About Robin Sandoval


Robin Sandoval is a California Licensed Bail Bondsman and owner of SCV Bail Bonds. Robin writes blogs and articles to help increase community awareness of the bail industry. If you have questions or want to suggest a topic, email robin@scvbailbonds.com, visit www.scvbailbonds.com or call 661-299-2245.

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Avoiding ‘Petty Theft’ from Your Automobile

| Canyon Country Magazine | 1 hour ago

Over the past month or so, Canyon Country has seen a spate of petty thefts occur at various dates and times around the city.

Petty theft is covered under California Penal Codes 484(a) and 488 PC and is described as the unlawful taking of property worth $950 or less. If something is stolen worth more than $950, it’s usually charged under a different law — PC 487 — California’s grand theft law.

A few of these thefts happen when thieves simply open unlocked cars and steal items that are inside. Crimes like this are pretty common and are usually the result of opportunity just “presenting itself.” To thieves, it’s much easier and less conspicuous to open an unlocked car, grab any valuables inside and walk away than it is to smash a window or be seen struggling with a door lock. That being the case, would-be thieves are known to actively search neighborhoods and parking lots for cars with open windows or doors they can easily get into.

Locking your doors when you leave your vehicle may seem obvious, and to most folks it is, but it’s something that can easily be forgotten when you’re in a hurry or your mind is preoccupied.

To reduce the chance of falling victim to petty theft from your vehicle, make sure you always double check that your car doors are locked when you leave, park in well-lit areas at night, alarm your car, and try not to leave anything visible in your vehicle. CDs, sunglasses, shoes — it doesn’t matter. If you leave something of value in your vehicle in plain sight with the door unlocked, you’re leaving yourself at significant risk.

If you have questions about any Canyon Country bail related subject, or if you want to suggest a topic, visit Robin at www.santaclaritabond.com or call 661-2299-BOND(2663).

Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC – Felony Reckless Evading

| Police Blotter | July 21, 2017

If you’ve lived in Southern California for any length of time, you’ve probably seen at least one of the many car chases that occur relatively regularly in the L.A. area shown on television. If, for some reason, you haven’t seen one, you’re not missing much and they’re more or less all the same.

They typically begin with a police officer attempting to pull the driver over for a routine traffic stop. The driver, for whatever reason (warrants, possession of a controlled substance, unpaid parking tickets, etc.), chooses to try and escape the police by speeding off. They then lead the police on a high-speed chase down the freeway or through the city until they are inevitably caught.

Once in custody, the suspect will be charged with at least one of three offenses, depending on the nature of their flight from police and what happened during the pursuit.

The first offense is California Vehicle Code 2800.1 — evading an officer. The charge of 2800.1 VC is described as someone fleeing from a law enforcement officer in a car or on a bicycle who is pursuing them. For example, suppose a police officer uses the lights and siren to pull over a minivan on a residential street. The driver of that van has a suspended driver’s license and doesn’t want to get caught. Therefore, instead of pulling over, the driver leads the police officer on a pursuit through the residential neighborhood.

As far as 2800.1 VC goes, it is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of summary probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 and impounding of the vehicle.

If, in an effort to evade police, the individual drives in a manner that is dangerous and/or reckless, they will probably be charged with California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC — felony reckless evading. Felony reckless evading is a “wobbler” and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor penalties include at least six months and no more than one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Felony convictions carry the possible penalties of 16 months to three years in California state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Finally, if someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of the suspect allegedly evading an officer (whether they drove recklessly or not is irrelevant), the driver will likely be charged with violating California Vehicle Code 2800.3 VC – evading an officer causing injury or death. If during the evasion someone is injured (and nobody is killed), then 2800.3 VC is a “wobbler.” Misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in county jail, while felony penalties include 3-7 years in California state prison. If someone is killed, then 2800.3 VC is always charged as a felony and carries the possible sentence of 4-10 years in California state prison.

All potential penalties of 2800.3 VC, whether misdemeanor or felony, include a fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $10,000.


Drunk in Public – California Penal Code 647(f)PC

| Police Blotter | July 13, 2017

Recently, actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested in Georgia after a drunken altercation with bystanders and police. According to witnesses, the actor asked someone nearby if he could bum a cigarette. The bystander said no, and LaBeouf responded by verbally assaulting them. Police were called and officers told the actor to leave the premises, but LaBeouf declined and turned his profanity-laced tirade against them instead.

The incident was recorded on a responding officer’s body cam, and it clearly shows LaBeouf acting belligerently to both police and bystanders and shouting profanities. He was booked on charges of public drunkenness and may be facing additional charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction.

Drunk in public is illegal pretty much everywhere in the United States, including California where it is covered under California Penal Code 647(f) PC. It has a somewhat misleading name, as it is not in and of itself a crime to be drunk in a public place in California. To be charged with violating this law, an individual must meet one of two criteria:

They must demonstrate they are unable to care for the safety of themselves or others, or

The individual must obstruct, interfere with, or prevent others from using “public ways” such as streets and sidewalks

The first of these criteria is pretty open-ended, and yet neither of them expressly states the B.A.C. required to be “drunk.” That being the case, a person who is drunk in a public space, even drunk enough to pass out, is not necessarily going to be found guilty of violating 647(f) PC. It also means that a person who isn’t all that drunk could be charged with a violation — it all depends on the behavior one exhibits while in public after consuming alcohol.

Penal Code 647(f) PC is a misdemeanor in California, with the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Illegal Street Racing – A Dangerous Activity

| Police Blotter | July 6, 2017

A countywide crackdown on illegal street racing has led to the detainment of seven drivers and citation of 102 spectators on Thursday, June 29. The bust occurred in an industrial complex near Witherspoon and Avenue Penn in Castaic. The industrial park is a popular location for late-night, illegal street racing competitions, as it tends to empty out pretty quickly once workers leave.

