animal cruelty laws in california

Animal Abuse Now Illegal at the Federal Level

animal cruelty laws in california

Winter hasn’t even officially arrived yet and already California is beginning to see winter weather. This means that all pet owners should get ready to really start taking care of their pets this winter. This is especially true for pets who spend a lot of time outdoors. Failing to do so can get a person into trouble for animal abuse here in California.

On top of that, a new law has been signed into effect at the federal level surrounding animal abuse. This means that if a person abuses an animal, they can face charges at both the state and federal level.

The PACT Act

Surprisingly, there hasn’t been a federal law that prevents animal cruelty here in the United States until recently. The only thing that came close was the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act that was signed into law back in 2010. That law only made it a crime to abuse an animal if the person filmed it. This law came about in response to a horrible internet trend where small animals were crushed by people stepping on them and then the videos were uploaded online.

This law had an unfortunate loophole that meant people who abused animals but didn’t film the act would not get into trouble, at least at the federal level. Luckily, many states have their own laws about animal abuse that likely covered the issue.

However, this has all changed thanks to a new law recently signed into effect. The Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act was passed through Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Under this new federal law, it is now illegal for a person to purposefully burn, crush, drown, suffocate, impale, or perform any other violent act that causes serious bodily injury to an animal.

If a person is caught breaking this law, they can face federal felony charges, fines, and up to 7 years in prison.

Animal Abuse in California

Here in California, animal abuse is outlawed by Penal Code (PC) 597. PC 597 is what is known as a wobbler offense, this means it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal record.

When charged as a misdemeanor, a person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $20,000.

When charged as a felony, a person faces:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $20,000.

Some additional consequences for both levels of the charges can include:

  • Having the animal permanently removed from the abuser’s care.
  • Paying for the housing costs of the animal during the trial.
  • Completing counseling as a part of probation.
  • An extra year added to the sentence if the abuse involved a deadly weapon.

Take Care of Animals

Animals are living creatures just like humans and they deserve the same care and respect as people. They also deserve the same protections, which is what this new federal law provides. Now, no matter where a person is in the United States, if they abuse an animal, they will face federal charges.

This law comes at a good time of year. With all of the cold weather of winter, pet owners need to take the proper precautions to keep their animal healthy and safe. Failing to do so can get them into legal trouble here in California, and maybe even at the federal level as well.

What do you think of the country’s new animal abuse law? Is it about time, or did we really need this law at all? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Stay-Safe-While-Shopping

Shop Safely This Holiday Season

Stay-Safe-While-Shopping

Thanksgiving has come and gone and that means everyone can officially begin their Christmas preparations. While this means it is time for a whole lot of decorating, it also means it is time to get the final bits of Christmas shopping done.

While this should be a fun and happy time, there are unfortunately people out there looking to take advantage of holiday shoppers. Anyone looking to do a bit of shopping this holiday season needs to be careful in order to avoid becoming a victim of a crime so close to Christmas.

Shopping Safety Tips

While most people love this time of year for all sorts of reason from the weather to getting to spend time with family, thieves have different reasons for enjoying the holiday rush. They love the crowded stores and malls because that provides them with plenty of targets and enough chaos to cover their tracks. That is in addition to the shorter days which provide a lot of darkness for them to lurk in. In order to become a more difficult target and avoid being robbed or attacked while shopping, try following these tips.

  • Always lock doors and roll up windows on cars before going into stores.
  • Avoid talking to strangers. Some con-artists work in groups, one distracts the target while the other strikes.
  • Be aware of surroundings as walking to cars. Thieves like to hide behind larger vehicles, or even under your car.
  • Don’t carry too many bags at once, as this makes a person vulnerable.
  • Don’t dress in fancy or attention grabbing clothes while shopping. This can grab a thief’s attention and attract them to you.
  • Have your keys in your hands and ready to unlock your car before leaving the store. This way there is no fumbling to pull them out at the car itself, which makes a person vulnerable.
  • Hide any presents or other expensive items in the trunk so that lurking thieves cannot see them in the car.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable walking to your car, especially at night, ask a security guard or other store employee for an escort.
  • Park in safe areas, preferably under street lights to increase visibility at night. Also try parking close to the storefront to reduce the amount of time spent walking to a car. Avoid parking next to large trucks and vans.
  • Stay alert to what is going on around you.
  • When shopping in the evening or night, always bring a companion with you. There is safety in numbers.
  • Women should not carry purses with them, as these are easier targets for pickpockets. Try to stick to carrying only a single credit/debit card while shopping. This way, no cash can be stolen and only one card has to be canceled if taken.

