining orders. In addition to federal law, California prohibits those convicted of violent or gun-related misdemeanors and those deemed by the court to be a danger to oneself or others.

If you do not fall under any of the aforementioned categories and are not barred from purchasing a firearm, you must know that all of your firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) process. This varies from federal law which states: A transaction between unlicensed private parties in the same state does not require record-keeping. A transaction between unlicensed private parties in different states require transfer to a federal firearms licensee in the buyer’s state.

Possession of Large Capacity Magazines: Despite being legal under federal law, California bans the sale or manufacture of ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 cartridges or rounds. However, continued possession of large-capacity magazines that you owned in California prior to January 1, 2000, is legal provided you are not otherwise prohibited. A person prohibited from possessing firearms is also prohibited from owning or possessing any magazines or ammunition.

Be a smart firearm owner and be aware of your state’s gun laws—ESPECIALLY in stricter states, such as California. You do not want to be on the wrong side of the law for simply not being aware of the rules.

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New Laws to be Aware of in 2018

Did you know that state and federal laws are added, revised, or overturned yearly? Being knowledgeable about changes taking place in the legal system can be extremely helpful in knowing whether or not your actions are criminal or not. Since January there have been hundred of new laws added, including new controls on concealed weapons, unprecedented state protections for those in the U.S. illegally, an increase in the minimum wage,and legal sales of recreational marijuana.
If you a resident of California, here are 5 law revisions/additions you should be aware of in 2018:
1. No concealed weapons on campus.
In light of recent school shootings, California has toughened up on gun regulations. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law removing the rights of school administrators to decide whether employees with concealed weapon permits can bring guns on campus. Although state law already prohibited civilians who are not school workers from bringing firearms onto campuses, a change in the law last year gave school district superintendents power to decide if employees could bring concealed weapons onto campuses. If you currently an employee in any California school district, you are NOT allowed to bring a conceal weapon on campus.
2. No juvenile offenders have to serve life without parole and those already behind bars would become eligible for release after 25 years.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed nine bills to aid young people facing charges and serving time. These new laws will include parole opportunities and ease punishment for people who committed crimes as children or teens. They will allow courts to seal certain juvenile records and limit the administrative fees that counties charge families with children in juvenile detention. If you would like an inquiry on these changes, contact RP Defense Law at (818) 646-3443.
3. No more jaywalking tickets can be issued for stepping into a crosswalk after the flashing signal begins.
Prior to 2018, if you began to cross the street after the countdown began, you were at risk of a hefty fine—according to section 21456(b) of the California Vehicle Code. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to amend the code. AB 390: making it legal for a pedestrian to enter a crosswalk during a countdown signal if there is sufficient time to reasonably complete the crossing safely. This law has been in effect since January 1, 2018.
4. Employers banned from asking criminal history on applications.
This new law bans employers, state agencies, and public utilities with five or more workers from including, on any application, any questions about an applicant’s conviction history. Employers are not to consider a person’s criminal background until the applicant has received an offer. And if an employer then decides to take back the offer, the employer is required to notify the applicant in writing, with specific information, as to why the offer is being rescinded. Applicant is allowed to challenge, and the employer is required to review that challenge.
5. Advancement of work site immigration protections and enforcements.
Are you undocumented and fear of getting arrested on the job? Bill no. 450 now protects workers from immigration enforcement while on the job. An employer or someone acting on behalf of an employer is not allowed to let an immigration agent enter non-public areas of a work place unless the agent has a warrant. Public and private employers can face fines up to $10,000 for each violations.