California Vehicle Code 23109 makes “speed contests” and “exhibitions of speed” illegal on California’s public roads and highways. Per VC 23109(a), a “speed contest” is defined as a motor vehicle racing against another vehicle, clock, or other timing devices. An “exhibition of speed” is defined as accelerating or driving at a rate of speed which is dangerous and unsafe in order to impress someone else. These definitions imply that someone could be in violation of the law even if they’re driving alone and are not racing against someone else.

Excluded from the law are events where people measure the amount of time it takes for a vehicle to cover a distance longer than 20 miles where the vehicle does not exceed the local speed limit.

Not only does VC 23109 make it illegal to participate in speed contests and exhibitions of speed, but it also makes it illegal to “aid and abet” them. California Vehicle Code section 23109(b) and 23109(c) make it a crime to participate in one of the above scenarios by timing the race or erecting barriers to allow the race to occur.

Violations of VC 23109 are usually charged as misdemeanors, and the possible penalties include summary probation, a fine between $355 and $1,000, 40 hours of community service and/or the suspension or restriction of the defendant’s driver’s license from 90 days to six months.

For those with prior convictions under VC 23109, the potential penalties are enhanced to include four days to six months in county jail, a fine between $500 and $1,000 and a mandatory suspension or restriction of the defendant’s driver’s license for six months. If someone other than the driver suffered bodily injury, the potential jail time is increased to at least 30 days and no more than six months in county jail.

If the injury is serious, VC 23109 becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties remain the same with the exception that the maximum jail sentence is increased to one year. If charged as a felony, the potential jail sentence increases to 16 months to three years, and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Last, but not least, when someone is arrested on suspicion of violating VC 23109, the arresting officer has the option to impound the defendant’s vehicle for up to 30 days.

Fourth of July and Fireworks Safety in Santa Clarita

| Police Blotter | June 29, 2017

Law enforcement has been working this week to get the word out regarding fireworks safety this Fourth of July. They’ve also been conducting increased operations this week, and plan to continue to do so through the Fourth of July holiday, with the singular purpose of finding and halting any illegal fireworks use.

The legality of fireworks varies among counties and municipalities in California, but in Santa Clarita, they’re banned outright. All fireworks, including those of the “safe and sane” variety, are illegal and should not be used, purchased or possessed. “Safe and sane” fireworks are things like sparklers, smoke bombs, and others that do not create a lot of sparks, ash and embers. If someone is found with fireworks of any kind in their possession, they face a fine of between $500 and $1,000, as well as misdemeanor prosecution.

The law may seem harsh regarding fireworks, but it’s not without good reason. The Santa Clarita Valley is typically dry this time of year, and fireworks pose a serious risk of starting a fire. This year is particularly dangerous, as the rains we experienced this winter have led to increased vegetation growth — much of which is now dried out and ready to go up in flames should a spark find it’s way there.

Thanks to the increased rains and subsequent growth of plant life, this year is expected to be an especially difficult one when it comes to wildfires. Indeed, we have already seen several fires pop up in and around Santa Clarita over the past few weeks.

Wildfires are dangerous and difficult to control. Just this week a fire was ignited on the 14 Freeway that burned 870 acres in about 18 hours. A few areas were put under mandatory evacuation, while several others were given voluntary evacuation requests. Seventy homes lost power, and four firefighters were taken to the hospital for heat-related illnesses. All-told, 250 firefighters have been battling the blaze, and as of the writing of this article, the fire is only 57 percent contained and one structure has been lost.

While local deputies will be keeping an eye out for individuals who use or possess illegal fireworks, that’s not all that law enforcement will be doing this week. Expect increased patrols all over Los Angeles County with police officers watching for drunk drivers. Saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints will undoubtedly be conducted throughout the city to catch anyone who chooses to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Remember to keep yourself, your children and your pets safe this holiday weekend. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Thanks to taxis and the many ride-hailing apps available, there are more than enough ways to get you safely to and from wherever you decide to go. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Canyon Country and Fire Season

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 26, 2017

The temperatures are steadily rising and summer will soon be here. As we move into the hotter parts of the year, it’s important we take extra care when dealing with items that could cause a fire. Several wildfires have already sprung up this year, and more are sure to follow. Luckily, these fires have been relatively mild, and haven’t caused people to lose their homes — an all too possible occurrence, when it comes to wildfires.

Those who live in high-risk areas can take action to protect their homes in the event of a wildfire. Clearing potential fuel sources, such as dry or dead plants, up to a 100-foot perimeter around your home can greatly reduce your home’s risk, as can removing any overhanging foliage. The biggest risk by far doesn’t come from actual contact with a fire’s flames, but from burning embers, which can travel up to a mile or more. Be sure you have ember-resistant vents outside your home, as well as Class A roofing.

Last, but not least, keeping safe during fire season doesn’t just include taking precautions to protect your home, it also means being careful not to light a fire yourself. With the 4th of July less than a month away, people are going to be tempted to light them off. It should be known that fireworks of any kind (even the “safe and sane” variety) are illegal in Canyon Country, the rest of Santa Clarita, as well as other unincorporated areas surrounding this valley. Anyone caught in possession of, selling, buying, or using fireworks could face thousands of dollars in fines, as well as jail time. If one were to start a fire as a result of lighting fireworks, the penalties would be even more severe.

If you have questions about any Canyon Country bail related subject, or if you want to suggest a topic, visit Robin at www.santaclaritabond.com or call 661-299-BOND (2663).

New Bill Restricting Gun Ownership for Hate Crime Offenders

| Police Blotter | June 8, 2017

A new bill that has been put forward banning those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing firearms is making its way around the state government. The bill would essentially restrict gun ownership for those convicted of committing misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun for 10 years after their conviction. Known as the “Disarm Hate Act,” if passed, the bill would take away the gun rights of individuals convicted of vandalizing places of worship, or when committing a crime against another person based on that person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

What is a Hate Crime?