Online Shopping Safety Tips

With advances in technology, online shopping has become a very large part of the holiday experience. Since online shopping has become so huge, crooks have begun to take advantage of it. In order to avoid falling victim to these people, follow these tips:

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi in general, but never use it when shopping or banking online.
  • Before filling out private information on an online form, investigate the company/website to ensure that it is trustworthy.
  • If you have fallen victim to an online scam, be sure to close the associated credit card immediately.
  • Learn to spot and avoid email and social media scams, which become more prominent this time of year.
  • Never give out social security numbers online. No online store will ever need that information.
  • Never click on links from unknown sources.
  • Only go to trusted websites by entering the address in the address bar. Avoid clicking links because scammers love to make fake links that lead to their own sites.
  • Only shop on trusted websites, preferably with “https” in front of the address. The “s” signifies that the website is secure, thus making it more trustworthy. Most modern browsers now display a padlock symbol in the address bar next to secure sites.

Don’t Fall Victim to Crooks

As Christmas draws nearer, more and more people go shopping for gifts for their loved ones. Unfortunately, there are thousands of crooks and other horrible people out there looking to take advantage of holiday shoppers.

So long as a person follows the tips above, they should be able to reduce the chances of getting scammed or robbed this holiday season. Do you have any tips that didn’t make the list above? If so, share them in the comments down below and help out others.

california privacy laws

California’s Privacy Laws

california privacy laws

Everybody has a right to privacy, especially here in California. No one wants to deal with someone spying on them in private situations. That is why the state of California has a few different laws revolving around people’s right to privacy.

According to state law, there are certain areas where a person should be able to expect and receive privacy. Anyone who breaks that privacy can face legal consequences. California residents should be aware of these laws so that they don’t end up accidentally breaking them.

Laws about Recording People in California

California Penal Code (PC) 647 is the state’s disorderly conduct law. It covers all sorts of things from prostitution, aggressive begging, and invasion of privacy. Specifically, sections i and j of this law relate to privacy.

PC 647i refers to the act of peeping. Under this law, it is a crime for a person to linger, loiter, or prowl on someone’s private property and peek into the doors and windows of any inhabited structure. An example of this would be trespassing onto someone else’s property and then peeking into their home’s window to see if their home, or peeking into a bedroom to watch someone changing clothes.

PC 647j makes it a crime for any person to look into an area where a person would normally expect privacy. It doesn’t matter if a person uses their eyes, binoculars, a cellphone, or any other sort of device to look into the area. Areas where privacy is naturally expected include:

  • Bedrooms.
  • Bathrooms.
  • Changing rooms.
  • Tanning booths.
  • Any other room where one would reasonably expect privacy.

Examples of breaking this law would include recording someone in a bathroom or changing room, or even filming someone under their clothes.

Another law to consider when referring to privacy is California’s eavesdropping law, PC 632. California is considered a two-party consent state. This means that in order for a confidential conversation to be recorded, all parties involved need to give their consent. If a person records a private conversation without consent from everyone involved, they could face legal trouble.

Penalties of Invasion of Privacy

The penalties for invasion of privacy vary depending on which law was broken. For instance, both PC 647i & j fall under California’s disorderly conduct law. Both of these crimes are primarily charged as misdemeanors. This means they come with the following consequences:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

However, if a person has been charged with an offense under PC 647j before, or the victim of the crime was under the age of 18, the charges increase to:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,000.

Meanwhile, PC 632 is known as a wobbler offense. This means it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the facts of the case and the accused’s criminal record. When charged as a misdemeanor, the person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,500.

Meanwhile, felony eavesdropping charges can earn a person:

  • Up to 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $2,500.

Don’t Record People in Private

In today’s modern world, where recording another person is so easily accomplished thanks to smart devices, knowing these laws is extra important. No one wants to end up in legal trouble for breaking a law they didn’t know about or understand. When it comes to recording people, whether it’s a conversation or a video, it is illegal to do so in situations where the recorded parties would normally expect privacy.

