consequences for texting and driving

Using a Phone While Driving Is Illegal in California

consequences for texting and driving

In today’s world, pretty much every adult has a smart phone. These incredible little devices give people access to everything important in their lives. They allow people to stay in touch with loved ones even though they may be miles apart. Unfortunately, these devices can be incredibly addicting.

Just like everything out there in the world, there is a time and place to use smart phones. One of the worst times for a person to use their phone is while driving. Driving while distracted is very dangerous. The driver takes their eyes off the road to look at a tiny little screen. They are no longer paying attention to what they are doing, which can easily cause accidents.

A first time offense of using a cellphone while driving can start at around $50 dollars. Repeat offenses can cost around $250 dollars. That is a lot of money to pay just for answering a text message. This is another reason why a driver should never pick up their phone while driving. It just isn’t worth it.

While using a cellphone while driving may seem like it is not that big of a deal, it is still very dangerous and illegal. In most instances, people who are pulled over for breaking this law claim to be law abiding citizens. They don’t seem to realize that by picking up their phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are breaking the law and risking their live plus the lives of everyone around them.

how to detect fake money

Do You Know If Your Money Is Real?

how to detect fake money

Money is a pretty big part of everyone’s lives. Most people spend their weekdays working hard to earn just enough money to make it through another week. Meanwhile, a very small group of people out there try to cheat the system and print their own money. This is called counterfeiting and even though the bills may look the same to government printed bills, they counterfeit ones have no monetary value. If a person wants to avoid getting stuck with a counterfeit bill, then they need to know how to check its authenticity.

There are several security measures in place to help people identify real bills from counterfeit ones.

  • Color Shifting Ink: On all bills divisible by 5, the bottom right number should be printing in color shifting ink. This means that when viewed from angle, the number should appear in one color, and if you change angles, the color of the number should change.
  • Fine/ Small Print: Real bills have a lot of small, fine print on them that is hard for counterfeiters to reproduce. If a bill has small text, it should printed clearly. If the text is fuzzy, then the bill is likely fake.
  • Raised Printing: One of the easier features to detect is the raised printing. The shirts on all of the people on the bills feature raised printing. If you run your finger nail over it, you should be able to feel the bumps of the “threads” of the shirt.
  • Red and Blue Threads: Despite being called paper money, bills are actually made out of fabric. Despite their initial appearance, they are not solid green. There are thin red and blue threads woven through the bill. Counterfeiters try to reproduce this by simply printing the lines one, so if the lines look like they were just printed on, not woven in, then the bill is a probably a fake.
  • Security Thread: Every bill has a security thread in it that can be seen when held up to a light. The location of the strip varies depending on the amount of the bill. When held up to a black light, the strip will glow a certain color depending on the amount of the bill:
    • o $5 glows blue
      o $10 glows orange
      o $20 glows green
      o $50 glows yellow
      o $100 glows pink

  • Watermark: Lastly, there is a watermark that can be seen when the bill is held up to a light. The watermark should be on the right side and be a replica of the face on the bill. If the watermark is visible without the bill being held to a light, then it is likely a counterfeit.
  • Counterfeiters can reproduce some of these security features, but it is very rare for them to be able to reproduce all of them. By knowing all of these different ways to check for fake money, a person is far less likely to get scammed out of their hard earned cash.

    what is sb328

    Sorry Kids, No Sleeping in for You

    what is sb328

    Any child will tell you, and most parents would agree, that you have to get up pretty early if you want to get to school on time. If the student was up late the night before doing homework, which since the average high schooler has about 3.5 hours of every weeknight, is a very common occurrence. This leads to the not so surprising fact that most teenagers do not get enough sleep.

    Sleep is very important for proper brain function, especially in growing teens. Several studies have found that students who get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night are more likely to suffer from depression, drink caffeine, struggle in class, and engage in dangerous activities.

    To try and help with this obvious problem, Senator Anthony Portantino created Senate Bill (SB) 328. SB 328 would have prohibited middle and high schools from starting earlier than 8:30 AM. By doing this, the hope was that students would be able to get more sleep and therefore do better in school each day. This is a goal that every parent wants to achieve.

