Extortion California | California PC 518-527

 Extortion is considered a serious crime in the state of California. All counties within the state can choose the specific bail amount related to this crime, and even have a small say over the sentence that is handed down to one so convicted. The State of California, however, gives the guidelines to sentencing. Most California crimes give three specific penalties that may be handed down to the convicted, and it is up to the county court to decide which of these punishments is adequate.

What is Extortion?

Extortion is defined as obtaining property from another person with their consent, or getting a public officer to grant an official act, through the use of wrongful fear or force. Public officials can also be charged with extortion if they use their authority for these purposes. The use of force is self-explanatory, but the California law specifically explains the types of extortion and why they cause fear.

If a person threatens injury to another, that person’s property, or a third person, then it is considered extortion if they are trying to gain something. Threatening an unwarranted accusation against a person or any member of their family of a crime also falls under the extortion law. The third type of extortion would be a threat to impute or expose a person or their family to disgrace, crime or deformity. The final type mentioned is threatening to expose any secret that will affect the victim or their family. Any of these actions performed with the intention of obtaining property or official acts constitutes extortion.

Bail for Extortion

Though California counties have some say over how to handle their extortion sentencing, they have complete control, over bail amounts. That said, most counties differ between one another as to the bail allowed within their jurisdiction. Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, for instance, require a $35,000 bail amount on their schedule for sending a threatening letter to extort someone. Monterey County, on the other hand, only requires $30,000. Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties also require a $50,000 bail for extorting a signature by threat, while Monterey County only requires a $30,000 bail. Each county differs, yet each amount is significant.

Extortion also brings harsh penalties, which is why it is smart for anyone accused of the crime to get a lawyer. Extortion is usually charged as a felony, and those convicted could face a $10,000 dollar fine. The prison time, however, is far more serious. A person convicted of extortion faces either a two, three or four year sentence in state prison. The choice of these three sentences is at the discretion of the court, but all of the sentences can certainly wreak havoc on your life.

Extortion is a serious crime that can threaten the good name or safety of another person. Because of this, California and all of its counties take the crime very seriously. Anyone accused of extortion, guilty or not, should contact their local office of Bail Hotline to get them out of jail as quickly as possible. As soon as a person is released from jail, they can start working with their attorney on what will have to be a stellar defense. There is no doubt that there are legitimate defenses to the charge of extortion, so it is better to be out of jail and conferring with a lawyer to ensure the best possible chance of lessening the chance of a conviction.

Child Abandonment | California PC 270

There are not many things in the world that are more looked down upon than child abandonment. There is a continuing rumor that anyone in jail for harming a child will receive ill treatment from other inmates. Even if this is not true, the legal penalties for such a crime can be severe.

California Penal Code 270 encompasses the definition and penalties of a charge of child abandonment. The code actually sets forth a particular punishment for those convicted of the crime, but individual counties are able to set their own bail amounts related to the offense. Regardless of why a person is charged with child abandonment, it is imperative that they find a lawyer, because judges usually don’t smile kindly upon those who are convicted of these types of crimes.

What is Child Abandonment?

California law is very specific as to what constitutes child abandonment. PC 270 defines this crime as willfully and unlawfully withholding food, necessary clothing, shelter, medical attendance or other forms of remedial care. Many people are confused about the definition of ‘remedial care,’ and some people are upset once they realize what it means. Parents who are part of religions that use only prayer to try to heal disease, are considered to be providing remedial care. If a child is sick and only prayer is used to heal him, it is considered legal.

This law applies to the legal parent, whether or not they are the biological parent of the child in this situation. Many people are surprised to learn that a man is also responsible for a child even if the child was artificially inseminated, but this only applies in cases where the man signed off on the insemination. In all cases, if courts see proof of child abandonment, the law says that this is enough to prove “willful abandonment.” When this proof exists, judges and juries must consider all income that a parent receives, in deciding whether or not the defendant had a lawful excuse.

What Bail is Charged?

Child abandonment bail will usually be different in each California County, due to the fact that all counties can choose their own preset amounts on a bail schedule. Many counties, however, stay within a certain range of bail; Los Angeles, Santa Clara and Monterey counties all set bail at $5,000 for those accused of child abandonment. Monterey County, however, treats child abandonment of a child under fourteen as a “wobbler.” This means it may also be charged as a felony, and in this case the bail amount in Monterey County is $10,000.

What are The Consequences?