One key point to note is that law enforcement officers while on the job, are able to be recorded. This is due to the fact that they are civil employees and out in public where they would not normally expect privacy.

What do you think of California’s privacy laws surrounding recordings? Do you agree with them, or do you think they need to be modified? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

underage drinking laws

Can Minors Have Alcohol in California?

underage drinking laws

There are certain laws that everyone knows about, such as don’t drive over the speed limit, don’t steal things from other people, and anyone under 21 is not allowed to drink alcohol. However, while these laws are well known, a lot of people tend to ignore them, which is never a good idea.

Ignoring a law is a good way to get into trouble. One slip up could cause a person to be arrested or forced to pay a fine. This is especially true when it comes to laws surrounding minors and alcohol. Breaking a law is bad enough as an adult, abut as a minor it can lead to problems down the line.

Minors and Alcohol Laws in California

Here in the state of California, it is illegal for minors to consume alcohol under Business and Professions Code (BPC) 25658. Under this law, it is illegal to do the following:

  • Sell alcohol to a minor, anyone under the age of 21.
  • Buying alcohol as a minor is illegal.
  • It is a misdemeanor to give alcohol to a minor who then gets into a car accident for driving while drunk.
  • It is a misdemeanor to allow a minor to consume alcohol on business property regardless if the person knew the minor was under 21 or not.

BPC 25658 is just one of several state laws that restrict the usage of alcohol amongst minors. For instance, BPC 25662 makes it illegal for a minor to even be in possession of alcohol.

Under these two laws, a minor can never posses or consume alcohol, not even if their parent or legal guardian allows them to have the alcohol. While that particular instance may be okay in some states, it is illegal here in California. Minors can never have alcohol. This is further confirmed by DUI laws related to minors.

When it comes to driving while intoxicated, adults have to worry about having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. Minors get into trouble if they have a BAC over 0.01%.

Penalties of Breaking These Laws

In most instances of minors with alcohol, both the minor and the adult that provided them with the alcohol will face consequences. The exact consequences that a person will face are dependent on which law was broken. In most instances, the person will face misdemeanor charges.

When a minor is caught with alcohol in their possession, under BPC 25662, they face misdemeanor charges. This includes:

  • A $250 fine for first time offenses. A $500 fine for subsequent offenses.
  • 24 -32 hours of community service, either at an alcohol/drug treatment center or a county coroner’s office.
  • Participation in a youth drunk driver program.
  • 1 year driver’s license suspension or a 1 year delay in acquiring a driver’s license.

Breaking BPC 25658, whether as a minor consuming alcohol or as an adult providing alcohol to a minor, is a misdemeanor offense. Someone accused of this crime faces:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If a minor is caught driving while under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.01%, they will face a 1 year suspension of their driver’s license under Vehicle Code (VC) 23136. This is the state’s zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving.

If a minor is caught driving with a BAC of 0.05% or greater, they will face consequences under VC 23140. This is the states underage DUI law. It comes with the following, infraction level consequences:

  • No jail time.
  • 1 year driver’s license suspension.
  • 3 months of mandatory alcohol education program.

If a minor has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, than they can be charged with regular DUI, which carries harsher consequences.

Don’t Give Minors Alcohol

Alcohol can be enjoyable, when consumed responsibly. Minors under the age of 21 are often not mature enough to handle alcohol. This can lead to them over consuming, and then putting themselves into dangerous or life-threatening situations, which is why they are prohibited from drinking. This is also why it is such a big deal for adults to give alcohol to minors.

With the holiday season starting up, there will be a lot more parties and a lot more alcohol around. If anyone has family visiting from other states where minors are allowed to consume alcohol when their parent or legal guardian permits it, inform them that California sees things differently.

What do you think of California’s take on minors and alcohol? Is the state taking the right precautions or does it need to loosen up a bit? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

penalties for fighting in public

Fighting in Public Can Cause Problems

penalties for fighting in public

Getting along with everyone can be difficult. After all, everyone has different beliefs and opinions. However, just because two people don’t see eye to eye does not mean that they have to fight. Fights can lead to hurt feelings, and actual injuries if things become physical. No one wants that, or the legal consequences that can come with.

