california street racing laws

Is Street Racing Legal in California?

california street racing laws

Currently, California roads are clearer than they have ever been in a very long time. After all, roads in California, especially those in Southern California, are notorious for being filled to the brim with bumper to bumper traffic. With so many people staying home, driving on state roads has been a lot more pleasant for those few instances when people have to go somewhere important.

Unfortunately, something this nice can’t exist without some people taking advantage of this. Some people are viewing these extra clear roads as chances to push the pedal to the metal. Unfortunately for these people, speeding and racing other vehicles on highways is still very much illegal in California. With less traffic on the roads, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers are ready and waiting to pull people over.

California’s Speed Contest Laws

Here in the state of California, street racing is considered an illegal act. A person who is caught street racing will face two different charges for the act.

The first charge a person will face comes under Vehicle Code (VC) 23109, speed contests. This law makes it illegal for anyone to willfully engage in a speed contest by driving a motor vehicle on any given highway. A speed contest is described as any instance where a driver is racing another vehicle or a clock.

Before anyone gets too excited, the term highway in this instance refers to any type of public street or property that is open to the public. This includes freeways, surface streets, and parking lots. The only places where people can legally race their vehicles have to be privately owned lands where the racers have permission to be.

The other law that street racers can get charged with is VC 23103. This is the state’s reckless driving law. Under this law, it is illegal for any individual to drive a motor vehicle with wanton disregard for the safety of people and property. In other words, it is illegal to drive a vehicle in a reckless way that could easily hurt someone or damage something. Driving at excessive speeds on roads not meant for racing is a perfect example of reckless driving.

What Are the Penalties for Street Racing?

The exact penalties that a person will face for street racing depend on what charges they face. Engaging in a speed contest is a misdemeanor offense here in California. If a person is charged with just VC 23109, then they will face the following for a first-time conviction:

  • Up to 90 days in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If a person has been convicted of speed contests before, then they will face harsher consequences:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 6-month driver’s license suspension.

If a person is convicted of reckless driving under VC 23103, then they will face misdemeanor charges that come with:

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

If reckless driving caused a minor injury, then the person will face:

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

If the reckless driving caused a serious injury to anyone other than the driver, then they can face felony charges that come with:

  • Up to 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

It is not uncommon for someone who is charged with VC 23109 to be charged with VC 23103 as well since speeding can be considered a form of reckless driving. If that is the case, then a person will face the combined effects of both charges.

Don’t Speed

Speeding and racing are both very dangerous acts. Just because the roads are suddenly clear does not mean that people can go out and start racing on them. There are still other people out on the road who could end up getting hurt because someone did something stupid.

Driving a car is a very big responsibility and people need to be aware of that. A driver’s decisions behind the wheel affect not only themselves but the other drivers and pedestrians around them. Making one bad decision could have disastrous consequences, and that is before the person is even arrested.

transporting marijuana laws

Transporting Marijuana in California

transporting marijuana laws

Nearly four years ago, Californians voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. That law went into effect in 2018 and as such, there is still some confusion about what is and isn’t legal when it comes to marijuana in the state of California. People are still unsure about what can and cannot get them into trouble when it comes to the drug.

While the drug is legalized for recreational use, it is heavily regulated. If a person doesn’t follow the rules and laws, then they can find themselves in some serious trouble even though they thought they were doing something legal. A big thing that people need to worry about when dealing with marijuana is transporting it.

Transporting and DUI

A big issue with transporting marijuana is the potential for DUI. A person is guilty of DUI if they drive a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in their system. This does include driving while high on marijuana.

As such, legal marijuana is subject to the same types of laws as alcohol. This means a driver cannot have an open container of marijuana in their vehicle. Marijuana also needs to be transported in the storage compartment of the vehicle, just like alcohol. Basically, if a person couldn’t expect to do something with alcohol in a vehicle, then they can’t do it with marijuana either.

A person caught driving high will face standard DUI charges.

Marijuana Possession and Transport Laws

When it comes to transporting the drug or someone keeping it on their person, they need to be careful. A person is only allowed to have so much marijuana in their possession at a time. If they have more than that legal amount, then they could face simple possession charges.

