consequences for driving high

Can You Drive While High?

consequences for driving high

At the start of 2018, California made it legal for marijuana to be sold from licensed dispensaries. This allowed people to consume marijuana recreationally, much in the same way that alcohol is allowed to be used. While this excited many people, some failed to realize some of the implications of the new.

The biggest factor of the law, is that while people are allowed to use marijuana recreationally, they still need to be responsible. Many of the new rules regarding the usage of marijuana are comparable to the laws around the drinking of alcohol. This includes the rule that a person cannot legally drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If a person is caught driving while under the influence of marijuana, they will likely face DUI charges. Many people relate this charge to driving while drunk, but it actually covers all forms of driving under the influence of any substance. First time penalties for a DUI include:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Up to a $1,000 fine.
  • Needing to take a DUI course.
  • Having a driver’s license suspended.

The consequences go up for repeat offenders or for drivers who hurt or killed someone.

Just because using marijuana is now legal in California, it is not okay for a person to drive while high. Just like alcohol, marijuana can impair a driver’s senses and impede their reaction time. This makes the driver far more likely to cause an accident, which is something no one wants to deal with. That is why it is best to never drive while high.

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.

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.

reckless driving laws

LA’s Escalade-ing Car Problem

reckless driving laws

In the continuing saga of illegal car club takeovers in Los Angeles, yet another recently took place outside a West Covina mall. Unlike previous takeovers that have blocked street intersections and crowded parking lots, this latest one ended in violence.

The takeover was orchestrated as a tribute to the late Paul Walker. For those unaware, Paul Walker was one of the stars from The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 40 as the result of a car crash. The takeover in questions took place on the late actor’s birthday.

The takeover began in the Plaza West Covina Mall at 11 PM. Footage found on social media shows participants attacking two mall security officers and vandalizing a mall security vehicle. Both officers have been reported to be okay, while the vehicle received thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

West Covina Police issued dozens of citations and towed around 50 vehicles, however no arrests have been made as of yet. The officers are looking into the video footage found on social media sites to try and find those responsible for the damage. The police are asking for any information about the event or people in question be shared by calling 626-939-8688.

It is important to remember that assemblies like these are often illegal, and just being an observer can get a person in trouble. Drivers at such events can face reckless driving charges or even assault with a deadly weapon if they hurt someone with their vehicle.

halloween dui checkpoints

Drink Responsibly on Halloween

halloween dui checkpoints

Summer came and went and we are now headed into fall. This means that Halloween is almost here! For kids, this means trick-or-treating to get as much candy as they can possibly carry. For adults, it means going out to parties to have a good time. If there is alcohol at these parties, than a person needs to drink responsibly.

Around most holidays where drinking is involved, people are bound to see an increase in DUI checkpoints around town. This is due to the fact that officers know that people will be drinking more and therefore they will put more effort into keeping those who have consumed alcohol off of the road.

A similar thing happens around holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor. However, it is infinitely more important on Halloween. On this particular holiday, kids are out roaming the dark streets in search of candy. In this instance, a drunk driver is far more likely to hit a child, or group of kids. That is something that no one wants to deal with.

DUI checkpoints may seem intimidating, but they are nothing to worry about. A driver just needs to wait for an officer to wave them forward, answer a few quick questions, and so long as the officer doesn’t suspect that the driver has been drinking, they will be cleared to proceed on to their destination.

If you are planning on going out and drinking for Halloween, be sure to do so responsibly. This means having a designated driver, or using some sort of rideshare service such as a taxi, Uber, or Lyft. Doing this will not only keep you safe from getting a ticket or in an accident, it will also help keep trick-or-treaters safe 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.

illegal searches and seizures

California’s Attitude Towards Illegally Obtained Evidence

illegal searches and seizures

Most of us assume that the laws about what is and what isn’t legally obtained evidence to be black and white, however there are actually quite a few gray areas when it comes to illegally obtained evidence in California.

One example of the murkiness surrounding how evidence is obtained is a police officer who happened to notice what looked an awful lot like a drug related transaction. Unable to ignore the situation, the officer approached the car and after a brief skirmish, the officer found that the car was full of drugs, ammo, and an alarming number of weapons. The question is, since the officer didn’t have a warrant, could the evidence be used as proof of guilt.

The Fourth Amendment was created to protect citizens from illegal search and seizures, and to make it nearly impossible for the United States to become a “police state/country.” The problem is that a lot of time has passed since the Fourth Amendment was drafted and the world has changed a great deal. In an attempt to keep up with the increasing challenges law enforcement faces and to also honor the Fourth Amendment, courts all over the country, including California, have tweaked and even created some laws about what is and isn’t illegally obtained evidence.

In the case of the evidence collected by the officer who witnessed a crime in progress, the prosecution can claim that since the officer did witness an actual crime, the evidence can be used during the trial despite the fact that the officer didn’t have a warrant allowing them to inspect the car. However, if the defense can prove that the officer was staking out the driver or didn’t actually witness a crime taking place, it’s likely that judge will rule that the evidence was in fact obtained illegally and throw out the entire case.

Whenever there’s a case involving a car and evidence, things always get complicated. Technically, an officer can’t go through your car looking for proof of illegal activities, however, if they pull you over for speeding and there’s a bag full of drugs on your backseat, they can arrest you and use the baggie of drugs as evidence.

If you’re involved in a case and don’t think the evidence was obtained with a legal search warrant, it’s in your best interest to hire a good defense lawyer who has a strong understanding of the Fourth Amendment.