What some people may not realize is that getting into a fist fight with someone else in a public place is actually illegal here in California. In fact, anything that a person does in public that could be considered disturbing the peace can get them into trouble with the law.

California Penal Code 415

Here in California, Penal Code (PC) 415 is the state’s disturbing the peace law. This law makes it illegal for a person to:

  • Start a fight, or challenge someone to a fight, in a public place. An example of this would be shoving someone at a bar and then fighting with that person.
  • Willfully or maliciously disturbing another person with loud and unreasonable noises. A common example of this is when neighbors are arguing, so one sets up speakers pointed at the other’s house and plays loud music to annoy them.
  • Using offensive words in public that are likely to provoke a fight. This can be as simple as using a racial slur in a public place.

With those definitions, it is somewhat easy to see what kind of actions can get a person into trouble with this law. Basically, anything that might get someone hurt, or annoy them enough to start a fight, can be considered disturbing the peace.

Penalties for Disturbing the Peace

Here in California, PC 415 is considered a wobbler offense. This means that it can either be charged as an infraction or as a misdemeanor. This all depends on what exactly the person did.

When charged as an infraction, the person faces relatively light consequences. For instance, the person does not face any jail time. However, they do face a maximum fine of $250.

When PC 415 is charged as a misdemeanor, a person faces:

  • A max fine of $400.
  • Up to 90 days in county jail.
  • Informal probation.

If a person is accused of disturbing the peace while on school grounds and they are not a student or employee of the school, then they will automatically face misdemeanor charges. For a first time offense on school grounds, they will face the usual misdemeanor charges. For any subsequent offense on school grounds, the person will face harsher consequences, including:

  • At least 90 days in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

This increase in punishment on school grounds is likely due to the fact that children are nearby. They could get hurt if a fight broke out, or pickup bad habits or traits from watching adults disturb the peace.

Don’t Start Fights

Everyone just wants to have a peaceful life. Unfortunately, not everyone can agree on how to do that. This can quickly lead to fighting. However, every Californian should be aware of the fact that getting into a fight, especially in public, can get a person into legal trouble. It can even get a person sent to jail for a few months. That is something that nobody wants to happen.

Disturbing the peace of other people can easily get a person into trouble. Luckily, it is pretty easy to determine what counts as disturbing the peace. If a person is doing something that would annoy themselves if it were happening to them, then they probably shouldn’t be doing that thing as it could likely be considered disturbing the peace. This is the golden rule after all, do to others what you would want done to yourself.

What do you think of California’s take on disturbing the peace? Does the punishment match the crime, or do you think it should be modified? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

distracted walking laws

Distracted Walking Laws

distracted walking laws

Smart phones are pretty spectacular little devices. They allow their users to access all sorts of things whenever the person wants. While this has greatly increased the spread of knowledge and information, it has also created some problems.

Using smart phones can be incredibly addicting, making it hard to put them down. Pretty much everyone is aware of the dangers of driving and using a cellphone. However, that isn’t the only time when using a smart device can be dangerous. Even just walking and using a cell phone can be dangerous.

What Is Distracted Walking?

Smart devices do a lot for us, however, they are also very distracting. If a person isn’t watching where they are going because they are using a smart phone, they can easily run into something. Most of the time, the result is harmless, and even entertaining. At least for any witnesses. There are millions of videos online of people paying more attention to the phone in their hands than to the sidewalk in front of them and so they crash into something.

On sidewalks, the results of this lack of attention are often harmless. At crosswalks, they can be deadly. Pretty much everyone is taught as a kid to look both ways before crossing a street. Unfortunately, a lot of adults forget to do just that. This becomes even more prominent when smart phones are added to the mix.

According to several studies, the dangerous issue is getting worse each year as smart phones become more popular and more advanced. This in turn leads to more distracted walking, which leads to more pedestrian involved accidents. The issue is becoming so prominent across not only California, but the world as a whole, that many jurisdictions are looking for ways to deter people from committing the act in the first place.

Laws against “Walking and Talking”

Several cities across the nation have taken matters into their own hands and enacted ordinances that allow their local law enforcement agents to issue tickets to anyone caught crossing the street while using a cellphone. Depending on how aggressive the city wants to be on the issue, a first time offender can either face a warning, or a small fee, likely no more than $100.