California Penal Code 270 actually specifies the punishment involved with child abandonment. If convicted, a person faces jail time of up to one year, or a fine of $2,000. In some cases, the judge may choose to impose both of these penalties. In the case of a non-biological parent who is adjudicated as the legal parent of the abandoned child, that person faces the same penalty, but he may be confined to a state prison for one year and one day as opposed to a county jail. Either way, a child abandonment conviction will lead to serious penalties for the accused.

The laws of our land say it is important for a person to take care of their child to the best of their ability, and even if the care is mediocre, it may be considered legal if it is all that the parent can afford. Several child abandonment cases are brought forth by scorned lovers or overbearing neighbors, and if these charges are frivolous there is a very good chance that they will be dropped. That said, when it comes to children, reporting what you think may be a crime against them is never a bad idea; if ultimately unfounded, it is certainly less damaging then it would be for a neglected child to not be dealt with. 

Arson California | California PC 451

Fire is undoubtedly one of humankind’s greatest discoveries. It has allowed people to stay warm since the dawn of time, and without it, most of what is familiar to us would not be possible. Unfortunately, fire can also be more than deadly – taking with it not only lives but also dwellings – when used with bad intention or when a simple disregard for prevention gets out of control.

Is it Arson or Reckless Burning?

According to Penal Code 451, arson is a malicious or willful act, with intent to harm persons or property.  It is an extremely serious charge and, if convicted, you must register as a convicted arsonist and report your whereabouts to the local police; failing to register can incur up to one year in jail.

Penal Code 452, is considered the “second arson” law, is generally referred to as the “reckless burning law” and it involves burning of a structure, forest or open land.  If you toss a cigarette into dry brush and it ends up burning property or harming another person, this is considered reckless and can also incur a felony charge.  In this case you were not just being negligent or careless, you were aware there was a risk involved and chose to ignore that possibility.

What are the Penalties for Arson?

Depending upon the circumstances of the incident and the subsequent amount of property damage, the penalties for arson can be wide ranging. For instance, arson that causes great bodily harm – including death – can incur a felony charge. Additionally, recklessly setting a fire that causes millions of dollars in damage to property can also bring about a felony arson charge – even if the intent of the fire was not malicious in nature.

With felony arson, convicted individuals may be facing many years in prison and fines that range into the tens of thousands of dollars or higher. In cases of misdemeanor arson, fines typically do not exceed $2,000 and jail time is usually less than one year in a county jail.

What is the Bail for Arson?

In California, individuals charged with felony arson can expect to qualify for bail amounts that range between $20,000 and $500,000, depending on the specific charges and circumstances.

For instance, arson committed against an uninhabited structure may incur a bail amount of $75,000, while arson committed during an officially declared state of emergency hike the bail amounts closer to $350,000.

Arson requires an intelligent defense, best served by the freedom to meet with a specialized attorney on your own terms.  Of course, getting back to your job and your family as soon as possible will also keep you on track and more financially capable of handling necessary expenses.

Battery | California PC 243

In California, a criminal charge of battery is serious, but when the charge is battery upon an officer of the law, the consequences of a conviction can be dire. From fines to penalties, including jail time, people convicted of battery upon an officer may face very stiff sentences, and these sentences can be magnified depending upon the circumstances of the battery charge.

Definition of Battery

In many cases, people confuse the words “assault” and “battery.” An assault is simply the threat of force with the reasonable ability to carry it out. An example of an assault may be when someone threatens to hit another person while holding baseball bat. Battery, on the other hand, is the actual use of force, even if no threats have been made. Essentially, one can be charged with assault, battery or both.

Definition of an Officer

While it’s quite obvious that a sworn police officer is considered an officer under the law, there are also other definitions according to California law. For instance, a police dog or other law enforcement service animal is considered to be an officer, and some security officers are also covered under the label. Traffic officers and code enforcement officers are also considered to be officers under the law, meaning the penalties for battery upon such individuals are just as strong as if they were police officers in uniform.

Fines and Penalties

The typical fine for battery upon an officer in California is $2,000, but the amount can be lower. Additionally, individuals convicted of battery upon an officer may face as much as one year in a county jail for their actions, and this jail sentence may be combined with a fine. There are also unseen costs associated with a battery upon an officer conviction, including a criminal record and lessened job opportunities in the future.

