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child left in car laws

At What Age Can You Leave Kids in Alone in a Car?

child left in car laws

No one ever said that parenting was an easy job. Being a parent is arguably one of the hardest jobs out there. This is largely in part to the fact that children don’t come with instruction manuals. Most of the skills required to raise kids is learned through either trial and error or comes from talking to another, more experienced parent.

Due to this fact, most parents have a lot of questions about varying aspects of raising children. Many of these questions are too risky to leave up to trial and error discovery. A perfect example of a question like this would be at what age you can leave a child alone in a vehicle? This is a valid question, since there is obviously some point when this becomes okay. After all, people leave adults in alone in their cars all of the time. So, at want point are ready to be left alone in the car while the parent makes a quick stop somewhere?

Why a Parent Shouldn’t Leave a Minor Alone in a Vehicle

Before we answer the question, it is a good idea to look at why kids shouldn’t be left alone in vehicles. Just about everyone realizes that kids are very vulnerable. This is especially true when they are very young. They are still learning how the world works, or how their body works. They also don’t have the best logic skills, such as cause and effect.

All sorts of things can happen when a child is alone. Three of the big reasons why young children should not be left alone in a vehicle include:

  • The child can do something to the vehicle, such as putting it into gear or lock themselves inside with the keys.
  • Some horrible person could see the child alone and kidnap him or her.
  • If the weather is warm outside, the child could overheat inside the vehicle.

All of these things can be very bad and dangerous. No parent ever wants to experience something like this happening to their child. While they tried to run a quick errand inside.

When Can Kids Be Left Alone in Cars?

As with leaving children home alone, the decision to leave a child alone in a vehicle is often dependent on the child. All children mature at different rates. Some kids may become mature enough to be left alone in a vehicle for a few minutes sooner than others. It is up to the parent to decide when the child is ready to handle that kind of responsibility.

While this can be pretty tough for parents to determine, parents living in California have a little bit of guidance with California Vehicle Code (VC) 15620. This law states that no parent or guardian of a child under the age of six can leave the child unattended in a vehicle. The only time a child under the age of 6 can be left in a vehicle is if a child 12 or older is in the vehicle as well.

    Breaking VC 15620 is an infraction level offense. This means that a person will not face any jail time, and will be fined $100.

Something else to consider is that the law changes from state to state. Currently 19 states haves laws regarding leaving children unattended in vehicles. This means that parents who are traveling should be aware of which states have these laws, and what exactly they are. For instance in Connecticut, it is illegal to leave any child under the age of 12 alone in a car.

It Is up to the Parent

No one ever said raising kids would be easy, and since every child is different, what works for some kids may not work for others. Parents need to keep that in mind when raising their children, as well as know what laws there are here in California regarding child safety. By doing that, a parent can keep their child safe and happy, and keep themselves out of trouble with the law.

new california laws 2019

New California Laws for 2018

new california laws 2019

With the arrival of a brand new year, it should come as no surprise that there are some shiny new laws going into effect in California this January, 2019. Some of the laws are meant to help make the state greener, and others are meant to make it safer. All of the new laws going into effect this January vary from limiting the use of plastic straws at restaurants to who can purchase a gun in the state.

All California residents should read up on these new laws to help ensure that they don’t accidentally break any of them. After all, no one wants to get into trouble for breaking a law, especially not one that they didn’t know about.

New Food Related Laws

First up is one that caused quite a bit of a stir when it was first announced a year ago. Starting January 1st, sit-down restaurants, not fast food restaurants, will only be able to provide plastic straws to customers upon request. They will no longer be permitted to hand them out with the drinks. If a business is caught violating this law, it can be fined up to $300. The hope with this law is that it will reduce the number of plastic straws each day, which in turn, reduces how many end up in the dump or ocean.

Another law, aimed at helping families, primarily the children, stay healthy, has to do with kids meals. By default, all kid’s meals will have to list water or milk as the main drink option. Soft drinks will still be available, but the idea is to push families toward making healthier choices.

The last law removes criminal penalties for sidewalk food vendors. Cities will begin to license these vendors. Some counties and cities may even choose to allow cooks to sell food from their homes, provided they get a permit and have their home kitchen inspected. This law is meant to help hardworking people make an honest living without the fear of facing criminal charges.

New Gun Laws

Starting in February, the minimum age to buy certain guns will raise from 18 to 21. If person wants to buy a long gun, they will need to be 21 or older. However, there are exceptions if a person is a licensed hunter, law enforcement officer, or a member of the military.

Another new law piggybacks off an existing law that provided lifetime firearm bans for anyone with a felony conviction. This new law makes it so that anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence can never purchase a gun. With this law, the goal is to try and prevent any domestic violence cases from getting worse.