As far as California law is concerned, a person over the age of 21 can only have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, or up to 4 grams of concentrated cannabis, on them at a time. A person having any more than that in their possession at one time is illegal here in California. Having possession of the substance doesn’t just include the person holding the item. It can also include:

  • Being in a person’s home.
  • Being in a person’s car.

The person doesn’t have to actively be holding something to have possession of it, they just need to have the marijuana in a place where they have control. Under this definition, a person can get into trouble with the law if they legally buy more than 28.5 grams of marijuana from a licensed dispensary.

The only time a person can carry or transport more than the personal legal limit is when they are intending to sell it. The only time a person can legally sell marijuana in the state of California is when they have a license to do so.

Penalties for Having Too Much Marijuana

When a person possesses more than the legal amount of marijuana, they can face possession charges under Health and Safety Code (HS) 11357. This law dictates how much marijuana a person can have in their possession at any given time and where they are allowed to have.

Breaking this law is typically a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

The charges are reduced to infractions if the person is under the age of 18.

Transporting marijuana with the intent to sell it without a license is illegal under HS 11360. The consequences for breaking this law are typically misdemeanor charges that come with:

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

The charges can be upped to felony charges if a person has certain prior convictions that include:

  • Certain serious violent felonies.
  • More than 2 prior convictions of HS 11360.
  • The defendant knowingly attempted to sell marijuana to a minor.
  • Defendants who transported more than the personal legal limit of marijuana into California.

Transporting Marijuana across State Lines

As far as federal law is concerned, marijuana is still a schedule 1 hallucinogenic drug, making it very illegal. This means that even if a person follows all of the rules and regulations presented by the California government, they could still get into trouble at the federal level.

Transporting even legal amounts of marijuana can become a problem when a person tries to cross state lines or get onto a plane. As far as airports are concerned, once a person goes through TSA security checkpoints, they are on federal grounds. Federal law takes precedent over state law, which means a person can get into trouble for having any amount of marijuana on them. People should leave their marijuana at home if they plan on flying anywhere.

When crossing state borders, it is important to remember that not all states have legalized marijuana. Many still have the same rules and restrictions as set forth by the federal government. This means that getting caught bringing drugs into another state could have very disastrous consequences depending on the state.

Don’t Get Into Trouble with Marijuana

There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the recreational use of marijuana here in California. Part of this is due to the relative newness of the laws. Another part is due to the varying views on the drug across the country.

When looking at marijuana, a person is better off treating it the same way they would alcohol and cigarettes since it faces many of the same restrictions. It is also better to keep the marijuana here in California and not try to take it across state lines or into federally controlled areas, such as airports. As long as a person can do those things, they shouldn’t run into any trouble with the law.

what is own recognizance release

Do You Know What OR Release Means?

what is own recognizance release

There are a lot of things about bail that the average individual doesn’t know about. Most people never expect that they will need to post bail at any point in their life. Unfortunately, thousands of people are arrested every single day in the state of California alone. This means that chances are, a person will find themselves in the unexpected position of needing to post a friend or family member’s bail.

As people start looking into bail, they are bound to run into terms that they don’t understand. There are all kinds of terms and phrases that are regularly used in the bail industry but rarely used outside of it. A perfect example of this would be OR Release. This is a phrase that can come up quite often when dealing with bail, and it is something that most people want, but what is it?

What Is OR Release?

After a person has been arrested, they will likely start hearing about being OR’ed and how it’s a good thing. Getting OR release is a very exciting thing for someone who was just arrested because it means that they don’t have to post bail but are still getting released from jail.

OR stands for Own Recognizance. When a person is released on their own recognizance, they are released from jail and must sign a contract stating that they will return to court for all of their court dates until the trial is over. This is a big deal because it means the person doesn’t have to pay anything to get out of jail, which is why people want to be OR’ed.

How Bail Normally Works

The thing is, getting approved for own recognizance release is not easy. A judge will look at the case and the arrested individual to decide what their bail amount will be. The judge looks at:

  • The person’s criminal record. The more crimes a person has committed in the past, the more likely they are to commit more crimes, which leads to a higher bail amount.
  • The crime they were accused of. Certain violent crimes are restricted from being granted bail since the people who committed them threaten the safety of the community. The worse the crime the person is accused of, the higher the bail amount.
  • The person’s ties to the community. If a person has a steady job or family in the area, they are less likely to run away. The less likely it is that someone will run, the lower their bail amount will be.