According to California Law, a person’s motivation for committing a crime will come into play when it’s suspected that the crime was committed against a person or group due to their inclusion in one of the aforementioned categories. When someone commits a crime against another and is motivated to do so by that person’s inclusion in a protected group, it’s possible for them to receive a stiffer penalty if they’re convicted.

Hate crimes can vary from the relatively mild, such as vandalizing a synagogue or mosque, to severe cases of assault or murder. The bill currently making its way through the state government deals only with hate crimes charged as misdemeanors. When a hate crime is charged as a misdemeanor, it will often be a case of interfering with an individual of one or more of the aforementioned groups’ legal or constitutional rights, or damaging or destroying their property. More serious hate crimes, like assault, are usually charged as felonies. By themselves, misdemeanor hate crimes carry the possible penalties of summary probation, up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 400 hours of community service.

Proponents of the bill claim that hate crimes are on the rise (as does the FBI), and that low-level misdemeanor hate crimes are often precursors to more serious crimes in the future. Detractors of the bill believe that, if enacted, the bill would lead to a loss of gun rights for committing petty crimes. According to Josh Deaser of Just Guns, his organization is worried people will lose their gun rights for simply shouting a racial slur, or declaring they dislike one political candidate and prefer another.

Currently, in the state of California, those who are prohibited from owning firearms are:
-Those convicted of certain misdemeanors
-People who suffer from mental illness
-Drug addicts
-Convicted felons
-Anyone under 18

The proposed bill would simply add to this list individuals who are convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes. The bill passed in Assembly and is currently before a public safety committee.

Arson and its Unintended Consequences

| Police Blotter | June 1, 2017

A fire was reported in the early morning hours of Monday, May 29 in Agua Dulce. Firefighters arrived on the scene to discover a house and a barn completely engulfed in flames, with fire damaging several surrounding acres of land. At about 4 a.m., an hour after they arrived, firefighters had the fires extinguished. The home and barn were a total loss, and four acres surrounding the property were severely burned.

Arson inspectors had been called to the scene around 8:30 a.m. and after inspecting the scene, said they suspected arson. Upon their declaration, deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department called in the LASD arson/explosives team to investigate further. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Arson is covered under California penal codes 451 PC and 452 PC. Penal Code 451 PC is the more severe and is described as “willfully or maliciously setting fire to a building, land, or other property.” Penal Code 452 PC, often referred to as “reckless burning” is described as “recklessly setting fire to a building, land or other property.” The major difference between the two laws is the suspect’s state of mind.

California Penal Code 451 PC, aka “malicious arson,” is always charged as a felony. The possible penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison for malicious arson of personal property, 2-6 years for malicious arson of a structure or forest land, 3-8 years for malicious arson of an inhabited structure or inhabited property, and 5-9 years for malicious arson that causes great bodily injury.

California Penal Code 452 PC, aka «reckless burning,” is usually charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in county jail. If the property burned is a structure, forest land, or causes great bodily injury, the crime becomes a “wobbler,” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

No matter where one lives, arson is a serious and dangerous crime. In certain dry areas, such as Southern California, it can be particularly disastrous. Fires, whether they qualify as arson or reckless burning can quickly and easily get out of control.

As we move into summer this year, the potential threat of fires will only become greater. Uncontrolled brush fires can move toward inhabited areas and threaten homes, structures, and even take the lives of firefighters tasked with extinguishing them. Additionally, raging fires scorch the ground and alter the state of the soil, making rainfall in the following years much more dangerous, as the ground doesn’t absorb water as well as it should, creating floods and mudslides that threaten additional homes. Let’s all do our best to keep fire safety at the top of minds this coming summer.

SB 10 and AB 42 – Should Criminals Be Released Without Bail and No Oversight? Bail Reform is Just Bad for Californians

| Police Blotter | May 25, 2017

The Alliance of California Judges recently came out in strong opposition to both Assembly Bill 42 and Senate Bill 10. Both bills are identical and seek to completely eliminate bail and replace it with a computer program that determines a defendant’s risk and tells judges whether or not a defendant is to be released or kept in jail. According to their statement, the Alliance of California Judges warns that the bills are far too radical, and the ramifications for the court system, as well as the public, would be disastrous.

At the heart of the matter is the issue that some feel that a monetary bail system treats those who cannot afford bail differently than those who can. Proponents of bail reform would have the public believe that the poor languish in jail month after month, while the rich are able to be out as quickly as they got in. What they don’t tell you is that judges already take a person’s ability to pay for bail into consideration during a bail hearing. When someone isn’t of sound financial means, judges can — and often do — reduce the defendant’s bail amount or eliminate their bail entirely and release the defendant on their own recognizance.

Sometimes, a judge will require certain conditions to be followed for an inmate to be released on their own recognizance. The conditions could include regular check-ins with law enforcement, monitoring via bracelet or anklet, and/or travel restrictions. Under SB 10 and AB 42, the computer, not the judge, will be deciding who gets released and who does not; and that’s one of the major issues that the Alliance of California Judges has. Under these bills, individuals charged with crimes like identity theft, selling drugs, vandalism, and burglary (both commercial and residential) would be released on their own recognizance without any conditions, instead of remaining in custody pending bail or ordered to follow specific conditions set forward by a judge.

Lastly, a judge would only be able to set conditions for bail or pre-trial release after a hearing; otherwise, the defendant would be automatically released on their own recognizance. Prosecutors, aware of the danger to the public that suspected drug dealers, identity thieves and burglars (among others) pose, would more than likely request many of these hearings. The additional hearings would clog the already congested court system and bring proceedings to a standstill.