Hawaii’s state capital of Honolulu enacted a law like this and called it their zombie law. This is in reference to how people using phones while walking often move around and stumble like zombies.

There’s a Time and Place for That

The bottom line is, there is a time and place for everything. Walking down the street is not a great time to be scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Crossing the street is an even worse time to check a smart phone.

Remember everyone, look both ways for traffic before crossing a street.

Doing this, and putting the smart phone away can easily prevent a person from getting hurt, and can even save their life. If a person values their health and safety, then they should either put the phone away while walking, or stop and take a moment to examine the phone before proceeding again. After all, nothing on that little device could be worth more than a person’s life.

If that isn’t enough to deter a person, than perhaps the possibility of getting a ticket for distracted walking will stop them. What do you think of so called zombie laws? Are they a good idea or not? Would you be happy if your own city enacted one? Let us know in the comments down below.

halloween dui costs in california

Halloween and DUI’s

halloween dui costs in california

October is here and that means Halloween is only a few weeks away. For kids, this means getting ready for a massive candy score after trick-or-treating. Adults are often more concerned with what parties they will be attending that night. These can be a lot of fun, provided the person is responsible with their actions.

It’s no secret that there will be alcohol at these parties, and most adults will enjoy themselves. This alone isn’t a problem. The real problem arises when people who have been drinking decide that they are going to drive. Drunk driving is always a bad idea. It can get a person into a lot of trouble, and yet people break this law all of the time.

DUI Is Illegal in California

It is illegal to get behind the wheel of vehicle while intoxicated, or high, in the state of California. The reason for this is that being drunk, or high, greatly reduces a person’s mental capacities. They have less control over their body movements and have slower reaction times.

All of this adds up to really bad driving. If something unexpected happens in front of a drunk driver, they will be less likely to react in time to avoid an accident. They also struggle to perform simple tasks such as driving in a straight line. Bottom line, all of this puts people in danger.

Penalties of Driving While Drunk

The penalties for driving while drunk here in California depend on a few different factors. For starters, is this the driver’s first time breaking this law, or have they done this before? Also, was someone injured or even killed due to the driver’s actions. All of this plays a part in how the driver is punished for driving drunk.

For a first time offense, a person faces:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 4 month driver’s license suspension or 6 months with an ignition interlocking device (IID).
  • 3 – 9 months of DUI school.

A second offense comes with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 2 year driver’s license suspension or 1 year with an IID.
  • 18 – 30 months of DUI school.

Third and subsequent offenses come with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 3 year driver’s license suspension or 2 years with an IID.
  • 30 months of DUI school.

If another person is injured due to the driver’s actions, then the driver can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. For a misdemeanor DUI with injury, the penalties are pretty much the same as a first time DUI offense, except the max fine is increased to $5,000. For felony DUI with injuries, the penalties are:

  • 16 months to 16 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $5,000.
  • 1 year of driving with an IID.
  • 18 – 30 months of DUI school.

As one can see, the more often a person drives while drunk, or high, the worse the consequences become.

Don’t Drive While Drunk

Driving while drunk is bad enough on any other day of the year, but becomes extra dangerous on Halloween. On this night, lots of kids are out and about trick-or-treating. This means that a drunk driver is more likely to get into an accident on this night, and that accident is more likely to involve children.

No sane person would want to risk getting into a car accident with children, so why take the chance? That is why anyone planning on drinking this Halloween should also plan a safe ride home. Assign a designated driver (DD) before going to the party, and make sure the DD knows they are the DD. In addition, getting a safe ride home is less than a phone call away nowadays with apps like Uber and Lyft. There is no reason for anyone to drive drunk.

A person can usually also count on a friend or family member to come pick them up too. While the loved one may not enjoy the call, it is arguably better than finding out someone was hurt because they decided to drive drunk rather than bug someone.

Let’s keep this Halloween safe and fun by not driving while drunk or high this year!

animal rescue scam

Animal Rescue Scam

animal rescue scam

A lot of people out there love animals. This is why so many people own cats, dogs, and other critters. Typically, animal lovers will do whatever they can to help animals, especially those in need. It is a very admirable quality. Unfortunately, some bad people out there have figured out how to take advantage of that.

