price gouging laws in california

What Is Price Gouging?

price gouging laws in california

Anyone who knows about economics and the concept supply and demand knows that as demand goes up and supply struggles to keep up, prices can rise too. The more people want something, and the less of it there is, the more expensive that item becomes. This is something that a lot of people are experiencing as shortages of basic goods abound thanks to the panic caused by the COVID-19 (Corona) Virus.

As people struggle to get basic necessities, some people are taking advantage of the shortage to make a quick buck. For instance, the prices of hand sanitizer and face masks shot up by roughly 500% on eBay. Similar practices can be found pretty much everywhere due to the virus, and while some people may think it is okay, raising prices like this during an emergency is pretty frowned upon by most people.

Is It Legal?

Here in the state of California, the act of price gouging is made illegal under the Penal Code (PC) 396. Under this law, it is illegal for someone to unjustifiably raise the prices of basic goods and services by excessive amounts during a state of emergency. As far as the law is concerned, an excessive amount is 10% or more of a price increase during an emergency compared to the prices before the emergency was declared.

The items that are protected from price gouging are mostly basic household items that families regularly need. Some of the items that are specifically listed under the law include:

  • Food and drink.
  • Pet food.
  • Toiletries.
  • Emergency supplies.
  • Diapers.
  • Batteries.
  • Radios.
  • Medical supplies.
  • Construction materials.
  • Oils and gasoline.

Services that could be essential to recovering from a disaster are also protected from price gouging. Some of these services include:

  • Transportation.
  • Storage.
  • Towing.
  • Building repairs.
  • Hotel rates.

Prices of these goods and services can legally be raised slightly to reflect shortages or an increase in the cost of labor during the emergency. In these instances, the seller or service provider will have to prove that the increased prices were necessary.

The Consequences of Price Gouging

PC 396 makes the act of price gouging a misdemeanor offense. Any seller or service provider who is caught price gouging their customers will face misdemeanor charges. The penalties for this crime are:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

How to Deal with Price Gouging?

Price gouging is monitored and enforced by the California Attorney General and local district attorneys. If a person suspects that they are dealing with price gouging, then they should report the incident to their local district attorney’s office or go to the California Attorney General’s website where there is a form that can be filled out online.

During a state of emergency, such as a global pandemic, no one should have to deal with increased prices on necessary goods and services just so one bad person can make a quick buck. This is why price gouging is a crime here in the state of California.

What are your thoughts on price gouging and California’s law against it? Is it a good idea to protect people during times of emergency? Is the punishment for the crime appropriate? Let us know wt you think in the comments down below.

california looting laws

What Counts as Looting in California?

california looting laws

Whenever an emergency strikes, people are bound to panic. This is only natural as systems that people have been able to rely on for their day to day lives begin to shut down. This is exactly what is happening as the COVID-19, Corona, Virus pandemic spreads across the world. In response to this virus, many non-essential systems have been shut down to reduce the spread of the disease.

Combine this with the fact that thousands, if not millions, of people have been panic stockpiling all kinds of resources, making it harder for everyone to get even the essentials, a lot of people are scared. For most people, this just means staying at home and avoiding going into public, which is what everyone should be doing anyway.

Unfortunately, there are people out there that see the deserted shopping centers and decide to use that to their advantage. These people figure that if no one is around to stop them, they can do whatever they want without fear of repercussion. However, that is not the case. Law enforcement agencies are still operating and enforcing the law. If they catch anyone looting, there will be consequences.

California’s Different Looting Laws

California state law defines the act of looting as someone committing second-degree burglary within a county or area that is currently experiencing a state of emergency due to natural or man-made disasters. This definition does include the national emergency called in response to the Corona Virus.

The following laws can all be considered looting under California law:

  • Penal Code (PC) 459 Burglary
  • PC 484 Petty Theft
  • PC 487 Grand Theft

Burglary is defined as the act of entering a house or any other building with the intent of committing larceny. In other words, burglary is the act of going into a building to steal something. First-degree burglary occurs when a person enters a residential building. Second-degree burglary occurs when a person enters a commercial building.

Petty theft is defined as wrongfully taking someone else’s property that is valued at less than $950. Grand theft is the same, except the value of the items exceeds $950.

The difference between burglary and theft is that burglary is entering a place with the intent to steal something. Theft is the actual act of stealing something. This means that a person may not be charged with theft if they try and fail to steal something, but they could still be charged with burglary for attempting to do so.

The Penalties of Looting

The penalties for looting are dependent on what particular crime the person committed. When it comes to burglary or grand theft, a person can either be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case.

Looting by burglary and looting grand theft have the same consequences. When the crimes are charged as misdemeanors, they come with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Up to 240 hours of community service.

As a felonies, the crimes comes with:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.
  • Up to 240 hours of community service.