What You Can Do If Charged

In most cases, a bail amount will be set for you once you are arraigned. At this point, you will want to seek out the nearest Bail Hotline office. The average bail amount for battery upon an officer is $3,000, but this amount can change dramatically depending on the circumstances of your arrest. In addition, if you are charged with other crimes in addition to battery upon an officer, your bail amount may be substantially higher.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are tempted to strike an officer of the law, it would be wise to resist. Even if you feel that they are treating you unfairly, it is almost always better to bring that information out in a court of law on your own terms, not the officer’s. If an officer is physically abusing you, do not resist and always try to reasonably comply with any orders you are given. Once your arrest is complete, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a judge, and this is always a better option when compared with being charged with battery upon an officer. 

Failure to Appear | California PC 853.7

Every state has stiff penalties for failure to appear when the court has required you to do so. The logic behind this is obvious – without stiff penalties, many people would interfere with their cases going forward by failing to appear. This is especially true for persons who are facing severe penalties and who are on trial for significant crimes.

Legal Ramifications

California Penal Codes 853.7 and 853.8 both cover the failure to appear, by setting the minimum charges. If you fail to appear for a registered court date, you are guilty of a misdemeanor. As your court is already in session and your guilt or innocence is physically apparent to the presiding judge, you will not have a trial to determine your guilt – the judge simply declares you guilty of this crime by virtue of the fact that he does not see you at the scheduled hearing.

The judge will now issue a bench warrant (so called because it is issued from the bench) for your arrest. This gives the police the right to arrest you if they can find you, and detain you until your next hearing – even if that hearing is weeks or months away. California law also enables the court to assess a penalty of no less than $15 to cover any expenses and inconvenience you have caused by creating this delay.

And It Gets Worse

If you receive a failure to appear without just cause (which was a condition of your bail), then your bail may very well be revoked. This means that the court may opt to keep any money you have posted for bail, in addition to issuing the warrant for your arrest. If you have used a bail agency, then they may hire a bounty hunter to have you brought in order to protect their surety bond. If you are allowed back out on bail, the face amount may be increased to encourage your appearance in the future.

Failure to appear is a serious crime in the eye of the courts and so it generally has severe effects in the future. It is an mark on your criminal record, and while it is only a misdemeanor, it usually guarantees a brief jail sentence in the local house of corrections. Going forward, you will have more difficulty getting bail, and the bail amounts will be higher and more difficult to post. You may also have bail denied when it might otherwise have been granted.

It’s Always Better to Show Up

Your best option then is to appear, despite the potential dangers you may face at a hearing or trial. If you do fail to appear, the court is generally only willing to set aside this new charge if you can prove that there was something that was physically keeping you from appearing. In general, the only two excuses that are accepted are that you are imprisoned for another crime or that you are undergoing emergency medical treatment.

Outside of those exceptions, you are expected to file a “continuance,” prior to your time to appear. This is a legal notice to the court stating that you cannot appear, explaining why, and giving them forewarning. If you have a lawyer, contacting him or her at least 24 hours before your court date should be enough for them to file a continuance on your behalf.

Forgery | California Penal Code 470

California doesn’t take any crime committed within its borders lightly, but some crimes seem to carry sentences that some may find excessive considering the charge. Forgery is often one of these crimes. Many people think forgery is simply signing another person’s name to a document, but the law is much more in-depth than that.

There are several instances where a person may commit forgery without even knowing it. The crime carries severe punishments, and a forgery charge can even prevent a person from getting out of jail on bail. Knowing the fine distinctions of the law can prepare a person if they’re ever faced with a forgery charge.

What is Forgery?

California Penal Code 470 goes into great depth of what the crime of forgery entails. Whenever a person intends to commit a fraud while signing another person’s name without their authorization, it is obviously a forgery. There are other examples of the crime, though.

Trying to recreate another person’s signature to commit a fraud and altering legal documents are also considered forgery. A person can also be charged with forgery if they alter, falsify or counterfeit documents related to money, property, stocks or other goods. Falsifying notarized documents, wills, court records or any other legal document will also garner the charge.


It is important to contact a bail bond agency and a lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested for forgery, because the consequences of a conviction are severe. It is important to get out of jail as quickly as possible to start working on a defense. A very first conviction on a forgery charge can bring with it a three-year prison sentence. On top of this prison time, a person convicted of forgery will usually have to pay restitution to the victim of the crime and up to $10,000 in fines. As with most crimes in California, a person may also have to perform community service before being let off of the hook. These punishments may seem severe due to the fact that even writing a bad check can be considered forgery, but it is important to know that all of these penalties are a possibility.