After considering all of these, the judge will decide a bail amount. The worst-case scenario is that the judge will determine that it is too risky to allow the person to be out of jail during the trial and will then deny bail altogether. The best-case scenario for the person is that they will be granted own recognizance release.

Do not attempt to speak with the jail or judge to try and convince them to lower the bail amount. Only a judge can alter a person’s bail amount and once they’ve made their decision, chances are they won’t change it.

Paying for Bail with a Bail Bond

What’s more likely is that the person will be assigned a bail amount. This will be the amount of money that a person has to pay in order. This money will need to be paid in full to the jail for the person to be released. At the end of the trial, this money will be returned to the person who paid it, minus some court fees.

If a person can’t afford to pay the full amount, then they will want to get a bail bond. At Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino, our bail bonds only cost 10% of the price of the bail. If someone’s bail is set at $20,000, then the bail bond will only cost $2,000. What’s more, the bail bond can be paid off with a payment plan.

The biggest downside to this method of posting bail is that the money is not returned to the person at the end of the trial. This is due to the fact the person didn’t actually pay for the bail.

They paid the bail agent to pay for the bail, meaning they paid for the service. That service is considered complete once the person is released from jail.

Count on Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino

When it comes to the bail industry, there are a lot of regularly used terms that don’t see much usage outside of the industry. When dealing with the arrest of a loved one, most people hope that their loved one will be released on their own recognizance. However, people shouldn’t completely count on that. Most people aren’t granted OR release. Most people have to post bail.

If a person needs help with a bail bond, then they should contact Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino. Bail agents are available to provide their assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever someone needs help with bail, they can count on Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino.

juvenile procedure regarding bail

Why Can’t Minors Be Bailed Out of Jail?

juvenile procedure regarding bail

Bail is a confusing and unknown subject to a lot of people out there. Most people don’t think about one of their friends or family members getting arrested, so they don’t even consider how they would bail that person out. In most instances, this is just for adults. Many parents may not even consider the possibility of their child being arrested.

Unfortunately, sometimes kids do push the boundaries of the law too far and wind up in big trouble. This is when parents begin to freak out. What are they going to do? How do they help their child? No one wants someone that they care about to be stuck behind bars, and this is especially true when that someone is a child. However, can minors even be bailed out?

The Juvenile Court System

When minors get into trouble with the law, they do not face the same system that adults do. Instead of being booked into the system and placed into jail, more often than not minors are released back to the custody of their parents. As far as the state of California is concerned, the parents are the best authorities when it comes to punishing their children.

When a minor is arrested, they will have a court experience that is different than what adults face. There will be four different hearings that they will have to attend. Those hearings will be:

  • Detention hearing: Here the judge will determine if the minor will be held in custody or be released to his or her parents. In California, this must occur within 48 hours of the initial arrest to inform the minor why they were arrested.
  • Fitness Hearing: This will be used to determine if the case will be heard in juvenile court or an adult court. This is usually skipped in most cases as the accused crime was not severe enough to warrant this question to be asked.
  • Adjudication Hearing: This is the ‘trial’ portion of the case. It is held before a juvenile court judge.
  • Disposition Hearing: This is where the judge reveals his or her verdict on the case and the sentence if found guilty.

During the entirety of the trial process, minors are not bailable.

If a minor is found guilty of their accused crime, they will face consequences. However, these consequences will be different than what an adult would face. The main goal of penalties for minors is to prevent them from wanting to break the law again in the future.

Some of the common penalties that minors receive in California include:

  • Following a curfew.
  • Going to counseling.
  • Going to school.
  • Paying restitution to the victim.
  • Performing community service.

Instead of being sent to jail, minors will be sent to places like:

  • A probation camp.
  • A foster or group home.
  • The California Division of Juvenile Justice.
  • Juvenile Hall.

After sentencing, juveniles must follow through their entire sentence, even if they turn 18.

When Are Minors Tried as Adults?