Petty theft looting is always a misdemeanor offense and comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Up to 80 hours of community service.

Don’t Be a Looter

Stealing is never a good idea. However, doing it during an emergency is especially horrible. People already have enough problems to deal with during an emergency, such as the spreading of a virus. They shouldn’t have to worry about people looting their homes and stores. This is why the act of looting is illegal, and it is taken very seriously.

What are your thoughts on California’s looting laws and looters in general? Do you think the laws are enough of a deterrent or should the consequences be more severe? Maybe you think the laws are too harsh as is. Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

california stalking laws

What Counts as Stalking in California?

california stalking laws

In healthy relationships, there is an equal amount of love and adoration from both parties involved. Unfortunately, not every relationship is a healthy one. There are a lot of one-sided relationships out there that are not good for either parties involved. What can be incredibly upsetting, and even scary, is when a person is way more into a person than that person is in to them.

In extreme cases, the person who is infatuated with the other could become a stalker. Having a stalker can be truly terrifying and can cause a person fear for their own safety. Due to this fact, the act of stalking someone is illegal here in the state of California. Anyone caught stalking another person will face legal consequences.

Stalking Explained

Being stalked by someone can be very upsetting, even traumatizing, which is why it is illegal to stalk someone in California. Penal Code (PC) 646.9 defines stalking as:

“Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.”

That is a whole lot of legal speak that can be a bit confusing, so let’s break it down a little bit.

  • Willfully – For something to be considered stalking, a person has to willfully choose to commit the act, which means he or she did it one purpose.
  • Maliciously – Maliciously means that the person intentionally did a wrongful act with the intent of disturbing, annoying, or injuring the other person.
  • Harassment – Harassment means acting in a way that annoys, alarms, torments, or terrorizes another individual.
  • Credible Threat – A credible threat is one that the threatened individual would have reason to believe the person could carry out, and therefore causes the victim to fear for their safety, or the safety of their immediate family. The threat can be made verbally, in writing, or electronically.
  • Immediate Family – Means spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, or any person who lives in the same house as the person in question.

Knowing all of that helps one understand the legal definition of stalking. Basically, if a person knowingly bothers another individual to the point where they begin to fear for the safety of themselves or their loved ones, that person is guilty of stalking in California.

The Penalties for Stalking

Under PC 646.9, stalking is a wobbler offense. This means that anyone found guilty of the crime of stalking can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. The severity of the charges is dependent on the facts of each particular case. Stalking charges will always be charged as a felony if the accused has been charged with stalking before, even if it was a different person, or if the stalker violated a restraining order.

With misdemeanor charges, a person faces:

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

With felony charges, a person faces:

  • Up to 5 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Felony probation.

On top of these charges, the victim of the stalking can also sue the stalker for damages due to the stalking. This can add up to a lot more money that the accused would have to pay.

Felony stalking charges can also negatively affect a person’s immigration status.

Everyone Just Wants to Be Safe

Everyone just wants to feel safe, and being constantly followed and harassed can be very disturbing. Being stalked can cause a person to worry all day, every day. Not just for their own safety, but for the safety of the people that they care about most. This constant worrying is bad for a person health, both mental and physical. This is why the act of stalking is illegal in California.

If a person is ever being harassed like this, they need to contact their local authorities. Doing so can get the stalker arrested and allow the person to feel safe once again.

What do you think of California’s stalking definition and law? Are the consequences of the crime fair, too much, or too little? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

california car seat laws

What Are California’s Car Seat Laws?

california car seat laws

The goal of every good parent is to keep their child safe. Unfortunately, this task is a lot easier said than done thanks to all of the different ways a child can get hurt. At times, it can feel a bit overwhelming for a parent, but they never give up. Their child is counting on them after all.

One area where kids need extra protection is when they are riding in a car. People often forget how dangerous driving can be, until there is an accident. In order to help keep kids safe, parents are required to put their kids into car seats while driving them anywhere. Failing to do so could lead to their child being severely hurt, and to the parent facing legal troubles.

The Rules on Car Seats

This can come as a shock to some people, but seat belts can actually cause more harm than good to little ones in a car. This is due to the fact that built-in seat belts on cars are designed to keep adults, not children, safe in the event of an accident. This is why car seats are so important, they are designed for children and babies.

The problem is, figuring out when to move a child up to the next level of seating can be a bit confusing. This matter is only made more stressful due to the fact that the state of California has a law requiring children to be properly restrained while riding in vehicles. This means that getting the car seat wrong could result in the parent paying a fine.

Vehicle Code (VC) 27360 is California’s child restraint law. This law dictates what kind of car seat a child needs at what stage in their life.

For starters, all children under the age of 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat. The only exception to this is if the child weighs over 40 pounds or is taller than 40 inches. Basically, once a child reaches any one of those limits, they can move on to a forward-facing car seat.