Held Without Bail

There are not many crimes that a person can commit that will prevent them from getting bail at all. California Penal Code 1275 states that if a peace officer, judge or prosecutor believes that a person may use feloniously obtained money or assets to post bail, then the defendant can be held without bail until they can prove otherwise. Since forgery can be charged as a felony, many people would assume that assets used for bail could’ve been feloniously obtained. An attorney or bail bond agency can help in these situations, but getting bail will usually require proof of some type of income not illegally obtained.

Forgery is a serious crime within the state of California. It is important for a person to contact a bail bond agency as soon as possible to get out of jail. Bail becomes a difficult issue when forgery is involved, but bail bond agents can speak up for a person in court to help secure their release on bail. The range of punishments for forgery varies widely and can be extreme in some cases, so it is also important to secure a good lawyer. Knowing what the law says about forgery and how to handle the charge is the best way to have the indictment dropped.

Bail Grand Theft California | PC 487

Theft is a crime that the state of California takes very seriously. Most people do not realize that the difference of only a few dollars can make a theft charge more serious in this state. Statutes regarding the theft of another person’s property are not as simple as a person may imagine. There are several different charges and penalties, dependent on what was stolen and the value of property taken. Grand theft is one of the more serious theft charges of which a person can be accused; though laws usually vary from county to county, this crime carries with it steep consequences in most cases.

What is Grand Theft?

California considers a crime to be grand theft when the value of the stolen property exceeds $950. There are several exceptions to this law that can turn many instances of theft into a grand theft charge. Stealing certain crops or seafood from the places that produce them, for instance, can garner a grand theft charge if the amount of goods stolen exceeds $250. There are also several instances when a person can be charged with grand theft regardless of the value of the stolen property – stealing a firearm, car or any of a number of farm animals will lead to a grand theft charge, even if the object isn’t especially valuable.

Bail Amounts

There is no specified bail amount for grand theft that encompasses all of California. Each county produces its own bail schedule to decide what a person must pay to get out of jail after being arrested for any type of grand theft, and these amounts vary widely between counties. For instance, Los Angeles County requires a person to pay $1,000 dollars and have a court appearance, while San Luis Obispo County has bail amounts ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 dollars, depending on the circumstances. Bail amounts will also within one county, based upon whether the grand theft is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision will general correspond to the circumstances of a particular case, as well as the criminal history of the person being charged.

Charges and Punishments

There are several types of grand theft, and they all carry different punishments. Any grand theft that is charged as a misdemeanor will have a maximum jail term of one year. Felony charges are always punishable by over a year in prison. There are several types of grand theft that can be charged as felonies. Grand theft charges that have their own sections in the penal code include grand theft auto and grand theft person. Grand theft person is the theft of something that was actually being carried by a person when it was stolen.

If a person is convicted of felony grand theft, they are usually sentenced to sixteen months, two years or three years in prison. The choice of these three sentences is again at the discretion of the judge. Sentence enhancements can also be applied depending on the specific circumstances of a case. Stealing something worth over $200,000 will actually bring a sentence enhancement of two years. Punishments for grand theft can vary as much as the bail amounts between counties.

Grand theft is a serious charge that brings with it serious consequences. Anyone accused of any type of grand theft should work to get out of jail as quickly as possible to prepare their defense. It is usually possible to get released from jail in only a few hours after you contact Bail Hotline Bail Bonds®. This is due to the fact that grand theft is listed on all of California county bail schedules, so it usually isn’t necessary to see a judge before being released. Knowing the many nuances of grand theft law in California is certainly a good reason to seek the proper legal counsel once you are free on bail.

California Penal Code 459 | Burglary

Criminal justice systems vary greatly from county to county in the state of California. A criminal conviction in one county may bring harsher penalties than the same conviction in another. There are even variations within the same county as to the way some criminal prosecutions are handled, even when dealing with one charge. There is no overarching penalty for any specific crime that covers all of California. The state does, however, set forth the definitions and general guidelines of many crimes.

Burglary is one crime that can cause a great deal of confusion for those incurring this charge. Even when only one county is considered, a person charged with a burglary can be charged with a felony, while another person charged with the same crime may only receive a misdemeanor. Knowing all of the nuances of the crime of burglary will help a person if they find themselves facing this type of charge.

What is Burglary?