Scammers know that they can play with people’s heartstrings in order to steal money from them. They’ve figured out that by pretending to be from a local animal charity and giving some sob story about an animal, they can get people to give them money without much question.

Animal Shelter Donation Scams

Thanks to advances in modern technology, scammers can get in touch with people through various different channels. They can get in touch with you through:

  • Email.
  • Social media.
  • Phone calls.

Typically what scammers do with this scam is post pictures of animals that are “at risk” of being put down. They will ask for money donations, typically cash, money transfers, or in rare cases gift cards, to save the animal. Many kind people will jump at the opportunity to save an animal and will give up the money without questions. This is what the scammer wants. They don’t want their victims to question or worry about where the money is going.

Scammers like cash, money transfers and gift cards because the money is hard to trace once it’s been handed over. This means that once a victim gives up some money, it is gone for good, and it never goes toward helping any animals.

Tips for Dealing with Scams

One of the best tips for dealing with or avoiding scams is to never click links in emails. This is especially true when the email comes from an unknown email address. Some other tips include:

  • Be wary of anyone who contacts you asking for money.
  • Communicate with the charity directly, not through whatever means you were contacted.
  • Double check that the pictured animal actually exists and is in need of help.
  • Never wire transfer money ton an unknown recipient.
  • Real charities don’t get pushy with asking for donations.
  • Verify that the charity is legit.
  • Verify the email came from the official charity, not some random person.

Penalties for Scamming in California

Scamming people for their hard earned money is illegal in California. There are several laws against the act, and which one a scammer will be charged with is dependent on the scam that was run and who the victims were. Due to this fact, a scammer can face either misdemeanor or felony charges.

Misdemeanor penalties for scamming will typically be:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Informal probation.

Felony penalties for scamming can include:

  • A state prison sentence of varying lengths dependent on the actual crime.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Formal probation.
  • A possible strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Don’t Get Scammed Trying to do a Good Deed

No one wants to get scammed, especially when they are trying to help an animal in need. Unfortunately, there are bad people out there that love to get money the easy way. These scammers have figured out they can convince people to just give them money by pretending there is an animal in need.

Whenever a person contacts you asking for money that should send up red flags about the legitimacy of the charity. Don’t let yourself get scammed while trying to do a good deed.

Do you have any tips about avoiding scams like this? If so, share them in the comments below and help other people avoid this scam and others like it.

distracted driving laws in california

What Kind of Driving Is Worse Than Drunk Driving?

distracted driving laws in california

Driving is something that pretty much every single adult does every day. They drive to get to work, to run errands, and take their kids wherever they need to go. Driving is such a part of everyone’s day to day life that no one really bats an eye at it. Everyone is used to driving, which makes driving more dangerous.

When people deal with something on a daily basis, they tend to forget how risky that something can be. This is definitely the case with driving. On its own, driving can be very dangerous. When travelling that quickly, it doesn’t take much for something to go wrong. This is why a driver needs to keep their focus on the road and the task at hand. Looking away for even a second can have deadly consequences.

Distracted Driving Isn’t Harmless

Distracted driving often seems harmless, which is why millions of people do it every single day. However, these people often fail to realize that by distracting themselves like that, they are increasing their chances of being in an accident. Cellphone use while driving is responsible for roughly 1.6 million car accidents in the US each year. This is around 64% of all car accidents in the US.

Cars are large, heavy objects moving at very high speeds. They need precise control to keep them operating the way we want them to. One small jerk of the steering wheel while driving at 50mph can send the car careening in an unintended direction. If a person takes their eyes off of the car in front of them, they might not see it slam on the brakes, which means they won’t have time to stop their car before slamming into the one in front.

It doesn’t cause much to cause a distraction, which is why certain activities should never be performed while driving. Some of these activities include:

  • Texting
  • Phone calls, hands-free or not
  • Smartphone usage
  • Eating
  • Applying makeup
  • Looking for something in the car
  • Talking to other passengers

All of these activities seem harmless, but reduce a driver’s concentration, thereby increasing their chances of being in an accident.

In some studies, it has been found that texting and driving actually reduces a driver’s response time more than being drunk. This means that texting and driving is more dangerous than driving drunk.

California Laws against Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is such a big deal that the state of California even has laws against it. What started out as laws against using a cellphone, expanded to cover other, common activities that could be considered distracted driving.