    Of course, this bill raised some warranted concerns for working parents who do not have the ability to alter their schedules. Parents in this position would have to find some way for their students to get to school at the later time, which might include walking unsupervised or riding the bus. Those are options that not every parent is comfortable with.

    Well, SB 328 passed through both the Assembly and the Senate. However, the bill was vetoed by Governor Brown citing that the bill was opposed by school boards and teachers. However, one could argue that the student’s health and well-being should be just as important, if not more so. What do you think? Should schools start earlier to allow students the extra time to sleep in, or should schools continue on as is to benefit the teachers and parents? Let us know in the comments down below.

    how to check halloween candy

    What’s in Your Kid’s Halloween Candy?

    how to check halloween candy

    Every year, as Halloween rolls around, people begin seeing articles about how they can keep their kids safe during the holiday. One of the big topics is being sure to check kids’ Halloween candy for any tampering before allowing the kid to eat it. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think it’s fun or funny to harm people by messing with their food.

    The first step to checking a child’s candy is to make sure that they don’t eat any of it while they are out trick or treating. Do not let them have any of the candy until you have been able to examine it under good lighting. Check for damaged wrappers, candy that smells funny, homemade sweets from strangers, or any candy or sweets not in their original packaging.

    If a piece of candy doesn’t seem right to you, throw it out. In this instance, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your child’s safety. If you do find any candy that has been clearly tampered with, such as having needles, razors, or glass shards in it, report it right away to the local authorities.

    As uncommon as tampering with candy may be, this kind of thing does happen. Recently Australia has been dealing with people putting sewing needles into strawberries. So, check your kids Halloween candy this year just to be safe.

    online video game safety

    The Dangers of Online Gaming

    online video game safety

    Internet safety is always a big concern, especially for parents. You never know who your kids might be meeting online unless you pay close attention. Most parents know to warn their kids about talking to strangers that they met online on sites like Facebook. However, there is one avenue of online communication that often gets overlooked: online video games.

    Online games enable players to play their game with anyone in the world. As great as that is for gamers, it can be problematic for young children. They can end playing their game with anyone, and as most adults know, there are some real creeps out there. Many parents are discovering that their kids are hearing and experiencing very inappropriate things online.

    A disturbing new trend that is on the rise is child predators using gaming apps such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and other games to get in contact with teens and children. These games are heavily played by people of all ages, but especially children. Predators have begun using these games to talk to children about very inappropriate things, or to lure the kid into meeting them in real life.

    In order to prevent something like this from happening, parents need to not only talk with their children about meeting online people in real life, but also pay attention to what their kids are playing and how. For instance, Fortnite has a “T” rating, meaning that it is recommended that players be at least 13 years or older to play due to the slightly violent nature of the game.

    The takeaway from this is that parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing online if they want to keep them safe. This is true whether the child is using social media or gaming. In some instances, it may be best to restrict a child from playing their game online, or limiting how much time they spend on the console. A word of advice, most modern consoles have built in parental features such as timers and restrictions that prevent kids from playing games that are too mature.

    All this requires is that the parent spend a bit of time learning about how their child spends their time online. By putting in this extra bit of effort, a parent can help keep their child safe.

    squatter laws in california

    What Can Be Done about Squatters in California?

    squatter laws in california

    It is no secret that the state of California has a bit of a problem when it comes to homelessness. In fact, California had an estimated 134,000 homeless individuals in the year of 2017. This is almost half of the homeless population in the entire United States. Needless to say, this is a big problem, and it is only causing more problems.

    One such problem is that of squatters, which are people who unlawfully occupy uninhabited property or land. These people do not have the right to live on that property because it belongs to someone else, and yet they live their regardless of the fact. This can cause problems for the property owner, which can get worse the longer the squatters remain on the property.

    What is Considered Criminal Trespassing?

    Here in California, and the rest of the country, a person is not able to walk on privately owned land or building unless they have permission to do so. Entering into someone else’s property without permission is considered trespassing. California Penal Code 602 makes this a misdemeanor activity. This means that trespassing can earn a person one of the following:

    • A fine no larger than $1,000.
    • Up to 6 months in jail.
    • Some combination of fine and jail.