Lastly, all gun stores will now be required to post safety warning in their stores about the risks and rules of handling a gun in the state of California. The idea of this law being that people will be more aware of what they are getting into when they purchase a firearm.

Other Laws Going Into Effect

Some of the other new laws for this year, in theory, will make it harder for higher ups in businesses to avoid any sexual abuse claims against them.

Another law requires employers to provide employees who are new mothers with a private space, other than a bathroom, to pump. This was inspired by a 2018 law in San Francisco.

Dealing with new laws can be a bit of a challenge. After all, everyone struggles with adapting to change from time to time. Luckily, many of this year’s new laws only apply to certain groups of people, making life a little bit easier for the majority of Californians this year. Despite that fact, keeping up to date with all new laws is always a good idea. Doing so is a great way for a person to keep themselves out of trouble in the coming year.

what to expect at dui checkpoint

DUI Checkpoints Aren’t That Bad

what to expect at dui checkpoint

Any driver who has encountered a DUI checkpoint before is probably aware of how slow they can be. Law enforcement officers set up on a stretch of road in order to stop and talk to every driver they encounter. This, naturally, slows down traffic and can make people late. This has the unfortunate side effect of causing people to hate DUI checkpoints.

DUI checkpoints can be tedious to get through as a driver awaits their turn to be interviewed by an officer. What some drivers are not aware of, is that they are legally to avoid DUI checkpoints, provided they don’t break any road laws in order to do so. This is a right granted to all citizens by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches, or searches of a person’s property without their consent. Therefore, a person is allowed to avoid a DUI checkpoint if they want to. This is also why law enforcement agencies have to post notices about the checkpoint before it occurs, thereby allowing people to opt-out of the checkpoint by driving a different route.

While DUI checkpoints can be annoying for people who have not been drinking, they do help keep roads safe. They locate drunk drivers and remove them from the road. This keeps everyone else safe, which makes the occasional slow down worth it.

The Real Cost of a DUI Charge

how much does a dui cost

Most people out there recognize the fact that driving while drunk is a very bad idea. While a person is drunk, their mind isn’t what it normally is, meaning they are more likely to make costly mistakes. This is why it is illegal to drive while drunk all over the country.

Here in California, the penalties for committing DUI include:

  • Some form of probation.
  • Up to one year in county jail.
  • Fines up to $1,000.
  • Suspended or revoked driver’s license.
  • Needing to attend DUI school.
  • Paying possible restitution’s.

These all seem like pretty bad penalties to deal with for most people. However, it is not scary enough for some people considering they still decide to drive drunk. What these people realize is that the cost of the DUI is a lot more expensive than just a $1,000 fine. There are all sorts of costs to consider, including:

  • Towing and storage fees for the vehicle roughly $650.
  • DUI classes cost money, roughly $650.
  • Attorney fees cost a couple thousand dollars.
  • Driver’s license reinstatement costs $100.
  • Insurance rate hikes, can average around $40,000 over 13 years.
  • Restitution’s for anyone who was hurt can cost several thousands.

Even a single DUI offense can be incredibly expensive. This is just another reason why a person should never drink and drive.

dui checkpoint new years eve

What to Expect at DUI Checkpoints This New Year’s Eve

dui checkpoint new years eve

New Year’s Eve is arguably one of the biggest party nights of the year. Everyone is staying up late waiting to ring the New Year in with flair. All of this partying has a tendency to lead to a lot of drinking. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of people drinking and driving. In order to prevent accidents, many law enforcement agencies will setup DUI checkpoints.

DUI checkpoints may look intimidating, but they are nothing to worry about. After all, they are there to help keep the roads safe for everyone. So long as the person who is driving has not been drinking, they have nothing to worry about.

When a person drives up to a DUI checkpoint, they will likely be instructed to wait until an officer is available to talk to them. Once an officer is ready, they will wave the car forward. From there, the officer will ask the driver a few questions:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Where are you going?
  • Have you been drinking?

The officer will also ask to see driver’s license and registration.

As long as there are no signs that the driver has been drinking, or consuming marijuana, then the officer will allow the driver to continue to their destination.

If the officer suspects that the driver has consumed alcohol, then the driver will be asked to pull over to the side where another officer will conduct a field sobriety test. If the driver fails that, then they could be ticketed, fined, and will likely have to wait for someone to come pick them up.

The whole point of DUI checkpoints is to keep drunk drivers off of the road. They increase in frequency around holidays that involve a lot of partying. That is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise if a driver finds themselves at a DUI checkpoint this New Year’s Eve.

animal cruelty laws in california

Animal Abuse Is Against the Law

animal cruelty laws in california

Every good pet owner would agree that their pet’s well-being often comes before their own. They want to make sure that their pet is safe and happy. Even most non pet owners want to help out animals who are in distress, if they can. Sadly, not everyone is so compassionate. There are some people out there who simply don’t care about animals, or find it fun to cause harm to them.