Experts recommend keeping kids in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible due to their safety, but parents should always be aware of the car seats weight and height limits, which typically top out at 40 pounds and 40 inches. This is why kids are allowed to be moved up to forward-facing car seats when they reach those sizes, even if they aren’t over the age of 2 yet.

In California, children have to be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old, or are 4’9”. Again, experts recommend keeping a child in a car seat or booster seat until they max out the weight and height restrictions of the seat.

To simplify things, a parent just needs to follow the weight and height guidelines for the car seats. Keep a child in a rear-facing car seat until they are too big for it, then move them to a forward-facing seat until they eventually outgrow that. From there, move them to a booster seat until they outgrow that, and then they should be big enough to wear a regular seat belt.

The Penalties for Not Using a Car Seat

Aside from the obvious fact that children will be more likely to be severely injured in the event of an accident when they are not properly restrained, a parent could face a nice little ticket for not buckling up their child properly.

When a driver fails to properly restrain their child in a vehicle, they will face the following:

  • A $100 fine for a first offence.
  • A $250 fine for any subsequent offense.
  • 1 point on their driving record.

It is important to remember that the prices listed above are only the base prices. Thanks to all of the additional fines, fees, and assessments that California has tacked on, the ticket will really cost a lot more than those prices.

While the singular point on the driving record doesn’t sound all that bad, a person needs to remember that if a driver accumulates too many points within a certain amount of years, they can be labeled a negligent driver and have their license suspended or even revoked altogether.

Buckle Up Your Kids

Car seats and the California laws surrounding them may seem complicated and confusing, but they are actually pretty straight forward. As long as a parent follows the guidelines for height and weight limits on their child’s seat, they won’t have to worry. Their child will be safe in the car and they will be safe from getting a ticket for not properly restraining a child in a vehicle.

What do you think about the state’s child seat laws? Are they a good idea to help keep kids safe, or do they over complicate things? What about the penalties for failing to use a car seat, are they fair or too much? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Should Minors Be Banned By Law from Having a Cellphone?

teenager cell phone ban

Technology has become such an integral part of everyone’s day to day lives. Most people use some form of smart technology every single day of their life from computers to cellphones. Most adults are well aware of how amazing and helpful this kind of technology is after spending their childhoods without it. This causes many adults to say the age old adage: Kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it.

In a way, this is very true. Kids today don’t have to go to libraries and rent books to write a paper thanks to the internet. They don’t have to go to the local video rental store to pick out a movie to watch. They don’t even have to rewind their movies when they’re done! The internet also makes it possible for kids to constantly stay connected with their friends and peers. Sadly, this last benefit does seem to be a bit problematic.

Social media can be nice, but it can also be addicting and detrimental to a person’s mental health. This is especially true for kids, which is why one lawmaker in Vermont has proposed a change how minors use cellphones.

The Problem with Cellphones

Cellphones grant a person access to the internet, and therefore the world, whenever they want it. This can be very beneficial in some instances and troublesome in others. For instance, cellphones can be very distracting while driving. If a driver looks at a phone while behind the wheel, they are paying less attention to the road in front of them. This makes it more likely for them to cause an accident with deadly consequences. This is especially true for teens who are more easily distracted.

Another issue with cellphones is that not only do they give a person constant access to the world, they also give the world constant access to the person. Thanks to social media and phone notifications, it can be hard for a person to get away from some people for a while without abandoning the phone altogether for a few hours. This is hard enough for an adult to do, since social media is addicting. Just think of how hard it is for kids to put down their phones.

When kids don’t put down their phones, they can get bombarded by messages from friends and peers at school. Sometimes, these messages aren’t nice or friendly at all. Sadly, there have been many cases where bullying at school has followed a child home through their phone and pushed that kid to the brink where they make a decision they can never come back from.

A Vermont Senator’s Response

In an effort to reduce teen driving accidents and suicides caused by cellphone usage, one Vermont lawmaker, Senator John Rodgers, has introduced a bill that would restrict cellphone usage amongst minors. The bill states that people under the age of 21 are not mature enough to own guns, smoke cigarettes, and drink alcohol so they are also not mature enough to own and use cellphones.

The major talking point about this bill is how online bullying through social media, which can be accessed on cellphones, can lead to suicide. Apparently, in Vermont the legislature has recently been talking about suicide prevention and how best to protect and provide aide to people who need it.

Sen. Rodgers stated that he doesn’t expect the bill to get passed and that he probably wouldn’t vote for it himself. As a supporter of the Second Amendment, he seems to have presented the bill more as a way of showing how cellphones can be more dangerous than guns.

Should Minors Have Cellphones?

It is hard to deny how addicting cellphones can be. Even as adults who might have grown up without cellphones or social media, it can sometimes be hard to log out or put the device down. The sad thing is that adults have more self-control than minors, and so what is addicting for us is very addicting for minors. This is why kids are often glued to their phones.