Proposition 64: The Legalization of Marijuana in California

| Police Blotter | May 19, 2017

On November 8, 2016, historic Proposition 64 was passed legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the State of California. The law makes it legal for people age 21 and over to possess small amounts of marijuana and concentrated cannabis. It also legalizes the sale of marijuana by individuals with the proper licensure.

For many, the law was a long time coming. The medicinal use of marijuana was legalized in 1996, and possession of up to one ounce of the drug was treated merely as an infraction by law enforcement, provided it was for personal use only. Thus, if someone was found to be in possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, the penalty would be a fine and not jail time.

After the passage of Proposition 64, adults age 21 and over can legally possess and use marijuana without worry of winding up on the wrong side of the law. Prop 64 isn’t a free pass, though, and there are some restrictions. For example, one may only legally possess up to 28.5 grams, or just over an ounce, of marijuana or four grams of concentrated cannabis. Anyone who is found to be in possession of more than this can be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to six months in county jail and/or a $500 fine.

The legalization of marijuana under Prop 64 only applies to those 21 and over. If anyone under the age of 21 is found to be in possession of marijuana, it’s still an infraction, the penalties for which include drug counseling, community service and/or a fine.

In terms of growing marijuana, an individual may be allowed to grow up to six plants. If they are found to be growing more, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. Before Proposition 64, it would be a felony offense with a harsher penalty. Since it’s now a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Lastly, it’s still illegal to sell marijuana under Proposition 64 unless you are licensed to do so. The licenses will be issued by the Bureau of Marijuana Control, a new area of government created by the proposition’s passage. Anyone found to be selling marijuana or transporting it for sale without a license to do so will be charged with a crime. Like growing marijuana, the sale of, or transporting marijuana for sale without a license was previously a felony. Now a misdemeanor under Prop 64, the penalties include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.


Tips for Keeping Your Home Safer This Summer

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 17, 2017

Summer is fast approaching, and the weather’s heating up just as quickly. As a matter of fact, a lot of people out there like to open their doors and windows during the summer, and would-be burglars are well-aware of this. During the summer, residential burglaries tend to increase because people are prone to leaving their windows, garages, and doors open and forget to close them.

Below are a few tips to help reduce the likelihood that your home will become a target:
Don’t leave your garage door open if you aren’t in it to keep an eye on things. It’s very easy for someone to walk up and take expensive power tools, bicycles or other pricey items from your garage. If you don’t have a clear view, keep the garage door closed.
If you have gates on either side of your home, keep them locked.
Use motion lighting to brighten up the dark areas around the outside of your home. If there’s a window or side of your home that’s shrouded in darkness at night, install a light that covers it. Thieves are far less likely to try to break in if their handiwork will be in plain view.
Get to know your neighbors. When you’re familiar with your neighbors, you can watch each other’s homes when you’re away and pick up any mail or newspapers that show up.
There are many new security tech items on the market, such as camera doorbells. These allow you to see who’s at the door from anywhere you are (not just from home). By using an app on your phone, you have the ability to see who is there, while allowing you to talk to them in real time and record them on video.
You can also get involved with the neighborhood watch programs in your community. Sometimes it just takes a few people coming together to keep crime away from their immediate area.

Unfortunately, there’s really no way to remain 100 percent safe, but following these few simple steps can significantly reduce your chances of having your home broken into, whether this summer or any time of the year.

If you have questions about any Canyon Country bail related subjects, or want to suggest a topic, visit us at www.santaclaritabond.com or call 661-299-(BOND)2663.

Reducing Felonies to Misdemeanor

| Police Blotter | May 11, 2017

Being convicted of a felony offense is an unfortunate turn of events for anyone. Not only does a person face time in state prison, but having a felony conviction on your record can result in lifelong consequences when looking for a job, a loan or wishing to purchase a firearm, and even affect your eligibility for certain licensure.

Fortunately, it’s possible to have a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor under certain circumstances.

To have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor, two things have to happen.

The first is that the felony needs to be a “wobbler,” and the second is that the defendant needs to have been sentenced to probation, as opposed to jail time.
In California, a “wobbler” is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, if a person is charged with vandalism and the damage to the property is $400 or more, the crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies that are not “wobblers” are known as “straight felonies” and can only be charged as felonies. These crimes are ineligible for reduction to misdemeanors.

The second condition is that the defendant must have been sentenced to probation. Their sentence cannot include prison time, and they cannot have been found in violation of their probation, nor have had their probation denied by a judge. Additionally, for those convicted of felonies and serve their time in county jail instead of state prison, their time served counts as state prison time for the purpose of determining eligibility for a charge reduction.

A “wobbler” that was charged as a felony can be reduced by a judge at one of three points: after the preliminary hearing, the time of felony sentencing, or after the defendant has completed his/her felony probation.

Having a felony reduced to a misdemeanor doesn’t always happen automatically, particularly when a defendant has completed his/her felony probation. Individuals who have questions about themselves, a friend, or loved one regarding the status of a charge should speak with a criminal law attorney.

A Sting Nets Several Arrested for California 288.4 PC

| Police Blotter | May 5, 2017

On April 27, four men were arrested after they allegedly showed up at a Santa Clarita motel to engage in sexual intercourse with underage minors they believed to be between 14 and 16. Fortunately, there were never any girls. The arrests were the result of a sting operation conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Taskforce.

As part of the taskforce, officers posted ads on Craigslist.com and Backpage.com posing as minors. The men responded to the ads and agreed to meet at a Santa Clarita motel to engage in sexual activity. Once they arrived, the men were arrested and charged with arranging and showing up to a meeting with a minor for the purpose of having sexual contact — a felony. One suspect was charged with an additional crime when he was found to be in possession of ecstasy.