California Penal Code 459 defines burglary as the entering of a dwelling with the intent to commit any type of theft, or any other felony. The law provides a nearly exhaustive list of structures that fall under the first-degree burglary umbrella: including homes, rooms, apartments, tents, vessels, cars, trailers and several other types of structures that may be used as dwellings.

Second-degree burglary is basically the same as first-degree, but it covers commercial structures instead of dwellings. It is not even necessary to break into a dwelling for a person to be charged with burglary. Simply entering a dwelling that they do not belong in, with the intent to commit the aforementioned crimes, is enough for a person to be charged.

Bail Amounts

Every county in California has its own bail schedule that specifies a preset bail amount for burglary and other crimes. The state of California has virtually no say on the bail amount that a certain county settles on, so these bail amounts vary wildly. San Luis Obispo and San Diego counties both set a bail amount of $50,000 in their bail schedules for 1st degree burglary, while a person is required to go to court before getting bail in Los Angeles County. Bail amounts can significantly differ between counties, so it is always a good idea for a person to contact a bail bond agency as soon as they can. Bail Hotline will know if burglary is listed on a particular county’s bail schedule and can usually have a person so charged out of jail within a few hours.


Penalties for burglary convictions will vary as well, even though California has set forth the rules of incarceration. Second-degree burglary will be charged as a misdemeanor, which will bring less than one year in jail. First-degree burglary will bring a penalty of twenty-four to seventy-two months in prison, mostly at the discretion of the presiding judge.

California law states that probation should only be given in extreme circumstances, when the judge feels justice would better be served by doing so. Since this is not often the case, it is important for anyone accused of burglary to have an adequate legal defense for their best shot at escaping these harsh consequences.

Burglary is a serious crime with fairly dire consequences. Each county handles burglary charges in their own way, but it is the state of California that sets forth the overlying rules. Any person charged with a burglary should contact a Bail Hotline to have bail posted before seeing a judge. Judges can raise or lower bail schedule amounts, but the fact that bail bond agencies can only charge ten percent of a given bail amount makes it advisable to not wait around. Getting out of jail quickly and contacting a good lawyer are the best ways to fight a burglary charge.


California PC 1275 | 1275 Bail Hearing

The United States Constitution grants a person accused of non-capital crimes that they are entitled to bail, and that it will not be unreasonably excessive. However, this right is not a guarantee – there are a few circumstances that might exempt you from bail (such as risk of flight) and others which may temporarily prevent your release.

The Law

For California residents, Penal Code 1275.1 (PC 1275) which is a “bail hearing”, allows a judge to withhold bail even for minor offenses. This law specifically prevents defendants from being released if there is any suspicion that the bail funds may have been illegally obtained. It states that bail will not be accepted if a judge or magistrate believes that the funds were obtained through felonious methods.

In this case, a hold is placed on the inmate until funds that were not obtained through criminal methods are available for bail. A prosecutor or peace officer can file a declaration stating that they believe any money that will be used for bail was obtained through criminal means. A judge can also make the call himself without a declaration being filed, if he believes there is probable cause that a person would secure his or her own release with illegitimate funds.

Type of Crimes Affected

There are several crimes that may lead a judge, peace officer or prosecutor to request or invoke a PC 1275. Drug dealers can easily be affected by this penal code, due to the very nature of their crime. If an officer of the court has probable cause to believe that selling drugs is that person’s main source of income, then they will also assume that the money used for bail could have been illegally obtained. Other charges apt to invoke a PC 1275 hold are robbery, embezzlement or fraud.

Lifting the Hold

A PC 1275, or Bail Hearing, is not necessarily permanent nor is it irreversible. The accused can have the hold lifted by proving that the funds they are using for their release were obtained through legal and traceable means. This may be as easy as providing a pay stub from a legitimate job. Often, however, the process of lifting a PC 1275 is an arduous one that may be difficult for the accused to prove.

Bail bond agents can assist with all of the necessary paperwork needed to lift the hold and allow the defendant’s release. These documents can include signer backgrounds, bank account information and verification of traceable funds. Since most people will have to talk to a bail bond agent to secure release anyway, it is prudent to inform the bail agency of the potentiality of this kind of hold immediately, so they can get to work on having it lifted.

PC 1275 can cause an undue hardship on anyone who is charged with certain crimes; without release, the accused may miss work or even lose their job altogether. Unfortunately, the law allows judges to hold an accused person for crimes that would otherwise bring a quick bail amount and release. It is important for a defendant to know their rights under this penal code, and it’s always best to secure the help of a professional bond agency and a defense attorney if necessary.