This kind of behavior can be problematic for minors by exposing them to a whole lot of negative things that they may not be ready to deal with on their own. This is why parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online. They also need to make sure that their kids know that they can always come and talk to them about anything. Failing to do so could have disastrous results that no parent should ever have to deal with.

What do you think of this proposed bill in Vermont? Is it a good idea to prevent minors, anyone under 21, from having a cellphone, or is it a terrible and impractical one? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

california road rage laws

How Dangerous Is Road Rage?

california road rage laws

Ask anyone who has ever driven a car before, and they will likely tell you that they’ve experienced road rage before. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or doesn’t know what road rage is. For those unaware, road rage is a driver’s uncontrolled anger that is usually caused by another motorist’s acts and results in aggressive or violent behavior. So, if a driver cuts off another driver, who then begins cursing and flipping off the other driver that is an act of road rage.

Since every driver experiences some level of road rage from time to time, one might expect that it isn’t that big of a deal. However, that is not the case. Road rage is dangerous. When people get angry, especially that angry, they don’t always think straight and can make very bad decisions. There are far too many news stories of people getting hurt or even killed due to road rage.

Road Rage Can Kill

In 2016, AAA conducted a survey of American drivers that found that 80% of drivers experienced significant anger, frustration, or road rage while driving. That is a whole lot of people getting upset behind the wheel. If a person were to look at California Highway Patrol (CHP) 2018 statistics, they would find that around two thirds of all fatal car accidents in Southern California were caused by road rage incidents.

Recently, two separate driving incidents claimed four lives. In one incident, a woman was run over by her car. In another, a car full of teens crashed into a tree, killing three of the passengers. In both incidents, road rage is blamed for the accident.

In the first accident, a female driver and her passenger accidentally bumped into a motorcycle driver. The two vehicles pulled over near an apartment complex where one of the women exited the car and began arguing with the motorcyclist. As the driver began to drive away, she somehow fell out of the car and was pinned between her car and a tree, she died of her injuries. The passenger than fled the scene with the vehicle and was later arrested for hit and run.

In the other incident, a man has been charged with homicide after he intentionally rammed his car into another vehicle. The act forced the second vehicle off of the road and into a tree. The 6 teenage passengers in the vehicle were trapped in the car until emergency officials arrived. 3 of the teens died to injuries sustained in the accident. The man fled the scene and was later arrested with hit and run charges, which were eventually changed to homicide. It is unclear why he rammed the vehicle off the road, but officials suspect road rage.

What Can Road Rage Get You Charged With

Road rage itself is not a crime. After all, a person can’t be prohibited from getting mad while driving. However, what is illegal is acting on that anger and trying to hurt other people. There are a few different ways that a person can get into trouble with the law if they give into road rage.

  • Reckless driving: California Vehicle Code (VC) 23103 makes it illegal for a person to drive a vehicle on a highway with wanton disregard for the safety of people and property. If a drivers swerves in a threatening manner, or even speeds to try to block someone else, they are driving recklessly because of road rage.
  • Assault: California Penal Code (PC) 240 makes it illegal for a person threaten to cause great bodily harm to another individual. The person doesn’t actually have to attack another individual to be guilty of assault, they just have to threaten to do so. This can occur if a person gets out of their vehicle and starts threatening another driver.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon: As one can guess, this is similar to assault, but the person makes the threats while brandishing a deadly weapon. For those unaware, a car is considered a deadly weapon here in California. This means threatening to run someone over with a car is illegal under PC 245. Pulling out a gun is illegal under this law, and PC 417, which prohibits a person from brandishing a firearm.
  • Battery: This occurs when a person actually attacks someone. This is made illegal under PC 242. This can occur when a person actually rams their car into another vehicle, or when they get into a physical fight with another driver.
  • Hit and Run: Under VC 20001 and VC 20002, a hit and run occurs whenever a vehicle damages property or injures a person and the driver then flees the scene instead of sticking around and administering aid. So if a person rams their car into another vehicle and then flees the scene, they could face hit and run charges, amongst other things.

Don’t Give In to Road Rage

Everyone gets a little frustrated when they are driving from time to time. That is normal. However, when a person gets frustrated, they should not act out because of that anger. Instead, they should remain calm and let the incident go. If they don’t, the anger can get worse until the person does something that they might regret later.

If you want to check out some tips on how to avoid or manage road rage, click here.

Remember, everyone driving on the road is trying to get somewhere, and they want to get their safely. Instead of getting angry and making things worse, try to forgive and be more considerate while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Doing so could help save lives.

Do you have any tips for how to deal with road rage? If so, share them in the comments down below and help other drivers keep a level head behind the wheel.

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.

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.