Arranging a meeting with a minor for the purpose of having sexual contact is covered under California Penal Code 288.4 PC. In order to be charged with this crime, a person must:

  • Arrange a meeting with a minor
  • While motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual attraction in children
  • With the intent to engage in certain sexual conduct with the minor at the meeting

It’s possible to be charged with violating California Penal Code 288.4 PC even if the suspect doesn’t engage in any sexual contact with the minor. Simply setting up a meeting with the intent of doing so is enough to warrant charges. Additionally, a person can be charged with a violation even if they never attend the meeting. Once again, the crime is to set up the meeting.

If an individual sets up a meeting with a minor and does not attend, the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties for which include: misdemeanor probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a maximum fine of up to $5,000.

When someone sets up the meeting and attends it (or attempts to attend it), or has a previous conviction of a sex crime, the charge is upgraded to a felony. The possible penalties include: felony probation, 16 months to three years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

The Nature of Kidnapping Charges

| Police Blotter | April 27, 2017

Recently, a Saugus electrician was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault and kidnapping after he allegedly dragged his wife into his car. According to witnesses, the ordeal began when the suspect demanded his wife get into the car, but she refused. The suspect then got verbally abusive, and the victim tried to run. It was then that the suspect got into the car and pursued the victim, stopping in front and exiting the vehicle to force her into it.

Kidnapping is covered by California Penal Codes 207, 208, 209 and 209.5 PC and is described as moving another person a substantial distance without that person’s consent, using force or fear to do so. This case is interesting as it involves a husband and wife, and kidnapping cases typically don’t do that. However, according to the wording of the law, it doesn’t matter what, if any, relation the victim has to the suspect. Kidnapping is kidnapping if it falls under the stated criteria. Granted, there are a few exceptions, of course. For example, you may have to force your child to get in the car on the way to the dentist, but it’s highly unlikely kidnapping charges are going to result from it.

There are a few other instances in which a person can commit an act that resembles kidnapping, but does not result in kidnapping charges. The first is if you steal, take, conceal or otherwise harbor a child under 14 and do so to protect that child from imminent danger or harm. In situations like this, a suspect would have to be able to prove that the child under 14 was actually in imminent danger, and not just claim that they were. The second situation is when you place the alleged victim under citizen’s arrest.

While seldom used, it is legal to place someone under citizen’s arrest, under the following circumstances:

You witness someone commit a felony

Have reasonable cause to believe that the person committed a felony, or

Know that the person actually committed a felony

Citizen’s arrest, while legal under these circumstances, is a dangerous endeavor and it’s probably better not to get involved. The police have the tools and the know-how to make arrests, and the vast majority of arrests should be left up to them,

Kidnapping is a felony under California law, and it carries the possible penalties of 3, 5, or 8 years in California state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Under certain circumstances, such as kidnapping someone under the age of 14, kidnapping the person with the intention of holding them for ransom, and others, it’s possible to be charged with aggravated kidnapping and receive harsher penalties. These penalties include 5, 8 or 11 years in California state prison, or imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole.

Understanding DUI Checkpoints

| Police Blotter | April 21, 2017

Encountering a DUI checkpoint can be a bothersome stop, but their purpose is to keep motorists safe. Last year in California, there were 30 alcohol-related fatalities and 2,017 people arrested under suspicion of DUI during Labor Day weekend alone. During holiday weekends and throughout the year, law enforcement agencies across the state periodically conduct DUI checkpoints to keep these numbers down.

 The checkpoints are designed to allow local law enforcement to interview drivers and find those who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some law enforcement agencies will seldom conduct DUI checkpoints, but California’s police and deputies conduct them relatively frequently. Here are a few other points regarding DUI checkpoints that you may not be aware of:

 Standards and procedures can vary by state. Just because you’ve encountered a DUI checkpoint in California doesn’t mean it will be handled the same way in another state. As a matter of fact, some states don’t allow police to hold DUI checkpoints.

In states where DUI checkpoints aren’t allowed, police will instead conduct license and insurance checks. At these stops, police check drivers for proper documentation, but they’re also looking out for anyone exhibiting signs of alcohol or drug use. Just because the checkpoint wasn’t specifically for a DUI doesn’t mean the police can’t investigate.

Police at DUI checkpoints follow what’s known as a “neutral formula.” Basically, it means they adhere to the same procedure for every vehicle that goes through the checkpoint. They don’t dismiss a driver who looks like he/she hasn’t been drinking, and they won’t automatically detain someone who appears to be a drinker. Officers will go through their protocol with each driver and if signs of possible intoxication are present, they’ll have that driver pull to the side to take a breathalyzer test.

All DUI checkpoints must be clearly marked for safety. Odds are, if you’ve encountered a DUI checkpoint on California roads, you knew it was there long before you arrived. They’re typically well-lit, marked off with road cones, flares, and several police officers.

California law enforcement officers also check your driver’s license at the checkpoints. While police in other states check for signs of alcohol consumption during license and insurance checks, our police do it the opposite way. When police speak with a driver going through a checkpoint, the officer will make sure that the motorist has a valid license. If not, the driver may be ticketed, or even arrested.

If you’re driving and you see a DUI checkpoint up ahead, don’t worry. The officers who conduct them are specially trained to look for signs of alcohol consumption to every driver with whom they speak. Those who are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol have nothing to worry about, and going through the checkpoint doesn’t take very long. An unemployed 46-year-old Santa Clarita man was arrested for doing harm to an elder/dependent adult.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations 2017

| Police Blotter | March 16, 2017

If you want to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day away from Santa Clarita this year, it may take a bit of planning on your part. It all begins with knowing where you want to go, how you’re going to get there and, most importantly, how you’re going to get back home safe and sound.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, which means there could be more holiday revelers than usual who are out and about. Expect a heavy police presence on the roads in L.A. County in the days leading up to, and preceding, St. Patrick’s Day.