This is why there are laws in place that make it illegal to cause harm or distress to an animal. California’s primary animal abuse law is Penal Code (PC) 597. This law protects all animals, including:

  • Domesticated pets
  • Strays
  • Wild animals

The law covers all kinds of different forms of animal cruelty, including but not limited to:

  • Neglect
  • Cockfighting
  • Dogfighting
  • Leaving animals unattended in vehicles

PC 597 prohibits a person from maliciously or intentionally harming an animal in anyway way that a person could possibly think of. If a person is caught breaking this law, they could face either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the case. As a misdemeanor charge, a person can face up to a year in county jail and a fine of no more than $20,000. Felony charges can earn a person 16 months, 2, or 3 years in jail, and a similar fine to that of the misdemeanor charges.

Most people do not want to harm animals, whether they are their pets or not, so they don’t have to worry too much about being charged with animal abuse. Since animals cannot speak for themselves, a person is encouraged to contact local law enforcement if they see or suspect that an animal is being abused.

dui laws in california

It Is Never Okay to Drink and Drive

dui laws in california

If you were to ask anyone if driving while drunk was a safe thing to do, they would tell you it is a very dangerous thing to do. In 2017, 29% of all driving fatalities were caused by drunk drivers. This amounted to nearly 11,000 deaths that could have easily been prevented. With all the advances in technology, getting a safe ride home has never been easier. There is never a reason to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk.

Drunk driving is illegal in every single state in the US due to how dangerous it is. Getting caught while driving under the influence carries heavy penalties, especially for repeat offenders. The laws and penalties vary by state. Here in California, the state has several different laws surrounding the act of driving under the influence (DUI).

Penalties of DUI

All California laws surrounding DUI basically state that a person should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. What changes through these various laws is the exact circumstances. If a person is simply caught driving while intoxicated, they will face consequences under Vehicle Code (VC) 23152. If they cause injury to someone else, then they will face charges under VC 23153.
A person can even get into trouble for refusing to provide a breath or blood sample to an officer during a traffic stop. This can be charged under VC 23612.

The penalties for committing DUI vary depending on the crime itself and the driving record of the driver in question. The typical consequences for DUI can include:

  • Informal probation.
  • Max 6 month jail sentence for first offense/ Max 1 year for repeat offenders.
  • Base fines of $390 to $1,000.
  • Suspended or revoked driver’s license.
  • DUI school.
  • Community service.
  • Requirement to attend AA meetings.
  • Vehicle being impounded.
  • Instillation of breathalyzer ignition device on vehicle.
  • Victim restitution’s if someone was hurt.

Generally, DUI’s are misdemeanor offenses, unless:

  • Someone was seriously hurt.
  • Someone was killed.
  • This is the driver’s fourth DUI in a 10 year period.
  • This is the driver’s third DUI that harmed someone in a 10 year period.
  • The driver has a prior felony DUI in a 10 year period.

Felony DUI convictions can come with the already mentioned penalties, as well as these increased penalties:

  • Formal probation.
  • Prison sentences, which vary from case to case.
  • Base fines between $390 and $5,000.

DUI for Professional Drivers

The fact that DUI laws apply to all drivers is a given. However, what some people may not know is that this law applies differently to drivers who are for-hire. A for-hire driver being someone who drives a vehicle such as a taxi, bus, Lyft, or Uber.

Normally, drivers are only considered intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. However, for-hire drivers are only allowed to have a BAC of 0.04%. If a for-hire driver is caught driving with that level of BAC or hire, they will face DUI charges, which would likely mean a suspension of their driver’s license.

The Dangers of Hungover Driving

Something else that many drivers are not aware of is the fact that driving while hungover can be just as bad as driving while drunk. This fact was discovered by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Participants of the study had 10 drinks, slept off the alcohol until their BAC was 0%.

The results showed that the drivers were roughly as impaired, if not more so, than a driver with a BAC of 0.05%. The drivers were more prone to speeding, struggled to drive straight, and just generally made more errors.

This is likely due to the results of being dehydrated, having low blood sugar, and not getting enough sleep the night before.

There Is No Reason to Drive Drunk

Driving while intoxicated is never a good idea. Not only is it against the law, it is incredibly dangerous. Drunk driving is the cause of thousands of accidents and deaths every single year in the US alone.