If a minor over the age of 14 is accused of certain, serious crimes, then they can be tried as an adult. Some examples of these severe crimes include, but are not limited to:

  • Rape
  • First-degree murder.
  • Forcible sex offenses.

Other times when minors can be tried as adults include when the minor is 16 or older and has a history of being a delinquent or exhibited a high degree of criminal sophistication.

If a minor is tried as an adult, then they will have a trial by jury and will be eligible for bail, if the crime allows for it.

Minors Cannot Be Bailed Out.

Minors can’t be bailed out of jail, and the reason is that they aren’t usually held in jail since the preferred option is to leave the child under the supervision of their parents. Even if the minor is taken into custody, they aren’t sent to jail. While Juvenile Hall is often viewed as a jail for kids, it is nowhere near as bad as actual jail. Take into account that trials for minors are conducted faster than adult trials, which means minors held in custody won’t be held for long.

california public urination laws

Can You Get Into Trouble for Letting Your Kid Pee in Public?

california public urination laws

Experienced parents all know that raising children is no easy task. A parent never really knows how their child is going to behave at any given moment. This is especially true for youngsters. Their moods and needs can change from moment to moment and no matter how hard a parent may try to prepare, they can still be caught off guard.

One particular incident that can arise with younger children, especially during potty-training, is the child needing to go to the bathroom and not being able to find an available toilet nearby. When little ones say they need to go, they need to go. They can’t hold it like adults do. This can lead to parents having to face a tough decision: Do they let their child pee in public to avoid an accident? If they do, could they get into trouble with the law?

Public Urination Law

Here in California, it is a crime for a person to urinate in a public place. The act is made illegal under state law and typically under local city ordinances too. This is because public urination leads to an increase in the spread of diseases and adds understandable health concerns. This also negatively affects the area and local businesses since the smell tends to keep people away.

If a person is caught urinating in public, they can face either infraction or misdemeanor charges depending on where the incident occurred. If a person is charged with an infraction under a city ordinance, then they face a small fine between $100 and $500, depending on the city. As a misdemeanor charge under a city ordinance, a person faces:

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

If the person is charged under Penal Code (PC) 372, the state’s public nuisance law, they will face misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

Potty-Training on the Go Isn’t Easy

When it comes to kids urinating in public, especially toddlers, the laws are a bit laxer. While the laws against public urination don’t typically mention young children, most law enforcement officers aren’t going to arrest a child, or their parent, for letting the little one pee in public. Most adults understand that when toddlers have to go, the need to go. However, there are those officers out there who might issue citations.

Just because a person might not get into trouble with the law does not mean they should allow their child to do so. As mentioned earlier, urinating in public helps spread diseases and it leaves a nasty odor in the air no matter how well the parent might clean up.

On top of the general hygiene concerns, allowing a child who is in the midst of potty-training to go wherever they want, whenever, can send mixed messages to the child. This can confuse the child and actually lead to more accidents in the future.

As stressful as these kinds of situations can be for a parent, they are bound to happen during potty-training. Some tips on how to handle these accidents, because there will be a lot, include:

  • Keeping an extra set of clothes. Parents should continue to carry an extra set of clothes for their toddlers with them until the potty-training is well behind them. This way, they will have a spare set in case of accidents.
  • Use Pull-Ups. Disposable training pants may be a crutch for some kids who are going through potty-training, however, they can also be very helpful under special circumstances. If a parent is planning on taking their child on a long car ride, or on long city trips, using the disposable training pants might be wise.
  • Use a portable potty. These can be very handy in allowing children to discreetly go in the car while running errands around town.

Toddlers Need to Go When They Need to Go

While it is highly unlikely that a parent will get into any serious trouble for allowing their child to go in public, it is often best to avoid the practice. Allowing children to urinate wherever can confuse them and risks everyone’s health and safety. Plus, one never knows if they will run into that one cop who has no understanding of how desperate a situation it is when a toddler needs to go to the potty.

leaving child home alone laws

When Can Children Be Left Home Alone?

leaving child home alone laws

Parenting is rarely an easy task at the best of times. When times get tough, like they have recently, parenting can get even tougher. With schools shut down all over the country, many parents have suddenly been reminded of just how tough parenting is. This is only made worse when some parents are still working, meaning their kids have to be left home alone.