Alcohol-related collisions tend to spike around holidays, particularly those associated with drinking, such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Ride-hailing apps like Uber, Lyft and Curb are invaluable during times like this, as they can get you and your friends and family to and from wherever you’re going to, safely and easily.

Once you’ve got your transportation sorted out, you may want to start the celebration with a hearty meal. If you’re interested in Irish fare (and on St. Patrick’s Day, you should be) try one of L.A.’s best Irish pubs:

  • Tom Bergin’s Tavern – After a short hiatus, Tom Bergin’s Tavern in Central L.A. is back, and their menu is as good as it gets. The owners updated the menu after the tavern reopened in January, and it’s run through with traditional Irish dishes.
  • If you’d like something a little more up tempo with your meal, the legendary Molly Malone’s in the Fairfax District boasts an eclectic mix of music, food and drinks since 1969.
  • Once you’ve been well-fed you can hit up one or more of Los Angeles’ excellent St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
  • The official St. Patrick’s Day Hollywood pub crawl begins at 2 p.m. at 1624 N. Cahuenga Blvd. There will be drink specials including $2 beers, $3 well drinks and $4 shots. After 10 p.m., drink specials increase by $2.
  • Pier Pressure Long Beach is offering a pirate-themed (though all costumes are welcome) cruise aboard the Catalina King Yacht. The cruise includes 3 decks, 4 DJ’s and 2 rooms of music.
  • For something a little more family-friendly, head over to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hermosa Beach. The parade runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and begins at City Hall.

And, after thinking about it, if you decide you don’t want to leave Santa Clarita Valley, there are several things going on right here in town:

  • SENSES is going green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day March 16 from 7-10 p.m. Shamrocks, pots of gold, and lucky charms will fill Main Street in Old Town Newhall. It’s a free evening of entertainment.
  • There are several restaurants around town celebrating the green holiday. There will be plenty of live music, corned beef and cabbage and green beer for all: Egg Plantation, Rose and Crown British Restaurant, Oaks Grille at TPC, and Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company.
  • The SCV Senior Center is offering lunch and performances on March 17, 2017 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. There is a celtic harp & vocal performance by Kristie Rose and Irish tunes with John O’Swinford & Co.

Listed here are just a smattering of the scores of celebrations and activities going on this weekend. No matter where you choose to celebrate, the most important thing is that you remember to stay safe.

From all of us at SCV Bail Bonds, have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Vandalism in Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 15, 2017

Early in February, deputies working out of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station were called to an area of Canyon Country near Sierra Hwy and Sandy Drive to investigate reports of vandalism. Apparently, the suspect(s) had tagged several places underneath a bridge on Sierra Hwy near a pedestrian and bicycle path. After searching the area, three suspects were taken into custody that same day.

Vandalism is a serious, yet common, crime and depending on the monetary amount of damage caused, can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, if the damage to the property as a result of vandalism is less than $400, the crime will likely be charged as a misdemeanor. If the damage is $400 or greater, the prosecuting attorney can decide whether to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Both misdemeanors and felonies can be punished with up to one year in county jail; however, a felony charge could result in the defendant spending time in state prison instead. Additionally, both felony and misdemeanor charges include hefty fines.

The individuals caught earlier this month could easily have escaped arrest had witnesses not called deputies when they saw something fishy.

The Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station urges anyone who sees something to say something. Non-emergencies can be reported anonymously by calling the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121 or 661-284-2-TIP. If the possible crime being committed is an emergency, such as a crime that involves another person being injured, witnesses should call 9-1-1.

If you have questions about any Canyon Country bail related subjects, or want to suggest a topic, visit SCV Bail Bonds at www.santaclaritabond.com or call 661-299-(BOND)2663.

California Penal Code 32 PC: Accessories are Included

| Police Blotter | March 9, 2017

California criminal law states that there are two parties to a crime: principals and accessories. To be considered a “principal” party to a crime, one must participate in a crime either before or during its commission. For example, anyone who encourages, helps plan, or facilitates the commission of a crime, but doesn’t necessarily take part during the actual commission of the crime, can be considered a “principal” party.

In previous decades, those who helped plan, encourage, or facilitate the commission of a crime were considered “accessories before the fact.” However, under the law, “principals” to a crime all share criminal intent, and as such, they are all subject to the same charges and the same penalties regardless of whether they took part in the commission of the crime. That being the case, the term “accessory before the fact” has largely been eliminated from California law.

One type of accessory to a crime still exists, and that would be an accessory after the fact. In order to be considered an accessory after the fact, a prosecutor must be able to prove:
A felony was committed
The defendant knowingly harbored, concealed or aided the suspect charged with the felony
The defendant knew that the person had committed a felony, was charged with a felony, or was convicted of a felony
The defendant attempted to protect the felon from arrest, trial, conviction or sentencing
For example, allowing someone you know was charged with a felony to hide in your home in order to evade police could result in being charged with being an accessory after the fact. One does not necessarily have to have direct contact with the person evading police in order to be charged as an accessory. It’s possible to be charged with violating PC 32 by lying to the police or hiding or destroying evidence that links an individual to a felony. Essentially, what matters most is that the individual knows someone committed a felony and he or she helps to conceal that person or obstruct police in their investigation.

Violations of California Penal Code 32 PC can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The seriousness of the charge will depend on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in county jail for misdemeanor charges, and 16 months to 3 years in California state prison for felony charges.

AB 109 – Another Failed and Dangerous Policy for Californians

| Police Blotter | March 2, 2017

Criminal justice reform has been in the news quite a lot recently. One of the more controversial issues is that of AB 109, known as “California’s prison realignment.” Signed in 2011, AB 109 was intended to reduce California’s overcrowded state prison system. However, while the need to reduce prison overpopulation is dire, shifting the responsibility to local communities is resulting in disaster.