In today’s modern age, there is no reason for any of this. With smartphones, people now have the ability get a safe ride literally in the palm of their hand. A person can easily contact a loved one to come pick them up, or hire a driver of a taxi, Lyft, or Uber. Doing this has never been easier than it is right now. A person can easily save themselves and the lives of people they’ve never met by simply pulling out their phone before ever setting foot in a vehicle.

consequences for driving under the influence

Will You Be Seeing More DUI Checkpoints This Holiday Season?

consequences for driving under the influence

Whenever certain holidays roll around, you can bet that there will be an increase in DUI Checkpoints. This is often due to the fact that more people tend to drink and drive around those specific holidays. Law enforcement agencies know this, and use these checkpoints as a way to curb any drunk driving.

Unfortunately, Christmas is one such holiday that leads to an increase in drinking and driving. People are out partying, or simply spending time with in-laws they don’t get along with. This usually leads to drinking, which eventually leads to driving once people need to go home.

Today, with all of the technology at our disposal, there is no excuse for drunk driving. A person can easily access a ride through their smart phone. All they have to do is call a taxi, Lyft, or Uber to come pick them up and take them home. If they do that, then they never have to worry about DUI checkpoints.

When it comes to passing DUI checkpoints, a person has nothing to worry about unless they have drinking and are currently driving. When a person gets to a checkpoint, they will likely have to wait for their turn to roll through. When it is their turn, an officer will wave them forward. The officer will proceed to ask for the driver’s license and registration and ask the following questions:

  • Where are you going?
  • Where did you come from?
  • Have you been drinking?

So long as the officer doesn’t suspect that the driver has been drinking, they will allow the vehicle to proceed. However, if the officer does suspect that the driver has been drinking, they will ask the car to pull over to the side. There, another officer will conduct a field sobriety test. If the driver fails that, then he or she will likely be ticketed and have to wait for someone to come pick them up.

DUI checkpoints may seem intimidating, but they are nothing to worry about. So long as a person is responsible and has a designated driver driving them, they can drink to their hearts content.

consequences for not stopping for school bus

You Have to Stop for a School Bus in California

consequences for not stopping for school bus

Here in California, most drivers are in a rush to get wherever it is that they are going. To them, they do not have time to slow down or stop. A good example of this is the fact that an alternate name for a rolling stop is a California stop. However, just because a person is in a rush does not mean they can ignore traffic laws.

An important law that some drivers seems to forget, or pretend doesn’t apply to them, is that they have to stop for school buses. Here in the state of California, all drivers in both directions of a road have to come to a stop when a school bus is flashing red lights and displaying a stop sign. Cars are not allowed to start moving again until the bus stops flashing its red lights.

Some people who are aware of this law think that it only applies to drivers traveling in the same direction as the stopped bus. However, that is wrong. Everyone has to stop to ensure the safety of the children who are boarding or exiting the bus. The only time a vehicle does not have to stop for a school bus, is when it is on the other side of a divided roadway with two or more lanes traveling in both directions.

If a driver fails to stop for a school bus, they can face a $1,000 dollar fine. The driver can also lose their driving privileges taken away by having their license suspended. That is something that no one wants to deal with, as is the guilt that would come with hurting a child because a driver failed to stop for a school bus. That is why it is best for everyone to just wait until it is safe to proceed.

how to stay safe during winter driving

Winter Driving Conditions Have Arrived in California

how to stay safe during winter driving

While it may not feel like it in some areas of the state, winter has just about arrived. There is no denying that there is a definite chill in the air that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. As the days grow shorter, and more inclement weather begins to appear, driving becomes a little more treacherous.

It can be hard to remember that driving is dangerous when you do it every day, but that is definitely the case. No other time of the year does this become more apparent than in winter. During the coldest part of the year, roads become more slippery, which makes it easier for drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

When the weather starts to take a turn for the worse, most experts recommend to avoid driving in it altogether. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. There are somethings that just have to be done. If that is the case, a driver needs to be careful with how they proceed depending on the weather that they are facing.

A good general rule of thumb is to slow down when road conditions get slick or slippery. Just because a speed limit sign says 50 MPH, does not mean you have to do that in wet conditions. In fact, a law enforcement officer can pull a person for driving too quickly in unsafe conditions even if they are going the speed limit. This is due to the fact that drivers are supposed to drive at speeds that are safe for the weather conditions.

If the roads are icy or covered in snow, then a driver needs to slow down everything that they do. This includes:

  • Speed of travel
  • Applying brakes
  • Accelerating
  • Turning

Due to the loss of traction that is experienced in icy conditions, doing anything too quickly can lead to a driver losing control of their vehicle.

In order to keep everyone on the road safe, including themselves, a driver need to be more cautious during the winter months. Sometimes that means slowing down. It might mean getting somewhere late, but it also means getting there safely.