    Trespassing is not something that is taken lightly here in California. While one would think dealing with squatters would be plain and simple, that is not the case.

    Do Squatters Have Rights?

    California has what is known as squatter’s rights. This is a term that terrifies and concerns many property owners. Squatters in California can earn rights through what is referred to as adverse possession. This is a legal term that can allow a trespasser to eventually gain control of someone else’s property, which is bad for the property’s owner.

    Adverse possession basically states that if a squatter has been living on a piece of property long enough, and has made noticeable improvements on the land while paying the land’s property tax, then he or she has a reasonable claim for ownership of the land in question. For this to occur, the property owner has to be pretty unaware of what is going on with the property for a very long time.

    For adverse possession to take effect, the squatter has to live on the land continuously for 5 years, all the will using the land and making improvements on it. Once that is done, the squatter will have the right to claim the property as their own in court.

    The government allows adverse possession because it takes land that was unused, and develops it, making it useable, and taxable. The 5 year requirement is to give the property owner time to notice the problem and try to deal with it.

    Dealing with Squatters

    Unfortunately for property owners, dealing with squatters is not as simple as one would hope, even with California’s laws against trespassing. As far as the state law is concerned, a person who does not properly police and control their property, deserves to lose said property. This is why it is extremely important for a property owner to regularly inspect any property that they own, but do not currently use. They also need to make sure that are always paying their property taxes. Doing so will help them ensure that squatters do not reside there long enough to earn squatter’s rights, or achieve adverse possession.

    Unfortunately, even after doing all of this, it can still be a lengthy legal process to remove squatters from a property, especially if they know about squatter’s rights. Skilled squatters are known to target abandoned properties and can often come up with official looking documents when confronted by police or other law officials. This can make them difficult to remove despite the fact that they are trespassing, however it is not impossible. A property owner just needs to be on top of the problem.

    Do you know anyone who has issue with squatters? Can you remove squatters by force?

    plastic straw laws in california

    California Limits Plastic Straws

    plastic straw laws in california

    A few years ago, the citizens of California voted to ban single-use plastic straws. At the time, the change was very controversial with many opponents of the bill upset at the loss of the flimsy plastic items. However, as time moved on, people adapted and got used to the new change. The success of this law, helped convince some Californians that similar laws should be enacted as well.

    Recently, the California state legislature passed a new bill that would prohibit full-service, dine-in restaurants from distributing plastic straws unless the patron requests the item. The hope is that by doing this, it will reduce the amount of plastic straws that are used once, and then tossed away. Single-use plastic utensils like this are bad for the environment since they are only used for a short amount of time, but last for several decades in landfills and oceans.

    It is important to note that this is not an all-out ban on plastic straws, like many opponents of the bill claim it is. Customers will still be able to get plastic straws in restaurants, they will simply need to ask for straws. The hope is that this will get people used to the idea of not having straws. This could also help encourage new, environmentally friendly straws to be used instead of their plastic counterparts.

    The bill based with a 45-20 vote in the State Assembly and now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature for final approval. While this bill may seem like a big deal now, just remember when the plastic bag ban was first enacted. Many people were up in arms over that law, but we got used to the change. The same could happen with this law as well.

    preventing bullying

    What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied

    preventing bullying

    As a parent, one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to your child is for them to come home from school one day and tell you that they are being bullied. At first you might feel angry, “How could someone pick on, tease, or taunt my child? Their parents should have taught them better. I am going to call the school right now and get their number so I can give them a piece of my mind.”

    As unfortunate as it may be, bullying is somewhat common now days. According to a study completed by the U.S. Department of Education on 2015, 22% of students ages 12-18 were bullied during the 2012-2013 school year. A staggering 20% if high school students also reported being bullied on school grounds in the past 12 months.

    The study also revealed that boys are more likely to be physically bullied, while girls are more likely to be verbally bullied, face exclusion, and experience cyber-bullying. The silver-lining of the study found that even though bullying is most common in elementary school, the likelihood that your child will be bullied decreases throughout middle and high school.