Just recently, a 28-year veteran of the Whittier Police Department was tragically shot and killed, along with another man, by 26-year-old M.C. Mejia, a known gang member who had spent time in Pelican Bay State Prison (a facility notorious for housing dangerous criminals) on previous convictions of robbery and grand theft auto.

Mejia, considered a “low level offender” through the passing of AB 109, had been convicted of violating his parole several times. But instead of being sent back to state prison for between 90 days and one year for each violation, he spent several 10-day stints in a county jail. Law enforcement officials now argue that had Mejia been incarcerated in state prison for the five times he was sent back to jail for parole violations, he would not have been on the street and able to commit these two murders.

Before AB 109’s implementation, 60,000 felon parole violators were cycled in and out of state prisons every year. As of 2013, only 25 inmates were in state prison on parole violations, as the rest had been serving time in county jails.

Additionally, under AB 109, the crimes of commercial burglary, forgery, corporal injury on a child, aggravated evasion of a police officer and possession of marijuana for sale – all felony offenses – are now punished with “time in county jail,” as opposed to serving time in state prison.

Another aspect of AB 109 is that when low-level felons are released from county jails, they are to be supervised by probation departments at the local-level, a provision that law enforcement has long argued puts undue stress on local police forces. Unfortunately, this tragic recent event has underscored law enforcement’s argument.

To add fuel to the flame, the recent talks at the state-level about California bail reform will make matters even worse. Currently, bail bondsmen closely monitor defendants while they are out on bail awaiting trial. Significant reductions in, or the outright removal of, bail policy in California will put that responsibility on an already beleaguered local police force, which isn’t equipped or funded to monitor all these people. If such were to occur, it’s more than likely that several more violent criminals will fall through the cracks.

USB Cords Compromising Your Personal Data? Tips to Protect Yourself

| Police Blotter | February 23, 2017

Smartphones are great. You can check your email, tweet about the news and post a picture of your breakfast to Facebook, all on one little device. Unfortunately, all of this functionality tends to drain the battery quickly. A reality which, for most of us, can be easily remedied by plugging our phone into a wall socket whenever need one, right?

Not so fast. For years, hackers have been using compromised outlets to steal information from peoples’ smartphones and tablets, and the problem is only getting worse.

If you’ve ever used a public charging station or Wi-Fi access point at an airport, park, conference center or even a coffee shop, then you may have already connected to a network that’s possibly been compromised.

The danger lies in the USB cords most people use to charge their phones. These cords are capable of transferring data two-ways – a design that was intended to allow users to transfer data to and from their smartphones and computers.

Hackers are taking advantage of the two-way data functionality to steal information from unsuspecting victims’ phones. By plugging in to a compromised port, a hacker may be able to access your photos, email, pictures, texts – just about anything that’s stored on your phone is fair game.

To protect yourself from having your phone compromised, security experts have a few suggestions:
Always use your own USB cable and adapter when charging in public places. Never borrow someone else’s, and always plug your adapter into the wall socket – don’t plug your USB cable into public USB ports.
Don’t unlock the phone while it’s charging. Some phones will limit data that can be transferred while the phone is locked. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on your phone’s OS to protect you.
Last, but not least, to be as safe as possible, invest in a portable USB battery pack. This last tip is particularly useful for people who handle a lot of sensitive data on their smartphones.

Having your phone hacked can be incredibly dangerous. ID thieves in particular would love to get their hands on as much of your data as possible. But, it’s nice to know you can minimize your risk by following some, or all, of the tips listed above.

Monitoring ‘Smart Phone’ Use to Keep Your Children from Predators

| Police Blotter | February 16, 2017


Recently, J. M. Magana of Whittier was arrested at his home and charged with extortion and a host of sex offenses, including rape of a minor over 14 and possessing child pornography. Magana pleaded not guilty to all charges on Thursday, February 9, 2017.

The arrest comes after a five-month investigation by the LASD into reported “sextortion” allegations. The investigation began last October when one of the alleged victims reported to law enforcement that she had been forced to send nude photographs to Magana, who she met while using her cell phone app KiK. The 16-year-old girl claimed Magana repeatedly threatened to harm her if she didn’t send the photos. It’s believed by detectives that Magana gained information about the girl through other social media sites, which he then used to frighten her into sending the pictures.

Initially, Magana had taken steps to hide his internet address, but police were still able to discover where he lived. When they searched his home and cell phone, they found pictures of another underage girl who had also been threatened into sending nude pictures of herself to Magana. She was allegedly sexually assaulted by him in January – an act which he chose to film on his cell phone.

The case above may sound familiar, as incidents like it have been happening since the internet found its way into people’s homes starting in the mid ‘90s. Back then, sexual predators were using chat rooms to locate and assault their victims. As chat rooms fell out of vogue and were subsequently replaced by the rise of social media, those sites, too, became a tool for online predators.

“Phones are computers now,” says Sheriff’s Lt. Kent Wegener, and it would appear that he’s correct. Today’s smart phones are capable of carrying out many of the same functions that computers can, particularly when it comes to the many social media apps that are available.

Parents need to be cautious and vigilant when it comes to what their kids are doing on the internet, a job made all the more difficult by the small, portable nature of today’s smart phones. The best thing you can do to help keep your kids safe from predators is to have a frank discussion about the kinds of things they need to be wary of when using their phones, tablets or computers.

Finally, make sure that whatever social media accounts they use, they know what information never to post. It’s the places where they frequently hang out, where they go to school, and information about their daily routines these predators are on the lookout for.



What is the Difference Between Murder and Capital Murder?

| Police Blotter | February 9, 2017

Recently, police made three arrests in a 24-year-old case involving one of the worst examples of arson in the city’s history. In the early 1990s, a drug distributor was selling crack in Los Angeles’ Westlake neighborhood. Her efforts to sell were frustrated in a particular apartment complex, thanks to the efforts of the property manager. The manager would frequently change the locks on several of the doors to hinder the dealer’s efforts to make transactions on the premises, and often called police when she noticed anything suspicious.