Parents of younger kids can be left in a very tough spot. They need to work, but they also need to keep an eye on their children at home. They worry that their children may not be old enough to be left home alone. Then they wonder at what age a child can legally be left home alone in California.

It Depends on the Child

Deciding to leave a child home alone is not an easy decision to make. Most parents spend hours agonizing over that decision the first time. They may search online for answers, but unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The one nice thing is that there is no law here in the state of California that states when a child can be left home alone.

When it comes to leaving a child home alone, things vary from kid to kid. This is one of the main reasons why the state doesn’t set an age limit to when a child can be left home alone. Some kids mature faster than others, and so an 8-year-old may be ready to take care of herself for an hour or two while a 9-year-old may still need constant supervision. The state can’t make exact guidelines for this kind of thing and so refer to the parent’s expertise on their child.

To help parents make a truly informed and well thought out decision, the state does provide parents with a list of questions to ask themselves regarding their child on the California Department of Education’s website. These questions include:

  • Can he creatively solve problems?
  • Do you live in an isolated area without close neighbors?
  • Does he always let you know where he is going and when he will return?
  • Does your child become bored easily?
  • Is a neighbor home to help if needed?
  • Is he easily frightened?
  • Is she responsible?
  • Is your neighborhood safe?
  • Will you or another adult always be available to your child in case of an emergency?
  • Would caring for the younger sibling restrict the older child’s activities?
  • Would she be at home with an older brother or sister? Do siblings get along?
  • Would she spend her time responsibly?
  • Would the older sibling resent caring for the younger one?
  • Would your child rather stay home than go to a child care or after-school program?

A parent should carefully consider all of these before coming to a conclusion about what they should do with their child. Some parents may find that after considering these points, their child isn’t ready to be left on their own. Others may determine that child is ready to handle the extra responsibility that comes with being home alone.

If a parent decides that they can leave their child home alone for a few hours, the California Department of Education recommends creating some rules for the child. Some of the rules they recommend are:

  • Are they allowed to leave the house or go outside?
  • How she can reach you.
  • The foods she may eat, preferably nothing involving the stove.
  • What appliances and devices can be used.
  • What TV shows can be watched.
  • Which friends are allowed to come over.

These simple rules can help keep a child safe while they are on their own.

It’s the Parent’s Decision

No one ever said that raising kids would be easy, and that was when things were generally right in the world. With schools shut down now, parents who are stuck going to work are being forced to face the dilemma of whether or not their child is mature and responsible enough to be staying home alone.

Luckily, there is no direct law stating when a child can be left on their own for a little while. This means the act of leaving a child home alone itself is not illegal. However, a parent can run into complications if by leaving the child alone, the child stood a more than likely chance of getting hurt. In those instances, a parent could be charged with neglect. If taken to court, the judge would likely default to the parent’s reasoning and thoughts on the matter. After all, parents are the best experts on how responsible and mature their children are.

celebrating easter during pandemic

Don’t Give Up on Easter

celebrating easter during pandemic

Wt is a little hard to believe, but Easter has arrived. March somehow managed to simultaneously take its time and disappear in a flash thanks to all of the lockdowns. Weeks ago there had been hope that the lockdowns would be gone come Easter, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now, most Easter celebrations have been canceled to ensure that everyone stays safe.

This is a real bummer for a lot of people, especially kids. Easter celebrations can be a whole lot of fun and missing out on them is disappointing. Luckily, there are still ways for people to celebrate Easter without breaking any lockdown rules.

Tips for Celebrating Easter on Lockdown

The ongoing pandemic and lockdowns can make celebrating Easter a bit harder this year, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try. This is especially true for people with kids who honestly need some fun at this point. Heck, everyone could use a break from the stress right about now.

To help with that, here are some ideas on how to celebrate Easter safely this year while under lockdown.