    Now that you have some statistics about bullying, you’re probably thinking back to the original scenario. What are you, as a parent, supposed to do if your child is one of the 22% of students that experience bullying? It can be hard to know what to say, but the most important thing to do is make sure they know you are there for them. You should not ignore the situation, but rather sit down and discuss what is going on with them. They need to know that their voice is being heard, someone cares about them, and that they are not alone.

    Your parental instincts might tell you to have the child fight back or stand up for themselves, but that’s not always the best choice. Rather, take a stance against the bully together by letting them know you want to help and that you will get through the situation together. No matter the age, being bullied is never fun and can be painful to deal with. No matter what, make sure your child knows they are not alone and you will with fight it together.

    Read our blog about how to prevent bullying here. For more resources about what to say and what not to say to someone being bullied, click here.

    why we celebrate labor day

    Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

    why we celebrate labor day

    Many people view Labor Day as one of the final summer barbecue holidays. It provides a relaxing three day weekend for everyone and lets people have a lot of fun. Unfortunately, this all means that the reason behind the actual holiday is often left forgotten. In fact, not many people could even tell you why Labor Day is celebrated.

    Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September and is meant to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the American workforce. The holiday became a federally recognized holiday in 1894 as a result of several deadly strikes and rights protesting poor work conditions.

    In the late 1800’s work conditions were pretty poor in America. People had to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week just to scrap together just enough money to survive for another week. Workers at this time faced unsafe conditions, few breaks, and poor sanitary conditions.

    Eventually, workers became fed up with these conditions, and strikes became prominent across the country. Soon, these strikes became deadly which helped draw awareness to the cause. The first unofficial Labor Day parade occurred on September 5, 1882 when 10,000 New York workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square.

    As time progressed, the idea of a workman’s holiday became popular, and many cities and state began to enact laws recognizing the holiday for the first Monday in September. However, the holiday wouldn’t be recognized by the federal government for another 12 years. After several bad strikes in 1894, Congress passed an act to make Labor Day a nationally recognized holiday.

    As you can see, Labor Day is about more than just relaxing with a three day weekend. It is about celebrating all of the hard work you and other workers across the country do every single day of the year.

    san bernardino bail bonds

    The Truth About Criminal Threats

    online criminal threats

    Threats are a part of life, a knee jerk reaction to anger, hurt feelings, and fear. Most people make threats without any intention of ever carrying them out. However, in this current world where school shootings and other heinous acts seem to be a weekly occurrence, people and members of the law enforcement community are taking threats more seriously than ever before.

    Threats made on school grounds or that include a school system tend to be the first ones that law enforcement crack down on. In these instances, law enforcement act first and ask questions later. A perfect example of this is a recent situation where a few students had a conversation about their desire to shoot up at their school in Los Angeles was overheard. The students had barely finished their conversation when police arrived on the scene and arrested both students. The charge was making criminal threats.

    This type of thing is happening all over the country.

    There aren’t any statistics outlining how many of the students who are charged with making criminal threats are actually doing nothing more than blowing off steam, but if the police and media are to be believed, for the most part, this is a situation of where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Police report that in many instances, after arresting a student for making criminal threats, they discover that the student was in possession of an alarming amount of firepower. An example of this is the arrest of a 17-year-old L.A. student who was arrested. When the police investigated the student’s home they not only found 90-high-capacity magazines, but also 2 assault weapons as well as some handguns.

    In California, the law is clear when it comes to making criminal threats. California Penal Code Section 422 clearly states that making any type of verbal or written threat of death or bodily injury to another person is against the law. Comments posted on social media sites count as a written threat.

    One interesting loophole In Penal Code Section 422 is that there’s no mention of gestures. At this point, this means that gestures that are symbolic to a gang or pointing a finger gun at someone doesn’t break the law. Whether or not gestures should constitute as a criminal threat was discussed in front of the California Supreme Court during the 2017 case, People v. Gonzalez. The court agreed with the defendant that gestures weren’t admissible in court. So far, the Penal Code hasn’t been amended to include the use of hand gestures as a criminal threat.