Eventually, the enterprising dealer went to the 18th street gang, who had a heavy presence in the area during the ‘90s, to help her out. Later, the apartment complex went up in flames and resulted in the deaths of 10 people, including two pregnant females and seven children. No arrests were made after the initial investigation, as residents were too afraid of the 18th street gang to speak with police. As years went on, the gang’s grip on the neighborhood weakened, and witnesses began to come forward.

Thanks to witness testimony, several arrests were made last week in the case. J. Lopez, R. Valerio, and J. Monge, were all arrested and charged with 12 counts of capital murder. They’re charged with 12 counts, as opposed to 10, because charges include the two fetuses that the pregnant mothers were carrying.

Under California Penal Code 187, there are three ways someone can be charged with murder: first-degree murder, second-degree murder and capital murder. First-degree murder is usually charged when someone commits a murder with a destructive device, a weapon of mass destruction, by lying in wait and/or murdering after committing torture, by killing someone in a way that is willful, premeditated and/or by way of the felony murder rule.

Second-degree murder is typically charged when a murder is willful, but not deliberate. For example, firing a gun into a crowd and killing someone, but not intending to kill that specific person could be grounds for a second-degree murder charge.

Capital murder is the third and final murder charge in California Law. Capital murder is also known as first-degree murder with special circumstances. There are over 20 separate circumstances under which someone can be charged with capital murder, including, but not limited to: murder for financial gain, murdering more than one person, and murdering a witness to prevent the individual from testifying.

Capital murder is also different from first-degree murder in that it is punishable by death or life without parole; whereas, first-degree murder convictions can result in a sentence of 25 years to life (unless the murder was a hate crime, in which case the defendant could face life without parole).

What are Ignition Interlock Devices and How Do They Work?

| Police Blotter | February 3, 2017

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a small breathalyzer installed in someone’s car that will not allow them to drive unless they provide a breath sample clear of alcohol use. An IID, when installed, will detect any amount of alcohol on the person’s breath and if detected, will not allow the car to start and run.

These machines are so sensitive that it’s possible to register a false positive on the part of the driver. Using an IID shortly after using mouthwash, eating candy or something that may contain alcohol sugars, even certain pastries may result in false positives. When this happens, the machine usually allows the driver to retest shortly afterward.

A judge can order someone charged with any DUI-related crime to install an IID in their vehicle. In some counties it isn’t ordered for first offenses unless, during the first offense, the driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent or higher or the driver refused to submit to a chemical blood or breath test by police. However, due to a pilot program known as VS 23700 that began in 2010, residents of Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare, and Sacramento counties must install an IID on their cars for five months after being convicted of a DUI. If someone was injured as a result of the DUI, the mandatory minimum time frame extends to one year.

The pilot program is set to expire on July 1, 2017. If there’s a significant reduction in repeat DUIs, the program will go into effect across the state. It’s possible that the state Legislature may vote to extend the program statewide before its expiration.

VC 23700 also affects repeat offenders who have multiple California DUIs in any of the pilot program’s covered counties. If an individual is convicted of a second DUI, he/she must install an IID for one year, for a third DUI it is two years, and for a fourth, it is three years. For those who live outside any of the counties mentioned above, there is no mandatory requirement to install an IID for a DUI conviction.

Interestingly, if an individual is arrested for driving on a suspended license, and the license was suspended or revoked due to a DUI-related conviction, a judge may order the defendant to install an IID on his/her vehicle for one to three years.

When someone is ordered to install an IID in their vehicle, they’re also on the hook for the cost. Most IIDs cost about $2.50 a day to operate, and installation can be anywhere from $75-$100. If an arrestee cannot afford the cost of the IID, the individual will be required to pay a portion of it.

Is Resisting an Executive Officer a Possible Felony? California Penal Code 69 PC

| Police Blotter | January 26, 2017

Recently, one of our readers suggested we write an article regarding California Penal Code 69 PC: resisting an executive officer in performance of duty. This crime is very similar to one we covered recently: California Penal Code 148(a) PC, resisting arrest. PC 69, though, is a much more serious offense.

California Penal Code 69 PC is described as attempting to prevent an executive officer from performing his or her duties by use of threats, force or violence OR someone who knowingly resists an executive officer, by use of force or violence, an executive officer in the performance of his or her duty. Basically, a person can be charged with violating PC 69 by attempting to prevent an executive officer from performing their duties, or by knowingly resisting said officer in the performance of their duties.

An executive officer is anyone who is a public employee who is authorized to carry out their duties at their discretion. For example, PC 148(a), resisting arrest, typically deals with law enforcement personnel like police officers and sheriff’s deputies. PC 69, on the other hand, covers people like judges, attorneys, and elected officials. So, if someone resists arrest by a police officer, they may be facing a misdemeanor charge. If a person interferes with an executive officer, they’re looking at possible felony charges.

As mentioned above, to be charged with violating California Penal Code 69 PC, an individual must (using force or fear) interfere with, or attempt to interfere with, an executive officer performing their lawful duties. Lawful duties are described as any duties that the executive officer is lawfully charged with carrying out as a requirement of their profession. These duties include, but are not limited to, sentencing by judges, a public defender taking the case of a defendant, or a city council member voting on an ordinance.

An example of violating California Penal Code 69 PC: Let’s say that a district attorney plans to prosecute a case against an individual, and in an attempt to stop that from happening, someone tries to use force or fear to dissuade the district attorney from doing so. If caught, the person could be charged with violating PC 69.

Resisting an executive officer is a “wobbler” in California, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include up to 364 days in county jail, a maximum $10,000 fine or both. If convicted on felony charges, the possible penalties include 16 months to 3 years in county jail, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both.

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