  • Dress up. Even if you aren’t going anywhere, dressing up can still be fun, so go ahead and do it anyway. Doing so will be a nice change of pace, and there will be no one there to judge you on it anyway.
  • Create a playlist. Putting on music can always make things cheerier. You can put on worship music or whatever you feel like so long as you enjoy it, it helps lighten the mood, and it feels Easter-y to you.
  • Create homemade cards. Have the family sit down and create homemade cards to send to friends and family members to let them know you are thinking of them this holiday.
  • Dye eggs. If you can safely get ahold of some white eggs, nothing is stopping you from keeping with this tradition. If you can’t get ahold of eggs, don’t worry. You can make paper eggs and decorate those instead. Then they can be placed all over the house and you don’t have to worry about them going bad and stinking up the place.
  • Have an egg hunt. Again, this one may be a bit tricky due to the quarantine, but nothing is stopping you from going into your backyard and hiding plastic eggs. If you can’t get plastic eggs, you could hide the paper eggs you decorated. It won’t be the same as finding candy-filled eggs, but the joy of the search will still be there. If you are stuck in an apartment, then just hide the eggs around the house.
  • Set the table. Just because you aren’t going out and no one is coming over doesn’t mean that you can’t use your nice dinnerware. Set up the table and enjoy being fancy for a meal or two.
  • Meet loved ones online. There are plenty of video calling apps that can allow you to see your friends and family members for the holiday without breaking quarantine. Just be sure to set up the proper privacy settings. If everyone else dressed up, then you could even have a mini-fashion show to show off everyone’s outfits.
  • Go to church online. Thanks to the modern age, many churches can host their services online. This means that you do not have to miss out on the holiday service just because you are stuck at home.
  • Create something new. Don’t look at it as the virus is keeping you from doing something that you’ll miss. Instead, use this as a chance to create a new tradition that you can look forward to for years to come.

Don’t Give Up

These are definitely interesting times that most people weren’t prepared for. However, that does not mean we should just give up and let the holiday pass by without even trying to celebrate. We could all use a break from this pandemic and Easter is the perfect opportunity for people to celebrate and be happy for a day. Just remember to celebrate safely and to continue to practice social distancing.

From everyone here at Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino, we hope you have a safe and happy Easter.

stimulus check information

Don’t Get Scammed out of Your Stimulus Check

stimulus check information

As the world practically shuts down in response to the spreading COVID-19 Pandemic, many people are now finding themselves stuck at home. For some, this time away from work can be very welcome. For others, however, not making any money is very stressful. Millions of people across the country have either had their jobs shutdown and are receiving no paycheck, or were laid off entirely. This is a pretty big deal for those who were living paycheck to paycheck.

To counteract the lack of income, and to keep the economy from crashing entirely, the US government agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus plan. All of this money would go to places it was needed most, such as the pockets of American citizens trying to pay their bills.

As great as this plan sounds for many Americans, it sounded even better for a shady group of people. Scammers heard news of the stimulus plan being approved and immediately began creating schemes. There has been a very noticeable uptick in scams revolving around the stimulus checks that will soon be going out to people.

What Is the Stimulus Plan?

The approved stimulus plan will be issuing checks of up to $1,200 to eligible Americans across the country. People who are eligible for these checks include:

  • People making less than $75,000 a year.
  • Couples making less than $150,000 a year.
  • Disabled veterans.
  • People who receive social security.

The money will be delivered to individuals based on how they receive their tax returns. If people chose to have their tax returns deposited directly into their bank account, then that is what will happen with their stimulus money. If people selected to have their tax return check mailed to them, then their stimulus check will be mailed to the same address.

For people who do not have to file taxes each year, such as low-income taxpayers, they will need to fill out a simple tax form. More information on that can be found on the official IRS website.

The money is slated to start going out in the next few weeks, but it will likely take several months for everyone to get their money.

Scammers Are Surfacing

Scammers love when people are scared or in a panic. In this state, people are easier to trick since they aren’t paying as much attention to details as they normally are. This is why scammers always try to scare their victims. However, with all of this fear from the pandemic, they don’t have to instill that fear, they can go straight to feeding off of it.

If a person receives any form of communication regarding their stimulus money, they should ignore it. There will be no fees that need to be paid before funds can be issued. There will be no need to give personal information over the phone or through email.