If any over the age of 18 is caught using a cellphone or other electronic devices, without hands-free, while driving will face infraction level charges, which means some small fines. Anyone under the age of 18 using any sort of electronic device, even hands-free, while face an infraction and possible suspension of their driver’s license or permit.

Don’t Drive While Distracted

When driving, it is very easy to become distracted. In most cases, looking away for a second seems harmless, and sometimes it is. However, there are plenty of examples of when a person looked away for a second and caused a car accident. If the driver is lucky, they will be able to walk away for the incident. Unfortunately, not all drivers are lucky.

Distracted driving affects everyone, from fresh new drivers to seasoned veterans. It is every driver’s problem, and everyone needs to commit to the idea of remaining focused while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

juvenile procedure laws in california

Minors Breaking the Law

juvenile procedure laws in california

Mveryone knows that kids get into trouble. Luckily, for the most part, kids tend to only get in trouble with their parents. As long as parents keep an eye on their children, and play an active role in the child’s life, the kid is less likely to wind up in serious trouble. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes kids mess up in a big way, and find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Finding out that a child has broken a law is a terrible situation for a parent to deal with. No parent ever wants to answer the front door, or a phone, to learn that their child is in some serious trouble. While rare, this does happen from time to time. As such, a parent should be aware of what happens when a minor has a run in with law enforcement agents.

How the Law Handles Juveniles

When a minor gets in trouble with the law, officers react a little differently. In most cases, minors receive lesser penalties for crimes than an adult would. Still, there are times when a minor could find themselves locked up.

What happens to a minor who broke the law is largely dependent on the crime itself. If the charge is relatively minor, then the child will likely be allowed to go home, or be escorted home. Most of the time, the law prefers that parents take care of the children themselves. However, that is not always an option.

If things are a little more serious, then the minor may be given a summons to appear in court at a later date. If things are real bad, then the minor may be arrested and taken to juvenile hall.

Juvenile Hall

Just because a minor is taken to juvenile hall does not mean that they will be forced to stay there forever. This isn’t the end of the world.

A probation officer will look at the case and decide how to proceed. The officer can do one of the following:

  • Give the minor a citation to appear in court and send him/her home.
  • Place the minor on probation, which allows them to go home and avoid going to court, unless they continue to misbehave.
  • Hold the minor in juvenile hall until a judge can look at the case.

Minors in Court

When dealing with courts, minors go to a separate court that focuses solely on minors. If a child has to go to a hearing in court, they could be going for any of the following reasons:

  • Detention Hearing. This will determine if the child needs to stay in juvenile hall or not.
  • Transfer Hearing. This will determine if the case will stay at this level, or be moved up to an adult court.
  • Adjudication. This is the actual trial held in front of a judge, without a jury.
  • Disposition Hearing. If the juvenile is found guilty, this is where they receive their sentencing.

Despite the fact that these court hearings are for minors, they are still very serious. A person should treat these hearings the exact same way they would any other court appearances. This means a person, especially the minor, should dress appropriately and behave while in the court.

Consequences of Court

The goal of the juvenile delinquency system is to rehabilitate minors and to help mold them into good, well-behaved individuals. As such, judges have a lot of options when it comes to sentencing any minor that is found guilty.

What is likely the best case scenario for a guilty verdict, is probation. This means the minor is able to go home. They just have to be on their best behavior to ensure they don’t receive a worse punishment. Some common probation conditions can include:

  • A curfew.
  • Going to counseling.
  • Going to school.
  • Making restitutions to the victims.
  • Performing community service.

A worst case scenario would be when a judge determines that a child is better off away from their home. The child could become a ward of the state, which is where the state takes responsibility for the child. The minor could be placed into a probation camp, or into California’s Division of Juvenile Justice. Neither of these are great outcomes.

Be a Part of Your Child’s Life

No parent ever wants their child to have to face hardship, and getting into trouble with the law definitely counts as hardship. Luckily, a child has to screw up pretty majorly in order to wind up in juvenile hall. So long as a parent takes an active role in their kid’s life, they should be able to prevent that from ever happening.

When kids have guidance, they are able to make better choices, and therefore are less likely to end up getting into trouble in the first place. That is why parents need to pay attention to their kids. If they don’t, their child could make a bad choice and find him or herself in juvie.