The IRS states that people on social security and those that file their taxes will not have to do anything to get their stimulus checks. The system will figure out who’s getting money and how/where to send it based on previous tax information. Chances are, the IRS, or any other government agency, will not be contacting people about their checks, so there is no reason to respond to any communications about the subject.

If a person suspects that a communication is legit, then they still should not respond through the presented method. Instead, a person should go to the official IRS website and contact someone through the methods presented there. The site can be identified by having .gov at the end of the site address instead of the usual .com.

Don’t Panic

Everyone can understand how money is a bit tight right now for a lot of people. Shutting down entire industries means that millions of people are without work and likely without pay. This is why the government enacted this stimulus package. They want to ensure that people get the money they need to stay in their homes until this pandemic has come to an end.

During this tough and confusing time, it is important for people not to panic. Doing so could cause them to fall victim to any number of scams. The best thing for everyone is to stay calm and to never give personal information to anyone who contacted them first.

spreading covid19 on purpose is terrorism

Is Intentionally Spreading the Virus an Act of Terrorism?

spreading covid19 on purpose is terrorism

The world is in a state of crisis as the COVID-19, Coronavirus, pandemic takes root everywhere. This has led to governments ordering non-essential businesses to temporarily shut down and forcing entire communities to lockdown. People are only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips, and when out need to practice social distancing by staying a minimum of 6 feet away from one another.

While self-isolation isn’t the most exciting thing ever, most people understand its importance. They recognize that if everyone does their part and just stays home, they can slow the spread of the virus and save millions of lives. Then there is the population out there that just can’t seem to comprehend the gravity of the situation.

Sadly, there are people out there that think their spring break is more important than staying healthy, or that it is funny to spread the virus even further. As if that’s not bad enough, con-artists are even taking advantage of people’s panic to make a quick buck.

People Do Incredibly Dumb Things on the Internet

The internet has become pretty infamous with some of the dumb challenges it has come up with over the last few years. While a few of the challenges were great and for a good cause, such as the ice bucket challenge, some were just plain stupid. The Tide Pod challenge springs to mind.

One social media “influencer” recently tried a spearhead a new trending challenge, the coronavirus challenge. The influencer posted a video to her social media account depicting her licking an airplane toilet seat with #coronaviruschallenge. Naturally, the video earned a lot of attention online, though most people seemed to condone the act rather than praise it. That, combined with the fact most videos under the hashtag are about how to stay safe during this pandemic led to very little, if any, copycats.

In an interview, the 22-year-old admitted that she did it to get attention and has gone on record stating that she doesn’t care what kind of attention she gets as long as she is getting attention. Apparently, the toilet was on her “sugar daddy’s” private plane and she had the common sense to bleach the seat before licking it.

Stay Calm and Don’t Get Conned

Another concern that people are now having to face due to the pandemic is scammers. Con-artists all over are feeding off of people’s fears and panic to make some easy money. Scammers have set up automated calls to randomly dial people and attempt to sell them things such as toilet paper, masks or gloves. The goal with these robocalls is to get people to hand over credit card information and make a payment for a service that will never be rendered.

There has also been an increase in coronavirus tracker apps and websites that exist solely to put malware on to people’s devices. People flock to these sites and apps to keep an eye on the scary situation. Unfortunately, these malicious apps and websites only exist to steal information off of people’s devices through the use of malware. If a person wants to keep tabs on the virus, then they should stick to using a trusted and reliable source.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is doing their very best to crack down on these scams

This Is a Very Serious Time

As far as the DOJ is concerned any acts where people purposefully try to spread coronavirus can be considered acts of terrorism. The same holds for even threatening to spread the disease. This is because the virus technically meets the requirements to be considered a biological agent.

This new take on any intentional spreading of the virus has been delivered to all law enforcement agencies across the country. Officers all over have been instructed not to tolerate such behavior.

As far as the scammers are concerned, the DOJ is doing everything that they can to stop them. Once caught, the scammers will face all sorts of charges that come with a lot of hefty fines and jail time.

When it comes to the so-called “influencer,” luckily most people seemed to be smarter than her and chose not to do something as dumb as licking a toilet seat.

What are your thoughts on how the DOJ is handling this and how they are viewing the intentional spreading of the disease? Should people who intentionally spread the coronavirus be considered terrorists? 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.